It was a big night for some big names in the theatre at the 71st annual Academy Awards, held March 21 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. Among the winners were composer Stephen Schwartz, playwright Tom Stoppard and English theatre veteran Dame Judi Dench, who in April will return to Broadway for the first time in over 30 years.
Dench won for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in the period comedy drama "Shakespeare in Love." The movie also won prizes for best picture and best actress (Gwenyth Paltrow), giving the four-hour-plus tribute to filmdom a vaguely theatrical theme.
All told, "Shakespeare in Love" won seven Oscars, more than any other film.
Stoppard, along with Marc Norman, won for their original screenplay to "Shakespeare in Love." Stoppard, a British playwright who has been writing for the theatre for over 30 years, is the author of Rosencrantz and Gildenstern are Dead, Arcadia, Travesties and The Real Thing, among others.
Dench was nominated last year for her perforance as Queen Victoria in "Mrs. Brown." Dench begins performances in the New York production of David Hare's Amy's View in early April. Schwartz -- the composer of such Broadway musicals as Working and Pippin -- won an Oscar for best original song for "When You Believe," from the animated feature, "The Prince of Egypt."
--By Robert Simonson