American Beauty," the first film directed by theatre helmsman Sam Mendes, made a big showing in 2000 Academy Awards, March 26, winning awards for Best Picture, Best Director for Mendes, Best Actor for Kevin Spacey and Best Original Screenplay. The British Mendes took Broadway by storm the past two seasons with hit productions of Cabaret, which won a Tony for best revival of a musical, and The Blue Room. The latter David Hare play starred Nicole Kidman and quickly became the hottest ticket of the 1998-99 season. He recently guided an Off-Broadway workshop of Stephen Sondheim's new musical, Wise Guys.
--By Robert Simonson