To date, STEVEN SODERBERGH (Director)
is the only director to have two films nominated for Best Picture and Best
Director in the same year. His Academy Award for Best Director of Traffic
marks the first time since the 1928-29 Awards that a director has successfully
competed against himself (Frank Lloyd for Divine Lady. Michael Curtiz, a
double nominee for Best Director in 1938 for Angels With Dirty Faces and Four
Daughters lost to Frank Capra for You Can't Take It With You).
Traffic, a contemporary thriller set against the
backdrop of the United States' on-going drug wars, also received Oscars for
Editing (Stephen Mirrione), Supporting Actor (Benicio del Toro) and Adapted
Screenplay (Stephen Gaghan). The film's fifth nomination was for Best Picture
(Laura Bickford, Marshall Herskovitz, Edward Zwick). Traffic has grossed
over $124,000,000 domestically, bringing its worldwide total to over $200
In addition to Soderbergh's Best Director nomination for Erin
Brockovich, Julia Roberts received the Best Actress Academy Award for the
title role in the true story of a California single mother who takes on a power
company in a direct-action suit and brings it to its knees. The film's other
nominations were for Best Supporting Actor (Albert Finney), Best Original
Screenplay (Susannah Grant) and Best Picture (Danny DeVito, Michael Shamberg,
Ocean's Eleven is Soderbergh's eleventh film,
following Traffic, Erin Brockovich, The Limey, Out of
Sight, Gray's Anatomy, Schizopolis, The Underneath, King
of the Hill, Kafka and sex, lies, and videotape.
Born in Georgia and raised primarily in Baton Rouge,
Louisiana, Soderbergh began making films at age 13. After graduating from high
school, he traveled to Los Angeles, where he worked as a freelance editor before
returning to Baton Rouge to continue making short films and writing screenplays.
After shooting a documentary profiling the rock group Yes, Soderbergh was asked
to direct a full-length concert film for the band. The result was 9012LIVE,
which received a Grammy nomination in 1986 for Long Form Music Video.
After two years of writing more screenplays, both on spec
and for hire, Soderbergh completed the script for sex, lies, and videotape.
Shooting commenced in Baton Rouge in the summer of 1988 with James Spader, Andie
MacDowell, Peter Gallagher and Laura San Giacomo playing the four leads. The
film premiered at the Sundance film festival in January 1989 and four months
later won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
Soderbergh's second film, Kafka, was a
black-and-white mystery-suspense film set in post-WWI Prague. Combining elements
of Franz Kafka's life, letters and fiction, the film starred Jeremy Irons in the
title role and was released in 1991.
The memoirs of author A.E. Hotchner provided the basis for
Soderbergh's third film, King of the Hill, which detailed the attempts of
an imaginative twelve-year old boy to keep his family from splitting apart
during the Great Depression. The film was released in 1993 and, according to the
annual Premiere Magazine Critic's Chart, was the fifth best-reviewed film
of the year.
In 1995, Soderbergh reunited with Peter Gallagher for The
Underneath, a dark tale of obsession and betrayal set in present-day Austin,
Texas. The film also starred Alison Elliot, Elisabeth Shue and Joe Don Baker.
In the spring of 1997, Soderbergh had two films in release: Schizopolis,
an experimental, low-budget comedy in the spirit of Richard Lester and Bunuel
and Gray's Anatomy, the filmed version of Spalding Gray's acclaimed
monologue, in which Gray describes his experiences in the world of medicine
(both the alternative and established variety) a
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