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OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL

SAM RAIMI (Director) has directed one the industry's most successful film franchises ever -- the blockbuster "Spider-Man" trilogy, which has grossed $2.5 billion at the global box office. All three films reside in the industry's Top 25 highest grossing titles of all time.

In addition to the franchise's commercial success, "Spider-Man" (2002) won that year's People's Choice Award as Favorite Motion Picture, earned a pair of Oscar nominations (for Visual Effects and sound) and also collected two GRAMMY nominations (for Best Score Soundtrack Album and Chad Kroeger's song "Hero"). The sequel (2004) won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects (with two more nominations, Best Sound Mixing and Sound Editing) and two BAFTA nominations (for Visual Effects and Sound), among dozens of other honors. Apart from creating one of Hollywood's landmark film series, Raimi's eclectic resume includes the gothic thriller "The Gift," starring Cate Blanchett, Hilary Swank, Keanu Reeves, Greg Kinnear and Giovanni Ribisi; the acclaimed suspense thriller "A Simple Plan," which stars Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton and Bridget Fonda (for which Thornton earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor and Scott B. Smith landed a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay); his baseball homage, "For Love of the Game," with Kevin Costner and Kelly Preston; the western "The Quick and the Dead," starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Sharon Stone, Russell Crowe and Gene Hackman; and his most recent effort, the supernatural thriller, "Drag Me to Hell," with Alison Lohman and Justin Long.

Raimi began his career in his native Michigan after directing his own Super 8 movies as a teenager. He left his studies at Michigan State University to form Renaissance Pictures with future producer Rob Tapert and their longtime friend, actor Bruce Campbell, with whom he made his very first feature film, the horror classic, "The Evil Dead" (1981). Financed and produced with investments from local business people and doctors, the film became a hit at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival and spawned a sequel, "Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn" (1987), which, like the original, showcased Raimi's inventive, imaginative direction and offbeat humor.

Raimi next turned to the fantasy genre, co-writing and directing the comic book-inspired "Darkman" (1990), starring Liam Neeson and Frances McDormand, then followed with 1993's "Army of Darkness," a comic sword-and-sorcery fantasy starring Bruce Campbell.

The mid-'90s also found Raimi producing two telefilms (with friend and partner Tapert) that would become the genesis of a pair of highly popular syndicated series -- "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys" (on which he served 34as executive producer during the program's four-year run) and the successful companion series, "Xena: Warrior Princess" which aired from 1995-2001. His television work also includes executive producing the CBS series "American Gothic" and the Starz! graphic sword-and-sandals series, "Spartacus: Blood and Sand," "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena," and "Spartacus: War of the Damned."

Raimi continued his collaboration with Tapert in his production company Ghost House Pictures, which produced such films as "The Grudge," "Boogeyman," "30 Days of Night," "The Messengers" and "The Possession."

Raimi's work has been a favorite on the film festival circuit, with the filmmaker winning a Best Director honor for "Darkman" at the 1990 Sitges-Catalonian International Film Festival in Spain; the Critics Award for "Army of Darkness" at the 1993 Fantasporto Festival in Portugal; the Golden Raven, also for "Army of Darkness," at the 1993 Brussels International Festival; and a Grand Prize nomination for the same title at the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival in France. Raimi himself has also twice won the Saturn Award ("Spider-Man 2," along with a George Pal Memorial Award) from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films.

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