Quiz show -- answers

Everything you always wanted to know about this year's Oscar nominees but were afraid to ask.

1. One would think this acting nominee might have chosen a different profession, perhaps baseball. Who, and why?
Paul Giamatti's late father was former Major League Baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti.
2. A screenwriting nominee was once "engaged" to Calista Flockhart. Explain.
During his "other" career as an actor, "Capote" scribe Dan Futterman played Flockhart's fiance in 1996's "The Birdcage."
3. David Strathairn was not the first choice to play Edward R. Murrow in Warner Independent Pictures' "Good Night, and Good Luck." Who was?
"Good Night" director George Clooney thought of playing his longtime hero before deciding that he wasn't quite right for the part.
4. "Capote" co-star Catherine Keener will be very much on Sandra Bullock's mind later this year. Why?
Bullock will play author Harper Lee, best friend of Truman Capote and the character Keener plays in "Capote," in Warner Independent's Capote biopic "Infamous," a planned fall release.
5. Fernando Meirelles was a last-minute choice to replace another director on Focus Features' "The Constant Gardener." Who was that helmer, and what happened?
Mike Newell was set to go on "Gardener" before he was chosen by Warner Bros. Pictures to helm "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."
6. This writer-director nearly pulled out of his film midway through the shoot. Who, and what went wrong?
Paul Haggis was rushed to the emergency room after suffering a heart attack while shooting Lionsgate's "Crash." A few days later, though, he was back on the job.
7. It's not unusual for co-stars to fall in love while making a movie, but one 2005 affair put a new twist on that old theme. Explain.
While playing a homosexual cowboy who cheats on his wife (with a cowboy named Jack Twist), Heath Ledger fell in love with Michelle Williams on the set of Focus' "Brokeback Mountain." The couple now has a baby.
8. This drama about the murder of a twentysomething woman in London originally was conceived as the murder of a thirtysomething woman in the Hamptons. Name the movie.
Woody Allen conceived of DreamWorks' "Match Point" as a New York story, set in the upscale Hamptons. He rewrote the script when funding became available in the U.K., then changed it again for star Scarlett Johansson.
9. This period piece started life as a biographical TV movie. Its writer put the script in a drawer and reconceived it years later. Which nominated movie is it?
While starring in NBC's "ER," Clooney tackled Murrow as the subject of a telefilm biopic. Years later, he mentioned it to Grant Heslov, and the two reworked the script, focusing on Murrow's confrontations with former Wisconsin Sen. Joe McCarthy.
10. The star of this film with an Oscar-nominated screenplay modeled his role on a real-life character -- with uncomfortable consequences when that model showed up on the set during filming. Which film, and who was the model?
The father figure played by Jeff Daniels in Samuel Goldwyn Films' "The Squid and the Whale" is based on writer-director Noah Baumbach's actual father. At one point, Jonathan Baumbach visited the set and protested that aspects of the character were heavily fictionalized.
11. This Oscar nominee moonlights as a bookstore owner in Texas. Who is he?
Veteran novelist and screenwriter Larry McMurtry ("Brokeback") owns the bookstore Booked Up in Archer City, Texas.
12. While doing research for this Oscar-nominated drama, its screenwriter was nearly abducted by terrorists. Name the picture and the writer.
Stephen Gaghan (Warners' "Syriana") stepped off a plane in Beirut, Lebanon, and found himself thrust into a car at gunpoint, whisked away to meet with the spiritual leader of the terrorist movement Hezbollah. After a bit of questioning, he was allowed to go free.
13. A famous French filmmaker offered to fully fund a low-budget period piece on one condition, but its American helmer turned the offer down flat. Who, and why?
Luc Besson offered to pay for "Good Night," a $7.5 million production, but insisted that Clooney shoot the film in an anamorphic (widescreen) format. Clooney declined.
14. If this veteran actress had appeared in this 2005 movie as planned, she would have been the only performer to star in the original and a remake of the same film -- more than 70 years apart. Name the actress and the movie.
Fay Wray was set to play a cameo in Universal's "King Kong" but fell ill. She died Aug. 8, 2004.
15. The director of this biopic was amazed to discover that its subject's favorite movie was 1931's "Frankenstein." Name the film and its subject.
Johnny Cash told James Mangold, director of Fox's "Walk the Line," that his favorite movie was "Frankenstein." He even acted it out, screaming: "It's alive! It's alive!"
16. One nominated actress received free acting tips from past Oscar nominee William H. Macy. Why?
Felicity Huffman (the Weinstein Co.'s "Transamerica") is married to Macy.
17. Rob Marshall was the producers' second choice to helm Sony's "Memoirs of a Geisha." Who was their first?
Steven Spielberg signed on to direct "Memoirs" after reading Arthur Golden's novel. Years later, he chose to be an executive producer instead.
18. This Oscar nominee and occasional professor recently completed his Ph.D. thesis about the late, austere Danish filmmaker Carl Theodor Dreyer. Name him.
James Schamus not only writes and produces films such as "Brokeback" and 2000's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" but also teaches film history at Columbia University -- while moonlighting as co-president of Focus Features. He earned a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2003.
19. What does the word "Syriana" mean in the title of the Warner Bros. Pictures film?
"Syriana" is a term used in Washington to refer to a mythical, redrawn Middle East. It is not to be confused with the nation of Syria.
20. Actor David Strathairn nearly pursued another profession. What was it?
After Strathairn left college, he attended a clown school in Florida and began his career in the circus.
21. This actor made only $60,000 during the year in which he shot his Oscar-nominated role -- despite shooting six other movies that same year. Name him.
Astonishingly, Terrence Howard appeared in seven movies or telefilms in 2004, including "Crash" and Paramount Classics' "Hustle & Flow." He was paid $12,000 for the latter and less than $10,000 for the former.
22. Ang Lee passed when initially asked to direct Focus' "Brokeback Mountain," opting to make another movie instead. Which movie was it, and which director came aboard to replace him?
When Lee opted to make 2003's "The Hulk," Gus Van Sant stepped in on "Brokeback" -- but its producers could not find financing.
23. Among this year's Academy Award nominees, who has received the most career Oscar nominations?
"Memoirs" composer John Williams has earned 45 Oscar noms and has won five statuettes to date.
24. Who plays former Wisconsin Sen. Joe McCarthy in "Good Night," and what is unusual about his performance?
No one does -- the real-life McCarthy is seen entirely in newsreel footage. Some preview audiences complained that "the actor who played McCarthy" was over-the-top.
25. Which nominee was named after a character in a famous 19th century romantic novel?
Heath Ledger was named after Heathcliff, the brooding hero of Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights."
26. Keira Knightley, nominated for Focus' adaptation of Jane Austen's "Pride & Prejudice," has what connection to another Austen novel, "Emma"?
Mr. Knightley is the hero in "Emma."
27. What is the most obvious connection between Mel Gibson and Colin Farrell, star of New Line's Oscar-nominated "The New World"?
Gibson and Farrell have both played Capt. John Smith -- the former as a voice in 1995's "Pocahontas," the latter in "New World."
28. French foreign-language Oscar nominee "Joyeux Noel" (Merry Christmas) tells the story of what real-life incident?
During World War I, the sides brokered a Christmas Day truce that extended for hundreds of miles along the front. In addition to singing carols together, some soldiers played soccer before going back to their guns.
29. This Oscar-nominated actor had to be airlifted out of Morocco and hospitalized in the U.S. after suffering an accident during filming. Name the actor and the movie.
Clooney got carried away while shooting the interrogation scene in "Syriana." After knocking his head during a fall, spinal fluid came out of his nose.
30. Which Oscar-nominated movie opened with a 160-minute running time, then was rereleased at 135 minutes less than two weeks later?
"New World." After releasing the longer version Dec. 25 in New York and Los Angeles in order to qualify for the Oscars, director Terrence Malick pulled it Jan. 2 and replaced it with the shorter cut.
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