Oscars Flashback '01: The Standoffish 'Gladiator'

By ROBERT PACE

December 20, 2012

At the 2001 Academy Awards, Russell Crowe won his first Oscar for Gladiator, a film that created a significant appetite for epic dramas that still exists today. However, Crowe wasn't exactly on cloud nine after winning the award, as he is unyieldingly sarcastic and standoffish in his pressroom session.

Crowe, who had been nominated for an Oscar for The Insider prior to his portrayal of "Maximus," sets a bitter tone in the pressroom from the get-go, which makes the scene reminiscent of a press conference with the head coach of a losing sports team. Crowe is happy to speak about the beer he'll be celebrating with but nothing of substance.

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"The evolution of the moment? That's a really long answer and I'm only into short answers. Ask me questions that I can answer 'Yes' or 'No' [to] or shortly and then we'll all get on really well," he says, trying to contain his smile.

The sour Crowe proves that he isn't joking about his approach to the pressroom by then giving a sarcastic answer to the next question he receives about how he related to his character in the film. After turning a cold shoulder on the reporter, the standoffish Crowe says, "Whatever. Moving right along!"

Despite his irreverent brevity with the press, the then-37-year-old Australian is anything but brief when elaborating on how tough it was to film the physical parts of the film, which would have been a proper answer to the question he deflected about his similarities to his character.

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"The most challenge aspect of the character was, in truth, the physicality. I got very heavily beaten up on this movie and we didn't have time to take things like breaks in production or anything to repair me, so I just had to keep going with it," he says with a smile."

Crowe was nominated for A Beautiful Mind the following year but hasn't been nominated since. However, he has been nominated for a SAG Award for his role in Les Miserables and may soon receive an Oscar nomination.

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