"Braveheart" Cleans Up

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LOS ANGELES: "Braveheart" was the big winner at this year's Academy Awards with five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. The movie was Mel Gibson's second behind the camera, after "The Man Without a Face" in 1993. "Like most directors, what I really want to do is act," Gibson joked at the podium. He was not the only actor to be recognized for other talents: Emma Thompson won an Oscar for her adaptation of Jane Austen's novel "Sense and Sensibility." Says TIME's Joelle Attinger: "This is a recognition of the growing cross-fertilization of roles people can play in the film industry." In other major awards, Nicholas Cage won best actor for his portrayal of a suicidal alcoholic in "Leaving Las Vegas." Susan Sarandon, who had been shut out after four previous nominations, won best actress for the role of Sister Helen Prejean in "Dead Man Walking." The actual Louisiana nun, who tried to reform a death-row inmate, was in the audience. In terms of genuine emotion, TIME's Attinger says, Sarandon's moment ranked with Mira Sorvino's win for best supporting actress for her portrayal of a prostitute in "Might Aphrodite." Sorvino, verging on tears, thanked her father, Paul Sorvino, as the veteran actor openly sobbed in the audience. The elder Sorvino, a character actor, has appeared in TV's "Law & Order," and the movie "Goodfellas." "The Usual Suspects" won two Oscars: Best Supporting Actor, Kevin Spacey, and Best Original Screenplay, Christopher McQuarrie.