When this movie first came out I was dying to see it, but sadly my hometown theater didn’t get it and I had to wait for it to be a rental. I rented a shitty full frame VHS from my local rental store and I fell in love with it. Luckily, a week or so later we went out-of-town and I bought the special edition DVD and I watched it right away in all its widescreen glory. Let me tell you, I already felt pretty strongly about aspect ratios, but that little experience cinched it for me. The full frame ruined soooo much of Luhrmann’s amazing framing and ruined some of the film’s reoccurring themes. I finally got to see the film on the big screen when I was in college and boy what an experience that was! I also got to see it at the Castro Theatre last summer and boy who giant screen really brings out the power of the imagery and emotions of the film. After I saw this film the first time, I went back to my local rental store and rented absolutely every film starring either Nicole Kidman or Ewan McGregor that they had (which was actually quite a lot of films). That was a lot of fun. Moulin Rouge! was nominated for eight Oscars, winning two: Academy Award Best Art Direction (won), Best Costume Design, Best Makeup, Best Sound, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Actress Nicole Kidman and Best Picture. Luhrmann didn’t receive a nomination for Best Director and Oscar host Whoppi Goldberg famously quipped when presenting the film that “apparently it didn’t have a director.” This was a year where two of the Best Picture films didn’t get Best Director nods (the other was Todd Field for In The Bedroom) and two directors whose films weren’t nom’d did: David Lynch for Mulholland Drive and Ridley Scott for Black Hawk Down. Always strange when that happens, though I am 100% behind Lynch’s nomination.
I’ve been a fan of Baz Luhrmann since I saw his version of Romeo + Juliet when it was first released in theaters. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. He wowed me again five years later with Moulin Rouge! a film that is so dear to my heart. Luhrmann is a showman in every sense of the word and his films are some of the showiest films to come out in the last twenty years.