Holly Hunter learned to play the piano when she was nine years old and played most of the piano sequences herself.
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Despite winning an Oscar at a young age, Anna Paquin admitted on Late Show with David Letterman (1993) in 2009 that she had only recently watched the film for the first time at the time of the interview. She was not allowed to watch the film at the time of its release, because of its sexual content, being eleven years old at the time.
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Film debut of Anna Paquin. At the age of nine, she beat out five thousand other girls who sent in audition videotapes for the role of Flora. (NOTE: Castle in the Sky (1986) is Anna Paquin's earliest listed role on IMDB. However, this was an English dub of a Japanese animation film by Hayao Miyazaki. Although the movie itself was first released in Japan in 1986, Paquin did not do the English voice-over for it until 1998. This movie was her first film role ever.)
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Flora's (Anna Paquin's) name is never mentioned throughout the entire film.
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Jane Campion became the first woman to win the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival with this film, though she was unable to receive the award in person, as she was due to give birth.
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Cinematographer Stuart Dryburgh was the only man to receive an Oscar nomination for his work in this film. All of the other seven nominations were given to women (screenwriter and director Jane Campion, producer Jan Chapman, costume designer Janet Patterson, editor Veronika Jenet, and actresses Holly Hunter and Anna Paquin), a rare feat.
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Holly Hunter received three on-screen credits for the film, playing the character of Ada, playing the piano herself, and being a British sign language interpreter for Anna Paquin.
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We never learn who Flora's illegitimate father is in the film. It was revealed in Campion's novelization of the film that it was Ada's former piano teacher.
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Jane Campion became the first woman to be Oscar nominated for Best Director for directing a Best Picture nominee.
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The play performed in the movie is an adaptation of "Bluebeard", which is a French fairy tale recorded by Charles Perrault about a man who marries, kills his wives after they fail a test, stashes their bodies in a small chamber, then marries again. In the original story, the main character (Bluebeard's current wife) escapes her psychopathic husband and finds happiness elsewhere.
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Before deciding on Holly Hunter, Jane Campion met with several actresses in England, France, and the U.S. for the role of Ada. Among the actresses she considered were Sigourney Weaver, Anjelica Huston, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Isabelle Huppert, Juliette Binoche, and Madeleine Stowe.
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Holly Hunter won fourteen awards of the fifteen nominations she received for her role in this movie.
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After Lina Wertmüller for Seven Beauties (1975), Jane Campion was only the second woman to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director, and the first for an English language film, as the earlier film was Italian. The only other women to be so nominated are Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation (2003), Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2008), and Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird (2017). Bigelow is the only one of the five to have won the award.
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Film debut of Rose McIver and Cliff Curtis.
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Kurt Cobain saw this movie with a couple of friends one day before he committed suicide, making it very likely it's the last film he has seen.
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In an article about actors and nude scenes, Holly Hunter, who is totally nude I this and other movies, told Premiere, "I've never signed a nudity clause in my life. And whenever I've done nudity, I felt it was right. I mean, we've got five senses, and sex employs all of them, so if you're expressing something about what it means to be alive in the world, how can you subtract sex from that?"
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Picked by Entertainment Weekly magazine as one of the "50 Greatest Independent Films" in a special supplement devoted to independent films that was only distributed to subscribers in November 1997.
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As her character is mute, Holly Hunter has no lines of dialogue throughout the entirety of the film, only when she is providing narration.
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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The only Best Picture Oscar nominee of the year to be also nominated for Original Screenplay.
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As of 2018, Anna Paquin won the Best Supporting Oscar for this film from her only Academy Award nomination.
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The theme tune is called "The Heart Asks Pleasure First" on the soundtrack album.
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Before composer Michael Nyman was hired to score this film another composer was asked by director Campion to score it but since that composer was in his own words "quite ordinary piano player" he was not given the job. That composer was the New-Zealand born composer Graeme Revell.
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Was compared to gangsta rap music, specifically Snoop Doggy Dogg's record "Doggystyle," by black feminist Gloria Jean Watkins (aka bell hooks) as being a white form of male deviance in her essay, "Sexism and Misogyny: Who Takes the Rap?"
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