Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Stranger Than Fiction
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Another member of the Saturday Night Live Screen Actors Guild, Will Ferrell made his major film debut as Steve Butabi, one of the spectacularly clueless brothers who serve as the protagonists of A Night at the Roxbury (1998). The character originated on SNL, where Ferrell had been a regular since 1995, entertaining audiences with his celebrity impressions and such characterizations as Craig the Spartan Cheerleader and junior high-school teacher Marty Culp.
Born in Irvine, CA, on July 16, 1967, Ferrell attended the University of Southern California, graduating with a degree in sports information. Following graduation, he worked as a sportscaster on a weekly cable show, but he soon found his interests leaning toward acting and standup comedy. He enrolled in classes and workshops given at a local community college, and after only a year of training, he was invited to join the Groundlings, an infamous L.A. comedy improv group. Ferrell's involvement with the Groundlings led to his SNL discovery; from that point on, the previously unknown comic found himself enjoying growing recognition and a steady paycheck.
Although A Night at the Roxbury turned out to be a complete and utter flop, it did little to prevent Ferrell from finding more screen work; the following year, he could be seen as journalist Bob Woodward in Dick and as the object of fellow SNL castmate Molly Shannon's unwanted affection in Superstar. A series of scene-stealing supporting roles followed for Ferrell in such films as Drowning Mona, Zoolander, and, most-notably, Old School. In the 2003 Todd Phillips film, Ferrell sunk his teeth into the role of Frank "The Tank", delivering several lines that would forever be quoted by frat guys the world over.
But it was Ferrell's other 2003 film that truly announced his arrival as a Hollywood star. As the oversized titular character in director Jon Favreau's holiday comedy Elf, Ferrell delighted audiences and critics alike, making the modestly-budgeted film a surprise box-office smash.
In the wake of Elf's success, Ferrell's 2004 plate was full, starring as fictional '70s TV newscaster Ron Burgundy in Anchorman (a film which had enough outtakes to merit an entire second feature upon being released to home video), taking a role in the Woody Allen's Melinda and Melinda, and signing on for lead roles in two long-anticipated projects: the filmed adaptation of John Kennedy Toole's cult novel A Confederacy of Dunces and the big-screen version of the classic sitcom Bewitched. Though the curse that had plagued the big-screen adaptation of Confederacy seemed to persist when, by mid-2006, there still seemed to be no signs that the film would be going before the cameras anytime soon, Ferrell continued to crack-up audiences with a hilarious cameo in the popular Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson comedy Weddng Crashers, as well as a memorable turn in The Producers - a big screen adaptation of the smash Broadway hit that was inspired by Mel Brooks' 1968 comedy classic of the same name.
Of course for true Ferrell fans, nothing compares to the opportunity to see the seasoned comic sink his teeth into an original character of his own creation. After lending his voice to the character of the Men in the Yellow Hat in the feature animated effort Curious George, the breakout SNL star re-teamed with Anchorman co-writer and director Adam McKay for Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby the tale of a popular NASCAR driver whose comfortable lead on the track is challenged by a lead-footed French rival (played by Da Ali G Show star Sasha Baron Cohen). His fans turned out in full force, making the film one of the biggest successes of his career, and prompting talk that he would immediately reteam with co-star John C. Riley in a comedy titled Step Brothers. The same year as Talladega, Ferrell co-starred alongside Oscar winners Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson in Stranger Than Fiction, as a fictional character who must try to contact the author (Thompson) trying to kill him. Staying true to his roots, Ferrell next opted for yet another sports comedy in Blades of Glory, starring with Napoleon Dynamite's John Heder as a macho figure skater who circumvents the consequences of being kicked out of the league for poor conduct by competing in the pairs circuit with another man. ~ Rebecca Flint Marx, Rovi