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Hytner, Sir Nicholas (b. 1956)  
 
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The film version was released as The Madness of King George in 1994, directed by Hytner, with a screenplay by Bennett, and starring Hawthorne.

The film was nominated for a total of 14 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards, winning three including Best British Film and Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for Hawthorne. The actor also received a 1995 Academy Award nomination for his role in the film.

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Hawthorne was publicly "outed" by The Advocate when an article in the magazine described him as "the first openly gay actor to be nominated for a Best Actor [Academy] Award." Although Hawthorne lived openly with his partner, the writer Trevor Bentham, he had chosen to protect his private life from the prying of the press.

Following that public outing, Hawthorne began to speak more openly and freely about his personal life.

Hytner returned to Broadway in 1994 with a critically and commercially successful production of Carousel (music by Richard Rodgers; lyrics and book by Oscar Hammerstein II), which won five Tony Awards that year, including Best Direction of a Musical for Hytner. The production also won Hytner a 1994 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Musical.

Hytner's next film, The Crucible (1996), is an adaptation of Arthur Miller's award-winning play about the Salem witch trials. Miller had written the play as his response to the Communist "witch hunts" conducted by Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee in the early 1950s.

One of the "basic impulses" of the play, Hytner noted, is "the need to demonize those in a community that are felt to be dangerous or 'other.'" Hytner also saw parallels between the seventeenth-century Salem witch trials and in today's society. "There will definitely be gay people who will be able to relate this to their own experience," Hytner said.

As for himself, Hytner told an interviewer that he had never really suffered from homophobia. "In the performing arts in England and New York," he clarified, "there is no problem [with being gay], and therefore it has never been an issue in my work. As far as Hollywood, I have no horror stories to tell . . . people there have been supportive of me both professionally and personally."

Hytner's third feature was a film version of gay author Stephen McCauley's novel, The Object of My Affection (1998). The film, with a screenplay by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein, concerns the close relationship between George, a gay male school teacher, played by Paul Rudd, and Nina, a pregnant, single social worker, played by Jennifer Aniston. Sir Nigel Hawthorne makes an amusing cameo in the film as an unambiguously gay character.

Apropos of the film's theme, Hytner was asked about the strong dynamic between straight women and gay men. "I think it has to do with the lack of sexual tension--or a tension that is mischievous at best," he offered. "I love women's company . . . I really can't cope without the feminine presence or the feminine influence . . . [T]here's something about a woman and a gay man--the one completes the other because each sex complements the other."

After completing The Object of My Affection, Hytner spent an "unremittingly horrible" fifteen months involved in a thwarted project to bring the Broadway musical Chicago to film (with Madonna set to star). Although an award-winning film version was eventually released in 2003, Hytner was no longer associated with the project.

"I made a mistake professionally," Hytner later explained, "because I had an apartment in New York, and I spent more time there than [in London]. That was partly because--actually mainly because--I was in a relationship that was important to me, but also because I thought I could make it in American movies."

Hytner's next feature was the ballet film Center Stage (2000), which focuses on a group of young students in their first year of intensive training at the fictitious American Ballet Academy in New York.

The film features the actor Shakiem Evans as Erick, an openly gay male dancer at the Academy. Dance sequences for the film were staged by Susan Stroman and the gay classical ballet choreographer Christopher Wheeldon.

Hytner and Wheeldon collaborated two years later on the Broadway musical The Sweet Smell of Success (music by Marvin Hamlisch; lyrics by Craig Carnelia; book by John Guare), based on the 1957 film noir of the same name. Although the musical received decidedly mixed reviews, it garnered seven 2002 Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical.

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