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Plot, Details & Awards

Quills

Rated R for strong sexual content including dialogue, violence and language.

R In Theaters 11/22/2000 , 123min.
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Plot & Details

The Marquis de Sade was a man who liked to stir up trouble, at a time when his native France was in a state of tremendous political turmoil, and this historical drama examines how much controversy he could cause even under repressive circumstances. In the aftermath of the French Revolution, the Marquis de Sade (Geoffrey Rush) manages to narrowly escape execution during the Reign of Terror, and instead is sentenced to the Charenton Asylum for the Insane. Coulmier (Joaquin Phoenix), the priest who heads the asylum, is sympathetic to the political machinations that have put the Marquis in his care, and allows him not only to write what he pleases, but to stage theater pieces using the other patients as actors. Royer-Collard (Michael Caine), a tyrannical doctor overseeing the mental institutions of Napoleonic France, is as outraged as the emperor when he reads Justine, a scabrous volume the Marquis penned while an inmate at Charenton, and he demands that de Sade be stopped. But Royer-Collard soon learns that stopping the Marquis from writing is not so simple; when de Sade's quills and ink are taken from him, he uses wine and even his own blood to write his stories. When these options are no longer available, he dictates his work with the help of Madeline (Kate Winslet), a laundry girl working at the asylum, who is fascinated by the notorious de Sade, though she declines his frequent requests to satisfy his notorious sexual appetites. Based on the play by Doug Wright (who also penned the screenplay), Quills was directed by Philip Kaufman, who previously documented the line between eroticism and literature in Henry and June and The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

Awards

Academy Awards

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
2000 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Art Direction Jill Quertier Nominated
2000 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Art Direction Martin Childs Nominated
2000 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Costume Design Jacqueline West Nominated
2000 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Best Actor Geoffrey Rush Nominated

British Academy of Film and Television Arts

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
2000 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Production Design Martin Childs Nominated
2000 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Actor Geoffrey Rush Nominated
2000 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Makeup and Hair Nominated
2000 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Costume Design Jacqueline West Nominated

Golden Globes

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
2000 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Screenplay Doug Wright Nominated
2000 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama Geoffrey Rush Nominated

British Academy of Film and Television Arts

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
2000 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Production Design Martin Childs Nominated
2000 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Actor Geoffrey Rush Nominated
2000 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Makeup and Hair Nominated
2000 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Best Costume Design Jacqueline West Nominated

Broadcast Film Critics Association

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
2000 Broadcast Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actor Joaquin Phoenix Won

National Board of Review

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
2000 National Board of Review Best Supporting Actor Joaquin Phoenix Won
2000 National Board of Review Best Picture Won
2000 National Board of Review Special Recognition for Freedom of Expression Won

Telluride Film Festival

Year Award CategoryCast & Crew Result
2000 Telluride Film Festival Film Presented Nominated

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