Upcoming projects for Oscar nominees--We report on what's to come from Russell Crose, Julianne Moore, Sam Mendes, and more

By Gillian Flynn
Updated April 07, 2000 at 04:00 AM EDT

They’ve been feted and toasted, congratulated and huzzahed.

Now that the Oscar-night adulation has settled, there is, of course, the crucial question for our Academy darlings: What next? Here’s a look at work in the works for 2000 and beyond.

The award for biggest transformation (and busiest schedule) goes to Russell Crowe, who shed his Insider flab to play a Roman slave in May’s Ridley Scott-directed Gladiator. Currently filming Proof of Life, as a hostage negotiator who falls for Meg Ryan, Crowe is next signed — along with Claire Danes — for Jodie Foster’s third foray behind the camera, the 1930s Flora Plum. Also booked solid: Sean Penn, who will be seen this fall with Elizabeth Hurley and Sarah Polley in the eerie psychological drama The Weight of Water. Penn has been directing Jack Nicholson in the mystery The Pledge, due this year, and is scheduled to hit the San Francisco stage this November opposite Nick Nolte in Sam Shepard’s new play The Late Henry Moss. Denzel Washington will appear as a Virginia high school football coach in the 1970s-set true story Remember the Titans, and this autumn will make his directorial debut shooting an as-yet-untitled drama about a young Navy enlistee. Richard Farnsworth has no announced projects, while Kevin Spacey stars as a slick salesman in The Big Kahuna and will be seen in Miramax’s Ordinary Decent Criminal. Spacey is teaching social studies to fellow Oscar nominee Haley Joel Osment in the currently filming Pay It Forward.

Julianne Moore takes on Clarice Starling in a little film called Hannibal, the Silence of the Lambs sequel directed by Ridley Scott — and is in early talks to follow that with I Was Amelia Earhart, Jane Mendelsohn’s fictionalized autobiography of the aviator. Annette Bening will take time off for the arrival of her fourth child, due any day now, while Meryl Streep has been floating around the Caribbean debating her next move (there’s buzz she may star opposite Michael Douglas in an upcoming drama). Janet McTeer can be spotted in a trio of films, including Waking the Dead, Sundance favorite Songcatcher, and The King Is Alive, about a group of travelers who stage a desert production of King Lear to keep their sanity when their bus breaks down. Hilary Swank appears as Keanu Reeves’ abused wife in the Sam Raimi psychological thriller The Gift, currently filming. After that, she’s signed to star as a devious noblewoman in The Affair of the Necklace, set during the French Revolution.

The always busy Michael Caine plays doctor to Geoffrey Rush’s Marquis de Sade in Quills, will be seen with Sandra Bullock in the beauty pageant flick Miss Congeniality, and costars with Sylvester Stallone in the Mob thriller Get Carter, all due out this year. Haley Joel Osment is now playing Helen Hunt’s kid — and one Spacey student — in Pay It Forward. He’s also said to be a contender for a role in Steven Spielberg’s artificial-intelligence drama A.I., due to start filming this summer. Michael Clarke Duncan, who’s currently on view in The Whole Nine Yards, is reading scripts, while Tom Cruise kicks off the summer in John Woo’s M:I-2. With a starring role in Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi thriller Minority Report pushed back to next year, early bets place Cruise next in Robert Redford’s A Beautiful Mind, about schizophrenic mathematician John Nash Jr. Jude Law is finishing work on the WWII drama Enemy at the Gates, reportedly the most expensive movie ever filmed in Europe. After that he’s expected to star in A.I. — followed by a stint as a Cold War-era CIA agent in The Good Shepherd, to be directed by Robert De Niro.

Angelina Jolie plays car thief Sara ”Sway” Wayland opposite Nicolas Cage in this summer’s auto-heist thriller Gone in 60 Seconds; she’s also been in Mexico filming the 19th-century romantic mystery Dancing in the Dark with Antonio Banderas, and will take on the bodacious role of Lara Croft in Paramount’s videogame-inspired Tomb Raider. Toni Collette can be spotted with Samuel L. Jackson in this summer’s Shaft and on Broadway in The Wild Party, while Catherine Keener hasn’t chosen her next project yet. Chloe Sevigny gets targeted in the adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ serial-killer story, American Psycho, and Samantha Morton does heroin chic with Billy Crudup in this summer’s Jesus’ Son.

How do you follow a movie like American Beauty? Sam Mendes is mulling that over while sifting through possible projects as well as developing a script by Scott Frank (Out of Sight) called The Lookout for DreamWorks. Cider House Rules helmer Lasse Hallstrom will remain at Miramax for the upcoming Johnny Depp-Juliette Binoche romance, Chocolat. Michael Mann is expected to direct Will Smith in the boxer biopic Ali — although his name has also been attached to a Howard Hughes biopic starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Spike Jonze is developing the long-gestating surrealistic film Benjamin Button, and will work again with Malkovich scribe Charlie Kaufman for Adaptation, an offbeat story based on Kaufman’s own attempts to adapt Susan Orlean’s nonfiction book The Orchid Thief. M. Night Shyamalan will reteam with Bruce Willis — starring alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Robin Wright Penn — for the supernatural thriller Unbreakable, which the director also scripted. We Sense a frighteningly good box office.