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Oscar Ceremony Biggest Surprises Include 20-Time Loser

Amy Adams Oscar
As the saying goes, it’s not over until the fat lady sings. Since Amy Adams is anything but fat, that meant another three hours of Oscar give-aways after her rendition of “Happy Working Song” from Enchanted.
Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

Nearly four hours into the Oscarcast 2008…

And it’s finally over. No Country for Old Men has been voted the best film of 2007.

I must admit that I didn’t really watch the ceremony, except to listen to the announcements of the year’s Oscar winners. For about two seconds, I did, however, check out Amy Adams singing a ditty from Enchanted – I just wanted to take a look at her, who, in my view, should have been one of this year’s five best actress nominees.

And I did watch Jon Stewart’s hilarious introduction. I usually can’t stand Oscar hosts and their tired jokes, but Stewart’s cracks, directed at the (mostly) liberal – or what passes for “liberal” in mainstream society – Hollywood crowd were quite clever. (Too bad he wasn’t around at my gym earlier today to make some cracks at a rabid – and woefully out-of-shape – right-winger, arguing Republican politics instead of lifting weights or doing some much needed cardio.)

Now, earlier this evening at the Kodak Theatre…

Only La Vie en Rose, No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood, and The Bourne Ultimatum won more than one award. No Country for Old Men had four wins: best picture, best supporting actor, best director, and best adapted screenplay. The Bourne Ultimatum had three: editing, sound editing, and sound mixing. La Vie en Rose and There Will Be Blood had two each: the former for make-up and actress; the latter for actor and cinematography.

Andrzej Wajda’s Katyn didn’t win the Oscar, but that other World War II/Nazi drama, The Counterfeiters, did. Director Stefan Ruzowitzky remarked that it was appropriate that Austria’s first Oscar win went to a film about Nazis, mentioning Otto Preminger, Billy Wilder, and Fred Zinnemann, three Austrian (I guess they’d have been called Austro-Hungarians at the time they were born) Jews who had to leave the country because of the Nazis.

Indeed, Hollywood benefited greatly from Europe’s anti-Semitism. Preminger, Wilder, and Zinnemann were responsible for some of the most seminal Hollywood movies from the 1940s to the 1970s, among them Laura, The Man with the Golden Arm, and Anatomy of a Murder (Preminger); High Noon, From Here to Eternity, and A Man for All Seasons (Zinnemann); and Double Indemnity, The Lost Weekend, and The Apartment (Wilder).

Elsewhere at the Oscars…

Glen Hansard - Oscar 2008Glen Hansard (right) and Markéta Irglová sang “Falling Slowly” from Once. That’s the song that almost didn’t make it. They later received an Oscar statuette for their composition – a victory that was widely applauded.

I listened to Hansard for a little bit, and later on I noticed that Irglova was talking about hope and “following your dream.” Considering that this seemed to happen after the commercial break, I’m assuming she was brought back to talk (perhaps after being cut off by the orchestra?). If so, I’m also assuming that that’s an Oscar first.

Jack Nicholson presented the Best Picture montage. Can’t help wondering how many of those people present at the Kodak Theatre had ever heard of – let alone watched – All Quiet on the Western Front, the best picture winner of 1930 – which also happens to be infinitely better than any best picture winner of the last decade or so.

Hilary Swank (the silhouette above) introduced the montage featuring those who died in the past year. Most people at the Kodak had probably never heard of Jean-Pierre Cassel or Michelangelo Antonioni, but I’m assuming they all knew Heath Ledger, unsurprisingly the last face shown on the giant screen.

It was an unusually thorough montage, with quite a few non-Hollywood names included, e.g., the aforementioned Cassel and Antonioni, plus Ousmane Sembene, Ingmar Bergman, and Jean-Claude Brialy, and a number of behind-the-scenes talent, from stuntmen to agents. All those in addition to the expected movie stars of yore, of course, among them Deborah Kerr, Laraine Day, Barry Nelson, Jane Wyman, Lois Maxwell, et al.

Addendum: But not Brad Renfro, as a friend has just reminded me. How come?

Best editing winner Christopher Rouse (right), for The Bourne Ultimatum, remarked that his father, Russell Rouse, also won an Oscar 48 years ago (for co-writing the fluffy 1959 Doris Day-Rock Hudson comedy Pillow Talk).

The elder Rouse, who died in 1987, directed one of my favorite Westerns, The Fastest Gun Alive (1956), a psychological duel-to-the-death tale of a quite talented gunslinger (Glenn Ford) who is afraid of getting shot at – but who is thoroughly sympathetic, nevertheless. Talk about subverting the genre…

Philippe Pollet-Villard’s French short Le Mozart des Pickpockets, winner of the Best Live Action Short Film Oscar (announced by Owen Wilson), also took the the French Academy’s César two nights ago.

All photos: © A.M.P.A.S.

The second biggest surprise was Marion Cotillard’s win. I was expecting Julie Christie. In fact, I wanted Julie Christie, though Cotillard (right) was surely just as deserving. Cotillard, who now apparently believes in angels (she said as much in her very emotional acceptance speech), also won the French Academy’s César a couple of nights ago. (I still say they should have an Oscar for Best Accent, given to people like Marion Cotillard.)

For the books: Cotillard is only the third individual – and the first native French speaker – to win an Oscar for acting in a non-English-language film. The other two are Italians Sophia Loren, for Two Women (1961), and Roberto Benigni, for Life Is Beautiful (1998).

The third biggest surprise was Alex Gibney’s Taxi to the Dark Side best documentary feature win. I (and, really, just about everybody else) was expecting that other Iraq War nominee and multiple-award-winner, Charles Ferguson’s No End in Sight, to to take home the golden statuette.

The fourth biggest surprise was Tilda Swinton’s win for Michael Clayton. I was expecting Ruby Dee, or perhaps Cate Blanchett or Amy Ryan. But not Swinton, even though she also took the British Academy’s best supporting actress award a week or so ago. She, herself, looked as surprised as I was.

Karen Baker Landers, Per Hallberg - Oscar 2008

The fifth biggest surprise was that Transformers didn’t win for best sound. The best sound editing award went to Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg (above) for The Bourne Ultimatum, while the best sound mixing award went to Scott Millan, David Parker, and Kirk Francis, also for The Bourne Ultimatum. So much for my theory that the loudest movie always wins. (And too bad for Transformers’ Kevin O’Connell, who went home for the 20th time empty-handed.)

Our Oscar predictions have been spot-on! We only missed 12 (out of 24) wins. In other words, we got right a full half (as opposed to an empty half) of the total results. A record.

Photos: Darren Decker (Bardem, Stewart, Cotillard, Hansard, Rouse), Michael Yada (Landers), Greg Harbaugh (Swank). All photos: © A.M.P.A.S.

Academy Awards

Academy Award nominations: Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills on Jan. 22. Academy Award ceremony: Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland in Los Angeles on Feb. 24.

Best film
Atonement (Focus Features) A Working Title Production
Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Paul Webster, Producers
Juno (Fox Searchlight) A Dancing Elk Pictures, LLC Production
Lianne Halfon, Mason Novick and Russell Smith, Producers
Michael Clayton (Warner Bros.) A Clayton Productions, LLC Production
Sydney Pollack, Jennifer Fox and Kerry Orent, Producers
* No Country for Old Men (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) A Scott Rudin/Mike Zoss Production
Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
There Will Be Blood (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) A JoAnne Sellar/Ghoulardi Film Company Production
JoAnne Sellar, Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Lupi, Producers

Stefan Ruzowitzky, Penélope Cruz - Oscar 2008

Best foreign language film
Beaufort A Metro Communications, Movie Plus Production
* The Counterfeiters An Aichholzer Filmproduktion, Magnolia Filmproduktion Production
Katyn An Akson Studio Production
Mongol A Eurasia Film Production
12 A Three T Production

Alex Gibney, Eva Orner - Oscar 2008

Best documentary feature
No End in Sight (Magnolia Pictures) A Representational Pictures Production
Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience (The Documentary Group) A Documentary Group Production
Richard E. Robbins
Sicko (Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company) A Dog Eat Dog Films Production
Michael Moore and Meghan O’Hara
* Taxi to the Dark Side (THINKFilm) An X-Ray Production
Alex Gibney and Eva Orner
War/Dance (THINKFilm) A Shine Global and Fine Films Production
Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine

Brad Bird - Oscar 2008

Best animated feature film
Persepolis (Sony Pictures Classics) Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
* Ratatouille (Walt Disney) Brad Bird
Surf’s Up (Sony Pictures Releasing) Ash Brannon and Chris Buck

Best director
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Miramax/Pathé Renn) Julian Schnabel
Juno (Fox Searchlight) Jason Reitman
Michael Clayton (Warner Bros.) Tony Gilroy
* No Country for Old Men (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
There Will Be Blood (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Paul Thomas Anderson

Daniel Day-Lewis

Best actor
George Clooney in Michael Clayton (Warner Bros.)
* Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Tommy Lee Jones in In the Valley of Elah (Warner Independent)
Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises (Focus Features)

Marion Cotillard - Oscar 2008

Best actress
Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Universal)
Julie Christie in Away from Her (Lionsgate)
* Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose (Picturehouse)
Laura Linney in The Savages (Fox Searchlight)
Ellen Page in Juno (Fox Searchlight)

Best supporting actor
Casey Affleck in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Warner Bros.)
* Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
Philip Seymour Hoffman in Charlie Wilson’s War (Universal)
Hal Holbrook in Into the Wild (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment)
Tom Wilkinson in Michael Clayton (Warner Bros.)

Tilda Swinton

Best supporting actress
Cate Blanchett in I’m Not There (The Weinstein Company)
Ruby Dee in American Gangster (Universal)
Saoirse Ronan in Atonement (Focus Features)
Amy Ryan in Gone Baby Gone (Miramax)
* Tilda Swinton in Michael Clayton (Warner Bros.)

Photos: Darren Decker (Coen brothers & Rudin), Michael Yada (Bird, Swinton, Day-Lewis, Coen brothers, Gibney, Stewart, Cotillard, Ruzowitzky, podium), Greg Harbaugh (Bardem). All photos: © A.M.P.A.S.

Best adapted screenplay
Atonement (Focus Features)
Screenplay by Christopher Hampton
Away from Her (Lionsgate)
Written by Sarah Polley
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Miramax/Pathé Renn)
Screenplay by Ronald Harwood
* No Country for Old Men (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
There Will Be Blood (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson

Diablo Cody - Oscar 2008

Best original screenplay
* Juno (Fox Searchlight)
Written by Diablo Cody
Lars and the Real Girl (MGM)
Written by Nancy Oliver
Michael Clayton (Warner Bros.)
Written by Tony Gilroy
Ratatouille (Walt Disney)
Screenplay by Brad Bird; Story by Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco, Brad Bird
The Savages (Fox Searchlight)
Written by Tamara Jenkins

Robert Elswit

Best cinematography
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (Warner Bros.) Roger Deakins
Atonement (Focus Features) Seamus McGarvey
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Miramax/Pathé Renn) Janusz Kaminski
No Country for Old Men (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) Roger Deakins
* There Will Be Blood (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Robert Elswit

Christopher Rouse - Oscar 2008

Best film editing
* The Bourne Ultimatum (Universal) Christopher Rouse
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Miramax/Pathé Renn) Juliette Welfling
Into the Wild (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment) Jay Cassidy
No Country for Old Men (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) “Roderick Jaynes” (Joel and Ethan Coen)
There Will Be Blood (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Dylan Tichenor

Dario Marianelli - Oscar 2008

Best original score
* Atonement (Focus Features) Dario Marianelli
The Kite Runner (DreamWorks, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Participant Productions, Distributed by Paramount Classics) Alberto Iglesias
Michael Clayton (Warner Bros.) James Newton Howard
Ratatouille (Walt Disney) Michael Giacchino
3:10 to Yuma (Lionsgate) Marco Beltrami

Best original song
* “Falling Slowly” from Once (Fox Searchlight)
Music and Lyric by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová
“Happy Working Song” from Enchanted (Walt Disney)
Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
“Raise It Up” from August Rush (Warner Bros.)
Music and Lyric by Jamal Joseph, Charles Mack, and Tevin Thomas
“So Close” from Enchanted (Walt Disney)
Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz
“That’s How You Know” from Enchanted (Walt Disney)
Music by Alan Menken; Lyric by Stephen Schwartz

Francesca Lo Schiavo, Dante Ferretti - Oscar 2008

Best art direction
American Gangster (Universal)
Art Direction: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Beth A. Rubino
Atonement (Focus Features)
Art Direction: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
The Golden Compass (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners)
Art Direction: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
* Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Art Direction: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
There Will Be Blood (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Art Direction: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Jim Erickson

Alexandra Byrne

Best costume design
Across the Universe (Sony Pictures Releasing) Albert Wolsky
Atonement (Focus Features) Jacqueline Durran
* Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Universal) Alexandra Byrne
La Vie en Rose (Picturehouse) Marit Allen
Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount) Colleen Atwood

Photos: Darren Decker (Hansard), Michael Yada (Byrne, Cody, Roth, Lavergne, Westenhofer, Lo Schiavo, Landers, Elswit, Coen brothers & Brolin & McAvoy, Rouse, Boyle, Marianelli). All photos: © A.M.P.A.S.

Best visual effects
* The Golden Compass (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners)
Michael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (Walt Disney)
John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and John Frazier
Transformers (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro)
Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russell Earl and John Frazier

Best sound editing
* The Bourne Ultimatum (Universal)
Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg
No Country for Old Men (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
Skip Lievsay
Ratatouille (Walt Disney)
Randy Thom and Michael Silvers
There Will Be Blood (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
Matthew Wood
Transformers (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro)
Ethan Van der Ryn and Mike Hopkins

Best sound mixing
* The Bourne Ultimatum (Universal)
Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis
No Country for Old Men (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter Kurland
Ratatouille (Walt Disney)
Randy Thom, Michael Semanick and Doc Kane
3:10 to Yuma (Lionsgate)
Paul Massey, David Giammarco and Jim Stuebe
Transformers (DreamWorks and Paramount in association with Hasbro)
Kevin O’Connell, Greg P. Russell and Peter J. Devlin

Best make-up
* La Vie en Rose (Picturehouse) Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald
Norbit (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount) Rick Baker and Kazuhiro Tsuji
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (Walt Disney) Ve Neill and Martin Samuel

Best documentary short subject
* Freeheld, A Lieutenant Films Production
Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth
La Corona (The Crown), A Runaway Films and Vega Films Production
Amanda Micheli and Isabel Vega
Salim Baba, A Ropa Vieja Films and Paradox Smoke Production
Tim Sternberg and Francisco Bello
Sari’s Mother (Cinema Guild) A Daylight Factory Production
James Longley

Best animated short film
I Met the Walrus, A Kids & Explosions Production
Josh Raskin
Madame Tutli-Putli (National Film Board of Canada) A National Film Board of Canada Production
Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski
Même les pigeons vont au paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven) (Premium Films) A BUF Compagnie Production
Samuel Tourneux and Simon Vanesse
My Love (Moya Lyubov) (Channel One Russia) A Dago-Film Studio, Channel One Russia and Dentsu Tec Production
Alexander Petrov
* Peter & the Wolf (BreakThru Films) A BreakThru Films/Se-ma-for Studios Production
Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman

Philippe Pollet-Villard - Oscar 2008

Best live action short film
At Night, A Zentropa Entertainments 10 Production
Christian E. Christiansen and Louise Vesth
Il Supplente (The Substitute) (Sky Cinema Italia) A Frame by Frame Italia Production
Andrea Jublin
* Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets) (Premium Films) A Karé Production
Philippe Pollet-Villard
Tanghi Argentini (Premium Films) An Another Dimension of an Idea Production
Guido Thys and Anja Daelemans
The Tonto Woman, A Knucklehead, Little Mo and Rose Hackney Barber Production
Daniel Barber and Matthew Brown

Honorary Award: Robert Boyle

David A. Grafton - Oscar 2008

Gordon E. Sawyer Award: David A. Grafton

Medal of Commendation: David Inglish

Academy Award of Merit:
Eastman Kodak
For the development of photographic emulsion technologies incorporated into the Kodak Vision2 family of color negative films.

Scientific and Engineering Award:
Nick Rasmussen; Ronald Fedkiw; Frank Losasso Petterson
For the development of the Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) fluid simulation system.
Doug Roble; Nafees Bin Zafar; Ryo Sakaguchi
For the development of the fluid simulation system at Digital Domain.

Technical Achievement Award:
Duncan Brinsmead; Jos Stam; Julia Pakalns; Martin Werner
For the design and implementation of the Maya Fluid Effects system.
Jonathan Cohen (XI); Jerry Tessendorf; Jeroen Molemaker; Michael Kowalski (VIII)
For the development of the system of fluid dynamics tools at Rhythm & Hues.
Sebastian Cramer (III); Andreas Dasser (P&S Technik GmbH)
For the invention and general design (Cramer) and for the mechanical design (Dasser, head of development at P&S Technik GmbH) of the Skater Dolly and its family of products.
Victor Gonzalez (XV); Ignacio Vargas; Angel Tena
For the creation of the RealFlow software application.
Jörg Pöhler (OTTEC Technology GmbH); Rüdiger Kleinke (OTTEC Technology GmbH)
For the design and development of the battery-operated series of fog machines known as “Tiny Foggers”.
Christien Tinsley
For the creation of the transfer techniques for creating and applying 2D and 3D make-up known as “Tinsley Transfers”.
Stephan Trojansky; Thomas Ganshorn; Oliver Pilarski
For the development of the Flowline fluid effects system.

Photos: Darren Decker (Pollet-Villard), Michael Yada (Byrne, Cody, Roth, Lavergne, Westenhofer, Landers, Welchman), Matt Petit (Francis, Grafton), Richard Harbaugh (Cotillard & Whitaker). All photos: © A.M.P.A.S.

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Marcus Tucker -

John Stewart was witty and clever and will no doubt be asked back to host in the future. Personally I thought Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, and Chris Rock weren’t really all that great hosting the show. Whoopi was much too tart and honest.

Amy Adams is definately going places, while modern a nice throw back to the girls way back when. Her role in Enchanted really should have merited a nomination but I think it did something more for her than a win would have; I think that movie may have given her that touch of immortality that everyone who was in THE WIZARD OF OZ, has been granted with. It was funny that she as charming in that little black dress as she was in the ridiculous and perhaps as you would say “Gil Adrian wedding cake dress.”

I am glad Marion won, perhaps more actresses like her (foreign and not from english speaking countries) will be recognized. And it was just plain nice to see someone so very happy to win, the evening was much too full of cool and rehearsed speeches.

I think Tilda won because the vote split between Cate and Ruby, (personally I’m just glad someone slapped Denzel Washington onscreen). Amy Ryan and the little girl from Atonment just weren’t well enough known, but they will be moreso because of the nominations.

This year was just plain lacking in variety as far the big nominations but the actresses were more glamorous than they have been in years. But I expected to see more faces from years past given that it was the 80th anniversary. All they could dig up were Faye Dunaway and Jack.

Andre -

I, like everybody else, was expecting Javier Bardem.
My fault.
I should have put a smiling face or something next to my statement. It was a joke.
Will rectify that problem right now.
Thank you for writing.

Mark -

You thought that Javier Bardem’s win was a surprise? He has won virtually every honor since the season began for his haunting portrayal of Anton Chighur, and this (along with Daniel Day-Lewis) was one of the awards that I thought everyone had already written off as a shoe-in. Who were you expecting?


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