“No Country for Old Man” picked up the Oscar for Best Picture at the 80th Academy Awards ceremony, held at the Kodak Center in Los Angeles, California, on Sunday, February 24th. In addition to Best Picture, the story of psychopathic killer Anton Chagar (Javier Bardem), with able assists from Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin, garnered a Best Supporting Actor statuette for Javier Bardem, the first Spaniard to be nominated for Best Actor. The Best Director Ocar went to Coen Brothers Joel and Ethan (“Fargo,” “The Big Lebowsky”) for “No Country for Old Men” and the film also picked up the best adapted screenplay Oscar, to lead with 4 wins as the night’s biggest winner.
For quite some time early in the evening, Matt Damon’s film “The Bourne Ultimatum” was the leader of the pack, with 3 Oscars in more minor categories (Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing), but it was ultimately (pun intended) eclipsed by “No Country’s” brutal tale of murder and money in the desert.
Two awards apiece were given to “There Will Be Blood,” one of them the big one of Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis (“My Left Foot). The intense actor has been nominated four times and has won twice. “There Will Be Blood,” a tale of oil drilling, greed and violence, also won for Best Cinematography, for Robert Elswit.
Another film that garnered two Oscars was “La Vie en Rose,” which won the Best Actress award for Marion Cotillard, portraying French chanteuse Edith Piaf. “La Vie en Rose” also won the Oscar for Best Make-up. Cotillard’s win was an upset over the favorite, Julie Christie for “Away from Her.” Cotillard seemed overcome with emotion as she thanked the audience, saying, “There is angels in this city” (Los Angeles).
Best Supporting Actress was Tilda Swinton, who won for her role in “Michael Clayton,” which was largely shut out after earning among the most nominations (along with “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood”).
Other winners were:
Documentary Feature “Taxi to the Dark Side,” about the war-time death of a cab driver.
Documentary Short “Freeheld,” which dealt with a gay couple’s rights to inherit when one dies.
Animated Feature winner was the crowd favorite “Ratatouille.”
Best Foreign Language Film was “The Counterfeiters” from Austria.
Best Original Screenplay winner was Diablo Cody for “Juno,” her first script.
Best Visual Effects winner went to “The Golden Compass.”
Best Animated Short Film went to “Peter & the Wolf.”
Best Live Action Short Film went to “Le Mozart des Pickpockets” (“The Mozart of Pickpockets”).
Best Art Direction award went to “Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” another film that was largely shut out after securing multiple nominations.
Best Costume Design went to “Elizabeth: the Golden Age,” which was one of the areas where “Sweeney Todd,” along with “Atonement” had been favored. “Atonement” did, however, win in the area of Best Original Score for Dario Marianelli.
Best Original Song went to “Once” from “Falling Slowly,” but the entire music category had been criticized prior to the night’s ceremony for failing to represent contemporary music when both Eddie Vedder (“Pearl Jam”) for “Into the Wild” and Radiohead’s lead guitarist Jonny Greenwood (the score for “There Will Be Blood”) were not recognized for their work, nor was the music from “Juno,” which has been among the best-selling CD’s nationwide since the film’s release.
Host Jon Stewart performed host ceremonies with some occasional zingers, after announcing, “This is it, this is it, this is the big one,” as the ceremony kicked off at 7:30 p.m. CDT.
Commenting on the violent subject matter of “There Will Be Blood,” “Atonement,” “No Country for Old Men,” and “Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” Stewart said, “Thank God for teen pregnancy,” a reference to the final nominated film, “Juno.” Stewart also got in a good zinger when, in commenting on the make-up nomination for “Norbit,” he said, “Too often the Academy ignores movies that weren’t any good.” He compared Javier Bardem’s hairstyle in “No Country for Old Men” to a combination of the horribleness of Hannibel Lecter with Dorothy Hamill’s wedge haircut.
Fashion notes: the gorgeous gowns were back, with most of the crowd (especially the nominees) looking very “Hollywood.” I had problems with the outfit that Rebecca Miller (Daniel Day Lewis’ partner and Arthur Miller’s daughter) selected, a black dress with red bows on the shoulders and large big fake medallions, a truly hideous combination. However, to give equal time to her escort’s strange attire, wearing two gold loop earrings was probably an equivalent fashion “faux pas.” The opinion expressed here is strictly my own and does not reflect Mr. Blackwell’s Worst Dressed List…although it eventually may.
On the gorgeous side, Cameron Diaz shone in a pale pink number and Penelope Cruz looked equally lovely in a black dress. The female interviewer on the red carpet, herself, had on one of the most satisfactory gowns of the evening, with a fetching shoulder strap treatment