Daniel Day-Lewis, 'Old Men' Dominate 80th Academy Awards
'No Country For Old Men' was the big winner at the 80th Annual Academy Awards Sunday night, gunning down tough competitors 'There Will Be Blood,' 'Atonement,' 'Michael Clayton' and 'Juno.'
The gritty neo-noir Western dominated the night, winning Best Picture of the Year and Best Supporting Actor (JAVIER BARDEM) kudos, and earning statuettes for producer-writer-director team JOEL and ETHAN COEN for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay (based on the CORMAC McCARTHY novel). While Ethan remained mostly mum every time he had mic time, Joel did the talking and quipped, "I think whatever success we've had in this area has been entirely attributable to how selective we are; we've only adapted Homer and Cormac McCarthy." And after winning Best Director, he thanked the Academy for "letting us continue to play in our corner of the sandbox."
Acting powerhouse DANIEL DAY-LEWIS won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance as a conflicted oil man in 'There Will Be Blood,' his second award after 'My Left Foot.' He bested tough competition in GEORGE CLOONEY, JOHNNY DEPP, TOMMY LEE JONES and VIGGO MORTENSEN. "My deepest thanks to the members of the Academy for whacking me with the handsomest bludgeon in town," he said eloquently, noting, "This [award] sprang like a golden sapling out of the mad, beautiful head of [director] PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON."
An excited MARION COTILLARD earned Best Actress over the doubly nominated CATE BLANCHETT, JULIE CHRISTIE, LAURA LINNEY and ELLEN PAGE for her performance as singer EDITH PIAF in 'La Vie En Rose.'
In picking up the Best Supporting Actor trophy for his memorable role as a menacing killer in 'No Country,' Bardem said, "It's a great honor for me to have this," doing his best to dodge the "wrap-it-up" music by talking faster and thanking the Coen Bros. for putting "one of the most horrible haircuts in history over my head." He beat out PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN, HAL HOLBROOK, CASEY AFFLECK and TOM WILKINSON.
In the Best Supporting Actress category, a genuinely shocked TILDA SWINTON triumphed over RUBY DEE, SAOIRSE RONAN, AMY RYAN and Blanchett for her role as a ruthless attorney in 'Michael Clayton' -- her first nomination and win. Dedicating her score to her American agent, "who is the spitting image of this [statuette]," she roasted co-star Clooney, saying, "Seeing you climb into that rubber bat suit from 'Batman & Robin' -- the one with the nipples -- every morning [in] your costume, on the set, off the set, hanging upside-down at lunch, you rock, man."
Hollywood's overnight success story DIABLO CODY hit it out of the park with her first-ever script, picking up the Best Original Screenplay trophy for her subversive take on teen-pregnancy, 'Juno.' "This is for the writers," she said, ultimately breaking down into tears. "I especially want to thank my fellow nominees because I worship you guys and I'm learning from you every day."
Other wins of the night were quite evenly distributed among the nominees: 'There Will Be Blood' struck gold with the statuette for Best Cinematography; 'Elizabeth: The Golden Age' won for Best Costume Design; Best Original Score went to 'Atonement'; 'Sweeney Todd' earned Best Art Direction; 'La Vie En Rose' was singled out for Best Achievement in Makeup; "Falling Slowly" from 'Once' was named Best Original Song; CGI-animated polar bears helped 'The Golden Compass' nab Best Visual Effects; 'The Bourne Ultimatum' scored a hat trick with Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing; focusing on America's torture practices abroad, 'Taxi to the Dark Side' won Best Documentary Feature; the Austrian concentration camp drama 'The Counterfeiters' was named Best Foreign Film; and, not surprisingly, the whimsical Disney/Pixar flick 'Ratatouille' won Best Animated Feature over the penguins and Persians of 'Surf's Up' and 'Persepolis.'
Host JON STEWART kept the typically lengthy proceedings light and relatively zippy, cracking wise in his opening monologue about the Writers' Strike ("These past three-and-a-half months have been very rough; the fight is over, so tonight, welcome to the make-up sex."), politics ("Oscar is 80 this year, which automatically makes him the front-runner for the republican nomination.") and fashion (on Javier Bardem's character in 'No Country': "Hannibal Lecter's murderousness with DOROTHY HAMILL's wedge cut.").
Those entertainers and filmmakers who passed on this year were honored in memoriam, including directors INGMAR BERGMAN and MICHELANGELO ANTONIONI, MPAA chief JACK VALENTI, actors SUZANNE PLESHETTE, JANE WYMAN, ROSCOE LEE BROWNE, LOIS MAXWELL, DEBORAH KERR, and, most recently, HEATH LEDGER.
And representing the height of fashion, star presenters taking the stage included JACK NICHOLSON, HARRISON FORD, TOM HANKS, HILARY SWANK, HELEN MIRREN, FOREST WHITAKER, RENÉE ZELLWEGER, JOHN TRAVOLTA, CAMERON DIAZ, OWEN WILSON, JENNIFER HUDSON, JENNIFER GARNER, MILEY CYRUS, PENELOPE CRUZ, SETH ROGAN, ANNE HATHAWAY, STEVE CARELL, KATHERINE HEIGL, along with pregnant beauties NICOLE KIDMAN, JESSICA ALBA and Cate Blanchett.
Posted February 25, 2008 2:02:00 AM