The 79th Annual Academy Awards ceremony was aired last Sunday (Feb. 25). Sis and I kept watching the time and drove home as fast as we could from a party just to catch the Barbara Walters Special and the red carpet show. It is an annual party for Hollywood. It is a party for movie-lovers like us, too. The differences are we don’t play dress up, and we don’t get the incredibly valuable gift package.
This year, I knew most about the nominees, but I still didn’t feel the excitement as I usually do. Perhaps I thought the winners were written in stone after so many awards had been handed out during the award season, and some actors collected almost everything along the way. Yet, there were a few surprises. Here are the winners of major catergories:
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role – Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role – Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role – Forest Whitaker The Last King of Scotland)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role – Helen Mirren (The Queen)
Best Achievement in Directing – Martin Scorsese (The Departed)
Best Motion Picture of the Year – The Departed
Alan Arkin’s win was a big surprise, as Eddie Murphy had won many awards for his role in Dreamgirls heading into the Oscars and was expected to win his first Academy Award. He was reported to leave right after this category was over, starting critisim that he was a sore loser. However, he replied that he was planning to leave regardless of the result to spend the night with his family. On the other hand, Jennifer Hudson won the Best Surrporting Actress award just as expected. I have to say the role in Dreamgirls was just right for a great singer like her, but one has to wonder whether she can have long-term success as an actress.
Helen Mirren was the absolute shoe-in of the night. In fact, critics made prediction by saying that the other nominees could stay home if they wanted to, because they were not going to walk on the stage that night. Graceful as always, Mirren accepted her award and looked like a queen. And Jack Black was not kidding when he sang that Helen Mirren was hot! I don’t know if she’s had anything done, but if every star could age like that, Hollywood wouldn’t be filled with scary products of platic surgery. Forest Whitaker took home the Best Leading Actor award. I’m sure he deserved it, because he was brilliant in The Last King of Scotland. But everyone can’t help but feel bad for Peter O’Toole. He’s been nominated more times than Martin Scorses, for God’s sake. I know the Oscar does not really mean anything, as many great actors and films never win the awards they should have, but what does one has to do to bring home the golden man?!
Speaking of Martin Scorsese, he finally got his long overdue Best Director award. And The Departed was crowned the Best Picture of the year. Honestly, I doubt that The Departed was his best work, but he is regarded as one of the best directors of all times. And he cracked me up when he said, "Could you double-check the envelope, please?" He seemed so humble for a man of his stature. So way to go, Mr. Scorsese!
Other delightful moments of the night for me include:
- Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt’s interaction with Meryl Streep while they were handing out the Best Costume Design. Anne and Emily were cute. Meryl Streep was a riot! Sis and I both agree that we are willing to give her an award just to hear her speech. Not many actresses can be brilliant in dramatic roles AND be funny. Anyone who can make you love her as an evil boss has got to be magnificent.
- The musical act of comdedians starring Will Ferrel, Jack Black and John C. Reilly. The theme of comedians’ having to take on dramatic roles to win awards was right on the money. And the three of them were just genuinely funny. Is it weird that I like Jack Black for his singing? I love The School of Rock, by the way.
- Ellen DeGeneres. Okay, the opening monologue was cold. I actually felt her nervousness and worried for her when the scattered laghters came on. But when she was back to her casual self, mingling in the audience, she did what she said she was going to do — make everyone relax. The bit with Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg was hilarious. After watching her interview with Barbara Walters made me respect her even more. Not everyone can go through a tough life and still be grateful. Being positive, a life-long lesson I have to learn.
For a complete list of nominees and winners and related discussion, see Road to the Oscars 07.