Martin Scorsese was finally honoured by the Hollywood establishment at last night’s Oscars, ending a run of five failed nominations. Elsewhere the acting crowns went to Helen Mirren for The Queen and Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland.
Mirren, as predicted, was named best actress for her role as Elizabeth II, while Whitaker won best actor for his portayal of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. But in the ceremony’s closing minutes Martin Scorsese swept all before him. It was the moment when Hollywood at last threw open its doors to the talented upstart from New York, a director who is widely regarded as the most influential film-maker of his generation.
For good measure, Scorsese’s gangster epic The Departed also picked up the all-important best picture Oscar. The film finished the night with four awards in total, one ahead of the Spanish-language fantasy Pan’s Labyrinth. Dreamgirls, Little Miss Sunshine and the documentary An Inconvenient Truth all came away with two awards apiece.
In a ceremony that stuck close to the bookies’ predictions, there were few major surprises. Eddie Murphy entered the Kodak theatre as the slight favourite to win the best supporting actor Oscar for his turn in Dreamgirls. In the event he lost out to the veteran actor Alan Arkin, who won for his spry turn as a disreputable grandfather in the indie comedy Little Miss Sunshine.
Former American Idol contestant Jennifer Hudson was named best supporting actress for Dreamgirls. “Look what God can do,” she gushed on receiving her statuette.
Pan’s Labyrinth was an early front-runner at last night’s awards but conspicuously lost out to the German political thriller The Lives of Others in the hunt for the best foreign film Oscar. The acclaimed eco-film An Inconvenient Truth was named best documentary feature.
Prior to the ceremony there had been rumours that the film’s star, Al Gore, would use the Oscars as a platform to declare his bid for the 2008 presidential elections. However, Gore opted to play his big moment for laughs, jokingly claiming that he was about to make a major announcement before allowing himself to be ushered off stage after overrunning his alloted time-slot.
“I was just drinking backstage with Jack Nicholson and Al Gore,” George Clooney quipped a few minutes later. “I don’t think he’s running for president.”