‘No Country’ wins top Oscars
HOLLYWOOD — No Country for Old Men had a great, if not a killer, night at the 80th annual Academy Awards.
The dark tale of a serial killer on the trail of a looted fortune won three of the “big six” Oscars and four overall, including best picture. But No Country lost in four technical categories, a sign that there is no longer any evidence of the across-the-board voting that helped set most-Oscar records for films such as Titanic.
The brother team of Joel and Ethan Coen won three of No Country’s Oscars — for best picture, director and adapted screenplay.
Javier Bardem picked up the movie’s fourth Oscar, in the supporting-actor category, for portraying a particularly brutal serial killer.
During his acceptance speech, the Spaniard — directing his comments toward his mother in the audience — told her in Spanish that this Oscar will help “to recover the dignity of actors… and it’s for our pride.”
The Coens went into the evening hoping to make Academy Awards history by winning all four categories in which they were nominated. But when The Bourne Ultimatum won for film editing, that dream died. Only legendary animator Walt
Disney has ever won four Oscars in the same year, albeit not for the same movie.
No Country lost in three other technical categories, one to There Will Be Blood in cinematography, and two more to The Bourne Ultimatum, in sound editing and sound mixing. The latter meant that Kevin O’Connell’s incredible Oscar losing streak was extended to 0-for-20. The 50-year-old sound mixer extended his record for the most Academy Award nominations without a win; he was up for Transformers.
In winning for adapted screenplay, the Coens defeated Canadian Sarah Polley, 29, who was nominated for her celebrated feature-film directorial debut, Away From Her. Polley adapted her screenplay from Alice Munro’s short story.
No Country for Old Men won the best-picture Oscar over the oil epic There Will Be Blood, the Second World War drama Atonement, the corporate drama Michael Clayton and the popular made-in-Canada comedy Juno, starring Canadian Ellen Page.
The Bourne Ultimatum won three Oscars, albeit in technical categories. There Will Be Blood and La Vie en Rose were the only other multiple winners, with two apiece.
As expected, Daniel Day-Lewis won as best actor for There Will Be Blood. There were huge upsets in the actress categories, though.
French actress Marion Cotillard beat huge favourite Away From Her’s Julie Christie for the best-actress Oscar. In her broken Engish, a clearly rattled Cotillard on stage thanked “life” and “love” for her victory. Page of Halifax, who just turned 21, was up for best actress for her turn as the pregnant teen in Juno.
Cotillard was beguilling backstage, entertaining the press with an a capella excerpt from one of Edith Piaf’s songs, and she charmed everyone with her unbridled joy.
“I’m totally overwhelmed with joy and sparkles and fireworks, and everything that goes boom, boom, boom,” she said. “It’s all going off in here.”
In another big surprise, Tilda Swinton won the supporting-actress Oscar for Michael Clayton. Cate Blanchett’s turn as folk-era Bob Dylan in I’m Not There and 83-year-old Ruby Dee, for American Gangster, were seen to be the favourites in that category. Blanchett also lost in the best-actress category for her work in Elizabeth: The Golden Age.
Backstage, Swinton said she was completely shocked.
“I thought Ruby Dee would win and then, frankly, anybody but me,” Swinton told reporters.
She did not react to her name being announced as winner, she admitted.
“I had a reverse Zoolander moment when I thought I heard someone else’s name. Then I slowwwwly heard my own.”
Other Canadians were up for Oscars at the Kodak Theater.
Two Canadian filmmakers lost in the animated-shorts category. Josh Rankin’s I Met the Walrus and Chris Lavis and Maciek Szcerbowski’s Madame Tutli-Putli failed to gain more academy votes than Peter & the Wolf.
Also for Juno, Montreal-born Jason Reitman, himself only 30, was up for best director but lost to the Coens.
Outside the Kodak Theater, it had been raining sporadically all day — with breaks of sunshine only to be dashed by the next shower. The rain did not wash out the red carpet festivities, however.
The telecast was only three hours, 18 minutes — the second shortest this decade.
‘No Country’ wins top Oscars