Oscar night mixes predicted results with big surprises

Jason Korsner reporting from Los Angeles. Photos available at http://www.ukscreen.com/gallery.htm?user=jkinla
One of the most highly regarded film directors in modern cinema has finally joined the top echelon of the film industry – Martin Scorsese picked up the Best Director Oscar at this year’s ceremony at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. His film, The Departed, also picked up the Best Picture award, as well as Oscars for adapted screenplay (from the Hong Kong police thriller Infernal Affairs) and editing.
The film’s best supporting actor nominee, Mark Wahlberg, lost out to Alan Arkin, from Little Miss Sunshine. The unfortunate timing of the telecast meant that in the very next item, the losing actor was used as a foil for one of the host Ellen DeGeneres’s jokes.
The favourite in the supporting actor category had been Eddie Murphy, but his female counterpart had more luck. Simon Cowell might now be reassessing his criticism of the American Idol reject Jennifer Hudson, whose performance in Dreamgirls earned her one of those coveted golden statuettes.
The Oscars for the leading performances were rather more predictable. With a regal theme running through this part of the proceedings, Forest Whitaker was voted the best leading actor for his role in The Last King of Scotland, while Dame Helen Mirren won for her interpretation of Queen Elizabeth the Second, only months after winning a series of awards for playing Queen Elizabeth the First.
The highly acclaimed Pan’s Labyrinth missed out on the Foreign Language Oscar to the German film, The Lives of Others, but it picked up a number of the technical awards, including cinematography, art direction and make-up.
The former US Vice President was given another opportunity to push his environmentally friendly message, as the film he presented, An Inconvenient Truth, collected the Oscar for the best documentary feature.
The short films are often overlooked, but anything that blends the Middle East conflict with a spoof of West Side Story is sure to stick in your mind for a while. The Academy honoured Ari Sandel’s West Bank Story with the Oscar for the best live action short. The animated short was more of a suprise, going to Torill Kove’s hand-drawn The Danish Poet – a rarity in these days of CGI.
Here is the full list of this year’s winners:
Best Picture: The Departed
Best Director: Martin Scorsese for The Departed
Best Leading Actor: Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland
Best Leading Actress: Helen Mirren for The Queen
Best Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin for Little Miss Sunshine
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls
Best Original Screenplay: Little Miss Sunshine by Michael Arndt
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Departed by William Monahan
Best Cinematography: Pan’s Labyrinth
Best Editing: The Departed
Best Sound: Dreamgirls
Best Sound Editing: Letters from Iwo Jima
Best Visual Effects: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
Best Make-up: Pan’s Labyrinth
Best Art Direction: Pan’s Labyrinth
Best Costume Design: Marie Antoinette
Best Original Score: Babel
Best Original Song: “I need to wake up” by Melissa Etheridge, from An Inconvenient Truth
Best Animated Feature: Happy Feet
Best Animated Short: The Danish Poet by Torill Kove
Best Live Action Short: West Bank Story by Ari Sandel
Best Documentary Short: The Blood of Yingzhou District
Best Documentary Feature: A Inconvenient Truth
Best Foreign Language Film: The Lives of Others, from Germany

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