February 25th 2007 brought the 79th Annual Academy Award, which came and went like this past year in movies: hardly anything shocking or exciting, with few little surprises in a night accented by a plethora of long winded thank you speeches.
Host Ellen DeGeneres in a velvet tuxedo, made sure not to offend anyone with her polite jokes. Soon after, Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig took to the stage to present the night’s first Oscar to Eugenio Caballero and Pilar Revuelta for Best Art Direction in “Pan’s Labyrinth.” “Pan’s Labyrinth’s” David Marti and Montse Ribe also won an Academy Award for Best Make -Up and an Oscar for Best Cinematography also went to the film’s Guillermo Navarro.
Oscar winner for Best Live Short was Ari Sandel’s “West Banks Story” and “Letters from Iwo Jima” beat out “Apocalypto,” “Blood Diamond,” and “Flags of Our Fathers” for Best Sound Editing – the Academy Award going to Alan Robert Murray whose father was an Iwo Jima survivor. Michael Minkler, Bob Beemer and Willie Burton won the Best Sound Mixing Oscar for the film “Dreamgirls.” One bolt from the blue came when the Supporting Actor Oscar went to Alan Arin for “Little Miss Sunshine.” Many people predicted the Academy Award would go to Eddie Murphy for his performance in “Dreamgirls.” This speculation aroused because Eddie Murphy won best Supporting Actor for both the Actors Guild Award and Golden Globe Award. The “little” film also took away an Original Screenplay Oscar which went to writer Michael Arndt. The Best Animated Feature Film Oscar went to “Happy Feet” over “Cars” and “Monster House.”
Tom Hanks and Helen Mirren presented the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar to “The Departed’s” William Monahan. In no astonishment, the Best Visual Effect Oscar went to “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest’s” John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and Allen Hall. Best Documentary Feature Academy Award went to Davis Guggenheim’s “An Inconvenient Truth” a film widely publicized by the former Vice President, Al Gore. Soundtrack for the film “I Need to Wake Up” was won the Academy Award for Best Original Song written and sang by Melissa Etheridge. Germany’s “The Lives of Others” received the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film; movie director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck accepted the award.
In a tear filled speech, Jennifer Hudson collected the coveted Best Supporting Actress Academy Award. Others in that category were: Adriana Barraza, “Babel”; Cate Blanchett, “Notes on a Scandal” Abigail Breslin, “Little Miss Sunshine” and Rinko Kikuchi, “Babel.” “The Blood of Yingzhou District” got the Academy Award for best Documentary Short Subject. The Academy Award for Best Original Score went to “Babel’s” Gustavo Santaolalla. Best Film Editing went to Thelma Schoonmaker for “The Departed.” “Babel,” “Blood Diamond,” “Children of Men,” and “United 93” was nominated in the same category.
Up for the Best Actress Academy Award were: Penelope Cruz, “Volver”, Judi Dench, “Notes on a Scandal”, Helen Mirren, “The Queen”, Meryl Streep, “The Devil Wears Prada,” and Kate Winslet, “Little Children.” However British actress Helen Mirren took the winning Oscar with no amazement. Forest Whitaker who was expected to come away with the Best Actor Academy Award for his role in “Last King of Scotland” did just that, giving an inspirational acceptance speech. Other actors up for the Academy Award were: Leonardo DiCaprio, “Blood Diamond”; Ryan Gosling, “Half Nelson”, Peter O’Toole, “Venus,” and Will Smith, “The Pursuit of Happyness.” This officially makes Peter O’Toole the actor with the most nominations without winning. Martin Scorsese finally won the Oscar in the Best Director Department for “The Departed” after being nominated seven times. “Could you double check the envelope?” He joked. The night’s final Academy Award – Best Picture went to “The Departed” as well. The Oscar was accepted by producer Graham Kings.
That wrapped of the 79th Annual Academy Award, an evening neatly packaged with pleasant performances, pleasant jokes and little wonderment.