Academy makes it Eastwood's year as 'Million Dollar Baby' sees off Scorsese

When the Oscars are losing confidence in themselves, who better to turn to than Clint Eastwood to make their day?

When the Oscars are losing confidence in themselves, who better to turn to than Clint Eastwood to make their day?

In a year when the stars seemed to be shining a little less brightly and the dirge-like ritual of dishing out statuettes actually put the escort of one lower-order nominee to sleep, Eastwood's downbeat boxing movie Million Dollar Baby was chosen to do the face-saving honours, picking up four of the top awards including best picture, best director, best actress (Hilary Swank) and best supporting actor (Morgan Freeman).

The night was a disappointment for Martin Scorsese, a bundle of nerves as he waited to find out if the Academy would recognise him at last for The Aviator (it didn't), and for some exceptionally fine performers (Don Cheadle, Kate Winslet, Imelda Staunton, among others) who had the bad luck to be nominated in a year when the buzz was elsewhere. Cheadle, who acted his heart out in Hotel Rwanda, lost out for best actor to Jamie Foxx doing his uncannily accurate turn as Ray Charles in the biopic Ray.

It was a night of few surprises and even less spontaneity, as the lords of the Oscar telecast - terrified by tumbling ratings and a crescendo of anti-Hollywood jibes from grassroots Republicans - moved proceedings at a military clip and forced award winners to stare at a giant clock counting down from 30 seconds as they delivered their acceptance speeches.

A few rebelled against the strictures, with some success. Robin Williams, whose original plan for a musical number making fun of the right-wing attacks on Hollywood was censored, appeared on stage at the Kodak Theatre with a large plaster taped across his mouth. Andrea Arnold, the Oscar-winning British director of the short film Wasp, responded magnificently to being confined to the auditorium (as were all the second-tier winners) by calling her win "the dog's bollocks".

The self-appointed guardians of America's public decency might have taken offence, or even bleeped her out - the broadcast was on a time-delay to stomp on any unexpected unpleasantness - but bollocks is not a term commonly found in American English, and she got away with it. No other acceptance was half as much fun - not least because most of them had already been delivered at the Golden Globes.

The MC holding the whole show together, the comedian Chris Rock, did his best to put a little edge into the proceedings, making fun of the fact that none of the five films nominated for best picture had been seen by a mass audience (he polled cinema-goers in an African American neighbourhood of Los Angeles, and discovered they were all rooting for a film called White Chicks instead), and even lampooning the new, caste-conscious idea of keeping the lesser winners off stage. "Next year they're going to hand out Oscars in the parking lot," he quipped.

Rock also got dangerously personal, making such relentless fun of the ubiquitous Jude Law that Sean Penn later felt obliged to stand up for him in an impromptu riff from the stage calling him "one of our finest working actors".

The event made for the usual vignettes of Oscar excess and absurdity: Clint Eastwood getting kissed on the mouth by Julia Roberts and Barbra Streisand, an unbelievably hammy Antonio Banderas singing the Oscar-winning song from The Motorcycle Diaries like he was auditioning for an after-shave commercial directed by Julio Iglesias, someone associated with the short film Two Cars, One Night caught on camera snoozing, and Robert De Niro, once Scorsese's favourite leading man, underscoring the diminished times by appearing during one of the breaks in a commercial for American Express charge cards.

The complete list of winners at the 77th annual Academy Awards:

Picture: Million Dollar Baby.

Actor: Jamie Foxx, Ray.

Actress: Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby.

Supporting Actor: Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby.

Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett, The Aviator.

Director: Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby.

Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Sideways.

Original Screenplay: Charlie Kaufman, Michel Gondry and Pierre Bismuth, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Art Direction: The Aviator.

Cinematography: The Aviator.

Film Editing: The Aviator.

Visual Effects: Spider-Man 2.

Sound Mixing: Ray.

Sound Editing: The Incredibles.

Original Score: Finding Neverland.

Original Song: Al Otro Lado Del Rio from The Motorcycle Diaries.

Costume: The Aviator.

Makeup: Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Foreign Film: The Sea Inside (Spain).

Animated Feature: The Incredibles.

Animated Short: Ryan.

Documentary Feature: Born Into Brothels.

Documentary Short: Mighty Times: The Children's March.

Live Action Short: Wasp.

Oscar winners previously announced this year:

Honorary Academy Award: Sidney Lumet.

Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award: Roger Mayer.

Gordon E. Sawyer Award (technical achievement): Takuo Miyagishima.

Scientific and Technical Oscars: Horst Burbulla, Jean-Marie Lavalou, Alain Masseron and David Samuelson.



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Eccleston (centre) plays an ex-policeman in this cliché-riddled thriller

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

TV This TV review contains spoilers
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Wiz Khalifa performs on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park in Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury

music

Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas

film

Arts and Entertainment

music

Arts and Entertainment
A shot from the forthcoming Fast and Furious 7

film

Arts and Entertainment
The new-look Top of the Pops could see Fearne Cotton returns as a host alongside Dermot O'Leary

TV

Arts and Entertainment
The leader of the Church of Scientology David Miscavige

TV

Arts and Entertainment
No half measures: ‘The Secret Life of the Pub’

Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
    Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

    Confessions of a former PR man

    The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

    Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

    Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
    London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

    The mother of all goodbyes

    Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
    Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

    Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

    The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
    Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions