Barbara Walters marks lifetime achievement of red-carpet chats
Grande dame of Oscars night curtain-raiser bows out after three decades
Monday 08 March 2010
The first tears of Oscar night were shed while the biggest names in Hollywood were still tripping down a crowded red carpet yesterday evening, as nominees Sandra Bullock and Mo'Nique helped say goodbye to one of the event's biggest stars.
Barbara Walters, the grande dame of American broadcasting and a fixture at the Academy Awards now for almost three decades, bade an emotional farewell to viewers, confirming that the televised curtain-raiser she hosted before this year's event would be her last.
For 29 years, the 80-year-old presenter's interviews with leading nominees, and other Hollywood figures, have been aired immediately before the big event. They are now considered as much a part of Oscar tradition as laughing at the excesses of pretentious celebrities, or taking part in an office sweepstake.
But these days, Walters has decided, "there are so many entertainment programs and the stars are on almost everything," that she's decided to call it quits.
It's increasingly difficult to find new questions for a star, she says, "when they've already done 20 programmes."
The final "Barbara Walters Oscar Special" featured interviews with Bullock and Mo'Nique, both heavy favourites to win Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress at the awards ceremony, which began in the early hours of this morning, after The Independent had gone to print. Bullock earlier completed the first half of what would be an historic double on Saturday night, picking up a Razzie Award for the dubious distinction of being 2009's "worst actress". She turned-up in person to pick up the gong, for All About Steve, thanking judges for "ruining my career with a very bad decision".
The final Walters show also featured a nostalgic round-up of the 93 celebrity interviews that have featured on the ABC programme over the years, including her rare audience with Bette Davis, two years before the screen heroine's death, and one with Oprah Winfrey, who sparked ridicule by declaring that she was "born for greatness."
The farewell added to the sense of history about last night's 82nd Academy Awards, which were presented by Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin and were widely expected to bring viewers a selection of groundbreaking "firsts". Kathryn Bigelow arrived at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood as a long odds-on favourite to become the first-ever female winner of the Best Director award.
Her former husband, James Cameron, was also up for the title, and was hoping his blockbuster, Avatar, could beat out Bigelow's Iraq war film, The Hurt Locker, for the Best Picture title. It would be the first-ever science fiction film to win the night's star prize.
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
ReviewThese heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after treatment by British doctors on brink of 'cure'
James Blunt finally admits the truth: 'You're Beautiful' is annoying
Downton Abbey review series 5, episode 5: Period drama falls disappointingly flat
Star Wars Episode 7 has almost finished filming
Fury, film review: Brad Pitt is intriguing as unsympathetic war hero
Batman v Superman: Side-kick Robin to be 'woman played by Jena Malone'
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
Worst Airports of 2014: Poll names Islamabad airport in Pakistan worst in the world