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.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway in dense fog
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
The Great Comic Relief Bake Off, TV review: Alexa Chung impresses, but Chris Moyles makes Paul Hollywood gag
Drugs Live: Twitter responds to Jon Snow and Jennie Bond smoking cannabis
Seth Rogan's pot fumes delay hacked Sony boss’s office move
India's Daughter: BBC Four documentary provokes outrage on Twitter
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin