Barbara Walters marks lifetime achievement of red-carpet chats

Grande dame of Oscars night curtain-raiser bows out after three decades

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 and Entertainment
Chloe-Jasmine Whicello impressed the judges and the audience at Wembley Arena with a sultry performance
TVReview: Who'd have known Simon was such a Roger Rabbit fan?
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams plays 'bad ass' Arya Stark in Game of Thrones

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
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.

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments