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No Country for Old Men held on to its chalk position, with an evening-leading four awards, including Best Picture as well as Director and Screenwriter for the enigmatic Coens, who resembled Penn & Teller on-stage, with older brother Joel doing most of the talking and Ethan playing deadpan.
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Acting Awards Have International Flavor, as Coens Movie Leads the Charge
Last night’s 80th Academy Awards telecast had a world beat, as all four acting winners were foreigners, though it was a group of midwesterners, including No Country for Old Men’s Joel and Ethan Coen, as well as Juno’s Diablo Cody, who took home the evening’s top honors in directing and screenwriting.

With Irishman Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood), French chanteuse Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose), Spain’s Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) and London native Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton) taking home acting honors, the evening had a distinctly Euro bent more appropriate for the Golden Globes, which was accentuated by Best Original Song winners Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova’s moving rendition of “Falling Slowly” from Once. In addition, Italian Dario Marianelli won Best Original Score for Atonement, that film's only award.

And while the victories by Cotillard and Swinton proved to be the night’s two big upsets over favorites Julie Christie, Amy Ryan and Cate Blanchett (predicted by our own soothsayin' Lenny Beer), No Country for Old Men held on to its chalk position, with an evening-leading four awards, including Best Picture as well as Director and Screenwriter for the enigmatic Coens, who resembled Penn & Teller on-stage, with older brother Joel doing most of the talking and Ethan playing deadpan. The bros had previously earned an Oscar 11 years ago for their original screenplay for Fargo. The year’s most popular Oscar nominee, Juno, walked home with but a single award, Chicago native Cody for Best Original Screenplay.

By winning three Oscars—best picture as producers on the film, director and adapted screenplay—the Coens matched a feat achieved by only an elite list of filmmakers who also received three awards for a single film, including Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather Part II), James Cameron (Titanic) and Billy Wilder (The Apartment).

Host Jon Stewart proved an amiable MC, showing no signs of the writers’ strike which threatened to cancel this year’s ceremony, getting off a number of well-timed zingers, even though the show was stuffed with clip packages that hinted at what might have happened if the work stoppage had continued.

Stewart’s political humor shone through, greeting the audience for the post-strike shindig by describing the  ceremony as "make-up sex." He dubbed Away From Her a film “about a woman who forgets her husband. Hillary Clinton called it the feelgood movie of the year" and joked that Bardem's performance in No Country combined "Hannibal Lecter's murderousness with Dorothy Hamill's wedge-cut." The host also earned points by bringing back Once's Irglova for an acceptance speech after she was cut off when her partner Hansard took up all the alotted time.

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