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Turned out the Oscar night theme of finally giving Marty his just due carried over to the Best Picture, as The Departed beat out Little Miss Sunshine in the final stretch.

OSCAR MEETS MARTY AS THE DEPARTED RULES

Alan Arkin, Happy Feet, Lives of Others Are Upset Winners
If the Grammys were all about the Dixie Chicks, the Oscars put Martin Scorsese center stage, as the venerable director won his first Best Directing statue and The Departed his first Best Picture award.

All told, The Departed won four awards, including Best Adapted Screenplay (William Monahan) and Best Editing (Thelma Schoonmaker) in addition to the two biggies.

Scorsese had previously been nominated five times for Best Director (The Aviator, Gangs of New York, Goodfellas, Last Temptation of Christ and Raging Bull), but this is the first time he took home the big prize. Among his films nominated for Best Picture without winning were Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, The Aviator and Gangs of New York.

Turned out the Oscar night theme of finally giving Marty his just due carried over to the Best Picture, as The Departed beat out Little Miss Sunshine in the final stretch, with Babel, The Queen and Letters From Iwo Jima in the rear.

As expected, Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) and Helen Mirren (The Queen) took home Best Actor and Actress, while DreamgirlsJennifer Hudson nabbed the Best Supporting Actress nod.

The Best Supporting Actor category was the big upset of the night, with Little Miss Sunshine’s Alan Arkin beating out favorite Eddie Murphy in Dreamgirls, an outcome several predicted (including yours truly) based on Murphy’s alleged unpopularity in Hollywood. Maybe he’ll grab the nod next year for Norbit. Little Miss Sunshine, the little film that could, also earned a Best Original Screenplay for first-timer Michael Arndt’s brilliant script.

Dreamgirls, which won only two awards for the night (the other in sound mixing), was also spurned in the Best Original Song category, where it had three of the nominees, losing to Melissa Etheridge’s “I Need to Wake Up,” from Al Gore’s The Inconvenient Truth, which expectedly took home the Best Documentary award.

The other upsets occurred in the Best Animated Feature category, where George Miller’s Happy Feet defeated Pixar’s favored Cars, and for Foreign Language Film, where the German thriller The Lives of Others earned a surprise victory over Pan’s Labyrinth, which won three other awards, including Cinematography, Art Direction and Makeup.

Argentinian-born composer Gustavo Santoalalla won his second consecutive Original Score Oscar for Babel after taking last year’s award for Brokeback Mountain. It was the only statue Babel won during the evening. The original soundtrack album for the movie is on Concord Records.

For a complete list of the winners, go here.

Highlights of the night included Ellen DeGeneres giving Scorsese a script to read during the show, asking Steven Spielberg to take a picture of her and Clint Eastwood for MySpace, a wonderful song-and-dance tribute to comedy’s downtrodden role at the Oscars featuring Will Ferrell, Jack Black and John C. Reilly, a brilliant American Express commercial with director Wes Anderson and Jack Nicholson, looking a lot like Daddy Warbucks, sporting a brand-new Britney buzz cut.

GRUBMAN & BRANCA
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