„The Departed” won four Academy Awards including best motion picture and best director, handing Martin Scorsese his first Oscar after seven nominations.
Forest Whitaker received an Oscar for his leading role in „The Last King of Scotland” and Helen Mirren was recognized for her performance in „The Queen.” „The Departed,” Scorsese's biggest box-office hit with $278 million €121 million) in worldwide receipts, took the top honors in a ceremony that rewarded all the industry's leading choices.
„Little Miss Sunshine” won two Oscars, while the „Queen” and „Letters from Iwo Jima” and „Babel” received one. „So many people over the years were wishing this for me,” Scorsese said in accepting the award. „Complete strangers in elevators, in doctors' offices, on the street. I thank you, all of you.”
Scorsese, 64, had previously been overlooked for films such as „Raging Bull,” „The Last Temptation of Christ” and „Goodfellas.” He won the best director Golden Globe for „The Departed” last month. „The Departed” cost $90 million to make, according to Burbank, California-based Box Office Mojo.com, a box office researcher.
„The Departed,” a gangster movie set in Boston and based on the 2002 Hong Kong film „Infernal Affairs,” beat „The Queen;” „Letters From Iwo Jima;” „Little Miss Sunshine” and „Babel” for best motion picture of the year. Scorsese's competition for best director included Clint Eastwood for „Letters from Iwo Jima” and Stephen Frears for „The Queen.”
„This comes as an extraordinary surprise,” Scorsese said at a press conference after the awards. „And quite honestly, a surprise for best picture too, an even bigger surprise.” Whitaker beat Leonardo DiCaprio in „Blood Diamond;” Ryan Gosling in „Half Nelson;” Peter O'Toole for „Venus” and Will Smith for „The Pursuit of Happyness.” Mirren, who also won the Golden Globe, led a field that included Penelope Cruz in „Volver;” Judi Dench for „Notes on a Scandal;” Meryl Streep for „The Devil Wears Prada” and Kate Winslet for „Little Children.” Whitaker and Mirren both portrayed leaders.
Whitaker played the dictator Idi Amin and Mirren Queen Elizabeth II. Mirren thanked the Queen in her acceptance speech. „She has had her feet firmly planted on the ground, handbag on her shoulder and she's weathered many storms,” Mirren said in accepting the award. „If not for her, I certainly would not be here.” Jennifer Hudson won for her supporting role in „Dreamgirls” and Alan Arkin was named best supporting actor for „Little Miss Sunshine.”
The evening was a win also for Time Warner Inc., whose movies including „The Departed” and „Pan's Labyrinth” won nine Oscars. „Little Miss Sunshine,” a dark comedy that follows a family on a road trip won its second award for best original screenplay by Michael Arndt. „An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore's documentary on the effects of global warming, won best documentary. „The Lives of Others” from Germany won best foreign language film.
„Pan's Labyrinth” won awards for art direction, makeup and cinematography. Sherry Lansing received the Jean Hersholt award, introduced by actor Tom Cruise. Lansing and Cruise made films at Paramount Pictures together before both were pushed out by Sumner Redstone, the chairman of New York-based Viacom Inc., which owns the studio. (Bloomberg)