Actress wins supporting actress trophy

Tilda Swinton scored the first major surprise of the evening when she nabbed the best supporting actress statuette for her turn as a morally compromised Karen Crowder in “Michael Clayton.”

Swinton had mostly come up empty on this year’s kudos circuit — her only notable win for her perf was a BAFTA — and was vying in a particularly competitive category: Cate Blanchett had won several awards for her turn as Bob Dylan in “I’m Not There,” including the Golden Globe and Spirit trophies, and Amy Ryan won several major kudos for her perf as a as a single mom with dubious parenting skills in “Gone Baby Gone.” Sentimental favorite Ruby Dee, nominated for “American Gangster,” and young “Atonement” co-star Saoirse Ronan rounded out the competish.

Swinton appeared visibly shocked to win. She then delivered a whimsical acceptance speech in which she compared the Oscar statuette to the backside of her American agent, Brian Swardstrom, and saluted George Clooney for his unusual way of showing his dedication to his art.

“Seeing you climb into that rubber bat suit from “Batman & Robin,” the one with the nipples, every morning under your costume, on the set, off the set, hanging upside-down at lunch — ‘You rock, man,'” Swinton said.

Swinton also gave a shout out to writer-director Tony Gilroy, saying that he “walks on water, it’s entirely official as far as I’m concerned.”

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