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‘No Country’ big winner at Oscars

European actors dominate Academy Awards

See Winners

Oscar continues to have a taste for blood.

“No Country for Old Men,” a dark cat-and-mouse tale involving a sheriff and his search for a serial murderer, received four Academy Awards Sunday night at the 80th annual ceremony, including best picture, direction and screenplay — awards it shares with last year’s homage to hardcore violence, “The Departed.”

Joel and Ethan Coen won three awards for their effort, putting them in a class with Billy Wilder, Francis Ford Coppola, James L. Brooks and Peter Jackson, the only people to win as producer, director and writer in a single year.

The Coens, who had previously won for writing “Fargo,” became only the second team to win the directing trophy. Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise won for “West Side Story.”

The 80th Oscars were also particularly good to first-timers and foreigners. Winners in actress, song, score and supporting actor fit both categories; original screenplay, cinematography and docu short went to talent that have never previously won. “No Country” producer Scott Rudin was a first time winner; Brit Daniel Day-Lewis won the acting statue, the second of his career. The foreign language win for “The Counterfeiters” was the first Oscar win for Austria.

All four acting winners hail from Europe. And three of them pulled trifectas with their wins Sunday.

French thesp Marion Cotillard, who heavily supported her portrayal of French chanteuse Ediah Piaf in “La Vie en rose” with personal appearances in the U.S., became only the fifth person to register an Oscar acting win in a foreign language, she also won the BAFTA and Cesar awards for her perf. The win was the seventh lead actress win in the last nine Oscars for a portrayal of real person.

And Day-Lewis and Javier Bardem both won BAFTA and Golden Globe awards for this year to go next to their Oscars in the trophy cases.

Tilda Swinton, who brought “Michael Clayton” its single win, won the BAFTA for her perf in the legal thriller.

Winners also provided a bit of tangible international flavor to the telecast: Bardem delivered a portion of his acceptance speech in Spanish, live-action short winner Philippe Pollet-Villard spoke in French and, with an Irish brogue, songwriter Glen Hansard encouraged the audience to “make art, make art.”

With critics groups and the guilds keeping the awards spread out among the many contenders, the Oscars did little to solidify the field. Besides “No Country,” only three films received multiple nods — “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “There Will be Blood” and “La Vie en Rose” — and 10 films received single honors.

“Bourne” won the two sound categories and the editing trophy; “Rose” plucked actress and makeup. There were 13 single winners.

Among the dozen films with at least three noms, only “Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” “Transformers” and “Enchnated” were shut out.

Three songs from “Enchanted” were up for the Oscar and for the second year in a row, a first-time song nominee — Hansard and his partner Marketa Irglova — won. Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz were up for the three trophies this year; three of Henry Krieger’s songs from “Dreamgirls’ were nominated last year.

Irglova, in a true Oscar rarity, was allowed to return to the stage to deliver an acceptance speech after being cut off as the kudocast went to commercial break following Hansgard’s comments.

While “No Country” certainly becomes the most talked-about film in America, it has a ways to catch up with “The Departed,” at the box office. Its cume is sitting at $64 million. At the time of the Oscars last year, “The Departed” had grossed $132 million.

Beginning with “Crash” three years ago, the best picture award has gone to films populated by characters dealing with lawlessness and moral ambiguity. The films contain powerful depictions of violence, marking the first time in Oscar’s 80 years that such a string has existed. Oscar, when it has honored brazenly violent pics, it has done so in a more isolated fashion: When “American Beauty” and its tale of suburban angst won the Oscar for the films of 1999, it had followed a triumvirate of more romantic fare — “Shakespeare in Love,” “Titanic” and “The English Patient.”

It is the fourth consecutive year — dating back to “Million Dollar Baby” — in which a film set in modern times has won the top prize, another first for the Oscars. The Academy had long been fond of period pieces: Only two best picture winners in the 1990s and three in the ‘80s were set in modern times.

And the winners are…

BEST PICTURE Click photos to view gallery
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage) A Scott Rudin/Mike Zoss Production Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
• View film profile for ‘No Country for Old Men’
Ethan Coen & Joel Coen – “No Country For Old Men”
• View director profile for Ethan and Joel Coen
Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
• View Actor profile for Daniel Day Lewis
Marion Cotillard in “La Vie en Rose” (Picturehouse)
• View actor profile for Marion Cotillard
Diablo Cody – “Juno”
• View film profile for ‘Juno’
Ethan & Joel Coen – “No Country for Old Men”
• View film profile for ‘No Country for Old Men’
Tilda Swinton in “Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)
• View actress profile for Tilda Swinton
Javier Bardem in “No Country for Old Men” (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
• View actor profile for Javier Bardem
“Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (Universal) Alexandra Byrne
“Ratatouille” – (Pixar; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Distribution) Brad Bird
“La Vie en Rose” (Picturehouse) Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald
“The Golden Compass” (New Line in association with Ingenious Film Partners) Michael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood
“Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount) Art Direction: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
• View film profile for ‘Sweeney Todd’
“Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)” (Premium Films) A Karé Production; Philippe Pollet-Villard
“Peter & the Wolf” (BreakThru Films) A BreakThru Films/Se-ma-for Studios Production
“The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal) Karen Baker Landers and Per Hallberg
“The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal) Scott Millan, David Parker and Kirk Francis
“The Bourne Ultimatum” (Universal) Christopher Rouse
“The Counterfeiters” – Austria
“Falling Slowly” from “Once” (Fox Searchlight) Music and Lyric by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage and Miramax) Robert Elswit
• View film profile for ‘There Will Be Blood’
“Atonement” (Focus Features) Dario Marianelli
• View film profile for ‘Atonement’
“Freeheld” A Lieutenant Films Production; Cynthia Wade and Vanessa Roth
“Taxi to the Dark Side” (THINKFilm) An X-Ray Production; Alex Gibney and Eva Orner

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