79th Annual Academy Awards Results and Commentary (2007)

  • Date of Ceremony: Sunday, February 25, 2007
  • For films released in: 2006
  • Host(s): Ellen DeGeneres (video)
Other years:

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Welcome to Digital Hit’s coverage of the 79th Annual Academy Awards.

8:06 PM ET

I’m backstage right now and we’re all firing up our laptops, making sure our connections work, and of course, eating the spread they put out for the press. We’re watching the Road to the Oscar pre-show and getting ready for the moment when the first person joins us in the interview room.

8:22 PM ET

8 minutes to go. Make sure you’ve popped your popcorn and claimed the best spot on the couch.

8:30 PM ET

Here we go! The show begins with a series of interview clips with the nominees. Quite cute. Alan Arkin says, “Losing builds character.”

8:35 PM ET

The nominees stand in the audience to rapturous applause.

8:36 PM ET

Ellen DeGeneres takes to the stage in a velvet tux.

“We’re celebrating the nominees’most years we just celebrate the winners.”

“Most people have a dream of winning an Academy Award. I dreamed of hosting. So it’s a lesson for you kids out there: aim lower.”

“I think I see some Americans here tonight: the seat fillers.”

“It’s not that we don’t have time for long speeches, we just don’t have time for boring ones.”

“Peter O’Toole is nominated for his eighth time: you know what they say, third time’s a charm.”

“Jennifer Hudson: America didn’t vote for her, but Al Gore’s here and America did vote for him.”

“If there weren’t blacks, Jews and gays, there would be no Oscars.”

8:44 PM ET

Tambourine in hand, Ellen is joined by a gospel choir to celebrate the nominees.

8:45 PM ET

Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig are presenting tonight’s first award, Art Direction. And the Oscar goes to Eugenio Caballero and Pilar Revuelta for Pan’s Labyrinth.

8:48 PM ET

Maggie Gyllenhaal strolls out to say the she recently had a date with magicians, as she was the host of the Academy’s Science and Technical Awards. She discusses the night’s winners.

8:53 PM ET

Will Ferrell sings “A comedian at the Oscars, the saddest man of all.” He’s joined in the song by Jack Black. They discuss how they’ll beat up the nominees, except for Mark Wahlberg who’s pretty tough. John C. Riley then joins the song.

8:57 PM ET

The trio then present the award for Best Makeup. And the Oscar goes to Pan’s Labyrinth’s David Marti and Montse Ribe. The pair get played off.

8:59 PM ET

Ellen is gossiping backstage with a crew member. She introduces Abigail Breslin and Jaden Smith. The young twosome are presenting the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. And the Oscar goes to The Danish Poet’s Torill Kove. She thanks the Academy for supporting the animated short category.

“And for everyone else who helped make me this film, I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you. You know who you are, I know who you are and I know that without you I wouldn’t be standing here with this little guy. Thank you very much.” – Torill Kove

9:03 PM ET

The young pair also present Live Action Short. And the Oscar goes to West Bank Story’s Ari Sandel.

“‘I know a lot of people in America are probably watching and asking, “What are the short films?” Well, a lot of them are made by directors who are trying to get noticed and I think in a lot of ways we represent the little guy because we don’t have big studios behind us or big name actors or a lot of times the budgets we need and it relies on perseverance and stick-to-it-iveness and hustle and dedication and loyalty from a cast and crew who are doing it for pennies if not for nothing’” – Ari Sandel

9:06 PM ET

They show a short segment of Clint Eastwood talking about making Letters from Iwo Jima.

9:11 PM ET

Ellen gives a shout out to the orchestra. She then introduces a “sound effects choir” who add foley to scenes playing behind them.

9:13 PM ET

Steve Carell and Greg Kinnear are out next. “Sound editing is like sex. Done at night, all alone and surrounded by elecronic gadgets.” They are, obviously, presenting the awards for Sound Editing. This is quite a new twist as usually we’ve had one acting award by now. And the Oscar goes to Letters From Iwo Jima’s Alan Robert Murray, whose father was an Iwo Jima survivor.

“And finally, thank you to my father and all the brave, honorable men and women in uniform, who in a time of crisis have all made that decision to defend their personal freedom and liberty no matter what the sacrifice.” – Alan Robert Murray

9:17 PM ET

Lovely Jessica Biel and lucky James McAvoy are presenting the award for sound mixing. But you don’t really care, because you’re just staring at Jessica. And the Oscar goes to Dreamgirls’s Michael Minkler, Bob Beemer and Willie Burton. Two of the three get their thanks in before the music swells.

“There’s no way I’m going to be able to do this by memory, so first of all, we congratulate Bill Condon, thank you so much. You crafted a film that was filled with dazzling performances, unforgettable songs from Henry Krieger, stylish effects from Richard Yawn, electrifying editing from Virginia Katz and some smokin’ sound.” – Michael Minkler

9:20 PM ET

Rachel Weisz is here to present the night’s first acting award, Best Supporting Actor. And the Oscar goes to Alan Arkin for Little Miss Sunshine. A bit of a surprise as the other award shows would leave you to believe Eddie was a lock, but recent buzz did indicate this was the direction the Academy was leaning in.

“I know you’re not supposed to read but I’d be totally incoherent if I didn’t. It’s handwritten, it’s short. More than anything, I am deeply moved by the open-hearted appreciation our small film has received. Which in these fragmented times speak so openly speak of the possibility of innocence, growth and connection.

Acting for me has always been and always will be a team sport. I cannot work at all unless I feel a spirit of unity around me. So my main sense of gratitude goes to the entire cast and crew and production team of Little Miss Sunshine for creating the same sense of joy and trust and community that the film speaks about.” – Alan Arkin

9:25 PM ET

Ellen chats to Mark Wahlberg and Martin Scorsese in the audience. She tries to pass a script off to him.

9:26 PM ET

She introduces a brief performance by the Pilobulus dance troupe’there’s a few more “bits” this year.

9:29 PM ET

We see a segment on Best Picture nominee The Departed.

9:30 PM ET

James Taylor and Randy Newman perform the night’s first nominated song, “Our Town”, from Cars.

9:33 PM ET

Melissa Etheridge performs “I Need to Wake Up” from An Inconvenient Truth.

9:35 PM ET

Leonardo DiCaprio and former Vice President Al Gore take to the stage. Leo asks him if there’s anything he wants to announce and there’s a big cheer from the audience. They mention how the Academy has tried to be as “green” as possible this year. Gore pretends to announce he’s running for President and the orchestra plays him off.

9:42 PM ET

“Because the show is green, the Academy wants me to recycle some of my older jokes,” says Ellen, before she introduces Cameron Diaz. Cameron’s presenting Best Animated Feature. And the Oscar goes to George Miller and Happy Feet.

“Oh, gosh. I asked my kids, “What should I say?” They said, “Thank all the men for wearing penguin suits.” They gave me a lucky coin, a lucky penguin, but my real good luck was to work with hundreds and hundreds of amazing people, that wonderful cast, great artists, computer wizards, studios that were passionate, people who cut trailers, dubbed the movie, got it into the theaters. And on their behalf, I thank the Academy for this. Thank you.” – George Miller

9:45 PM ET

Up next, Oscar-winning screenwriter Ben Affleck. He introduces a clip that shows how writers have been portrayed in films.

9:49 PM ET

Tom Hanks and Helen Mirren accompany each other to the stage to present Best Adapted Screenplay. They read excerpts from the nominees. And the Oscar goes to The Departed’s William Monahan.

“There’s no place to put this down, huh? Valium does work. Anyway, I was going to cut off the beginning of this speech and make it brief, but I’m gonna leave it back in and say, you know, the movie that made me wanna be a screenwriter was Robert Bolt’s Lawrence of Arabia. And I don’t know what could’ve happened in the universe to end up with the same Oscars as Peter O’Toole, you know, so it’s crazy. He’s here, I’ve seen him.” – William Monahan

9:59 PM ET

Ellen comes out wearing an Oscar Bjorn holder on her chest. She introduces Emily Blunt and Anne Hathaway, who are presenting the Oscar for Costume Design. And the Oscar goes to Marie Antoinette’s Milena Canonero. She thanks Francis for introducing her to Sofia.

“I want to thank Frances, first of all, for introducing me to Sofia when we were doing Cotton Club. And she was this [motions to her height as a girl], and now she’s my director. I think she did a wonderful movie. The movie is like a poem and she inspired me.” – Milena Canonero

George Miller’s joined us in the press room. See our backstage quotes.

10:04 PM ET

Tom Cruise is here tonight to present the Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Sherry Lansing. He narrates a segment showing her life and career.

10:08 PM ET

Sherry Lansing comes out to accept her award. She shares the honor with all of the teachers and researchers who she believes are really the humanitarian heroes.

“ I am deeply honored and very grateful to receive this award, but I also must admit that it feels a little strange to be singled out. So many of you have causes that you are equally passionate about. That is really what is so wonderful about the movie industry — not only do we get to make films that matter, but we also work in a culture where we are encouraged to speak out. We may not always agree, but we do always care.

Through my work, I have met scientists who struggle every day to find cures for diseases. They do so quietly — without glamour or attention, but always with passion and conviction. I have met school teachers who are battling against insurmountable odds, and yet they never stop trying to reach our children. To me, they are the real heroes, and tonight I share this honor with all of them.” – Sherry Lansing

10:10 PM ET

Ellen’s in the audience again. She’s talking to Clint and he wonders if she has a script. She then gets Spielberg to take a photo of them. She introduces Gwyneth Paltrow.

William Monahan’s joined us in the press room. See our backstage quotes.

Gwyneth says “Thanks to cellphones, many of us are cinematogaphers.” She then introduces the nominees for Best Cinematography. And the Oscar goes to Pan’s Labyrinth’s Guillermo Navarro. Another win for the film.

“This award is a recognition for the collective effort to support the vision of the genius of Guillermo Del Toro. Pan’s Labyrinth is the result of this narrative that add up to finding the look of the movie, and the narrative to continue into this incredible story that unfolds. The creative freedom that was needed to tell the story, to preserve the integrity of the story and the point of view is what was more important for us in this movie.” – Guillermo Navarro

10:16 PM ET

The dancers are back with a tribute to Little Miss Sunshine, recreating the VW camper with their bodies.

10:18 PM ET

Time’s flown’there should be just over an hour left, but then again, we could be here into next week. You never know’

10:20 PM ET

Naomi Watts and Robert Downey Jr. are here to talk about visual effects and of course hand out the hardware for the category. And the Oscar goes to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest’s John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and Allen Hall.

“You know the naysayers said that four blind kids from the Bronx couldn’t make it in visual effects, but here we are. First, I got to thank Jerry Bruckheimer for entrusting us with this great, big project. Thanks to Gore Verbinski, your vast imagination, your humor, your tireless work ethic, and that’s why we’re up here. Thank you.” – John Knoll

Milena Canonero’s joined us in the press room. See our backstage quotes.

10:23 PM ET

Catherine Deneuve and Ken Watanabe present a segment on foreign language films.

10:29 PM ET

Clive Owen and Cate Blanchett are now here to present the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. And the Oscar goes to Germany for The Lives of Others. Director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck accepts.

“I thank you Academy members from the bottom of my heart for this honor. And I thank Michael and Tom from Sony Classics for choosing The Lives of Others and bringing it to you. I thank Germany and Bavaria for making this film possible. My great department heads for making this film with me. Schwarzenegger for teaching me that the words “I can’t” should be stricken from my vocabulary. And my entire crew. I thank my producers, commissioning editors, distributors, financiers. I thank my brother Sebastian for helping with this script and for “Baumba” for believing in me. But most of all I thank my actors, especially Ulrich and Sebastian, you’re the greatest artists and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.” – Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Guillermo Navarro joined us in the press room. See our backstage quotes.

10:32 PM ET

Ellen tries her hand at shadow puppets but gets swarmed by the dancers.

10:33 PM ET

Ellen introduces George Clooney. Last year’s Supporting Actor will present this year’s Supporting Actress. And the Oscar goes to Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls.

“Wow, if my grandmother was here to see me now. She was my biggest inspiration for everything because she was a singer and she had the passion for it but she never had the chance. And that was the thing that pushed me forward to continue.” – Jennifer Hudson

Sherry Lansing’s joined us in the press room. See our backstage quotes.

10:40 PM ET

We see a segment talking about Best Picture nominee Babel.

10:41 PM ET

Eva Green and Gael Garcia Bernal are presenting Documentary Short Subject. And the Oscar goes to The Blood of Yingzhou District.

“Thank you, everyone. A treacherous profession — documentary film — one part of our hearts with remote villages in Anhui, China, the other part burning to get here, Beverly Hills. Complicated. Quite complicated. “ – Thomas Lennon

10:44 PM ET

Jerry Seinfeld takes to the mike. He’s been a docu subject and now he’s presenting Documentary Feature. And the Oscar goes to An Inconvenient Truth’s Davis Guggenheim. He takes Al Gore up with him.

“My fellow Americans, people all over the world, we need to solve the climate crisis. It’s not a political issue, it’s a moral issue. We have everything we need to get started, with the possible exception of the will to act, that’s a renewable resource. Let’s renew it.” – former Vice President Al Gore

The visual effects winners have joined us in the press room. See our backstage quotes.

10:50 PM ET

Clint Eastwood is presenting the honorary Oscar to composer Ennio Morricone. We see a segment highlighting his scores.

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck has joined us in the press room. See our backstage quotes.

10:55 PM ET

Celine Dion is performing the world premiere of a song composed by Morricone, “I Knew I Loved You”.

10:58 PM ET

Eastwood welcomes Morricone to the stage. He speaks in Italian and Eastwood translates for him.

“Yes. I will tell you what he’s saying. Ennio wants to thank the Academy and all the people who really truly wanted him to have this great honor. His deep gratitude goes to all the directors who had faith in him. Without them he says he wouldn’t be here today. His thoughts go out to the artists who have never received this honor. And even though they work with enormous commitment and talent, to all of them he wishes that their work would be recognized as his is tonight. He says this Oscar is not a point of arrival but a starting point to continue writing with the same passion and dedication he’s had since the very beginning on the screen.” – Clint Eastwood translates for Ennio Morricone

11:06 PM ET

Penelope Cruz and Hugh Jackman are cast as the presenters of Best Original Score. And the Oscar goes to Babel’s Gustavo Santaolalla.

“In our soul rests, I think, our own true identity, beyond languages, countries, races and religions. I’m so proud to work in Babel, a film that helped us understand better who we are and why and what are we here for.” – Gustavo Santaolalla

The winners of documentary short have joined us in the press room. See our backstage quotes.

11:09 PM ET

Ellen says she’s challenged AMPAS prez Sid Ganis to discuss the other activities of the Academy in under 60 seconds. He does so.

11:11 PM ET

Kirsten Dunst and Tobey Maguire are presenting examples from the Original Screenplay nominees. And the Oscar goes to Little Miss Sunshine’s Michael Arndt.

“And finally, when I was a kid, my family drove 600 miles in a VW bus with a broken clutch. So, it ended up being the funnest things we did together, so to my brothers, Chan, Dave and Chris, to my mom who’s here tonight, and to my dad who’s with us in the spirit. This is for you.” – Michael Arndt

Al Gore and the gang have joined us in the press room. See our backstage quotes.

11:16 PM ET

The dancers pay tribute to The Devil Wears Prada.

11:20 PM ET

Jennifer Lopez introduces the stars of Dreamgirls, performing the film’s three nominated songs: “Love You I Do”, “Listen”, and “Patience”.

11:27 PM ET

Queen Latifah and John Travolta saunter out. They’re presenting Best Original Song. And the Oscar goes to An Inconvenient Truth’s “I Need to Wake Up” by Melissa Etheridge. The filmmakers and Gore whoop it up backstage as they watch it on the monitors.

“Wow, that feels as good as you think it does. I have to thank my incredible wife Tammy and our four children, Beckett and Bailey and Johnnie Rose and Miller. And everyone I’ve ever worked with. Just thank you, I love you, you know. And all the incredible people that worked on this film and gave so much. But mostly, I have to thank Al Gore for inspiring us, inspiring me, showing that caring about the Earth is not Republican or Democrat. It’s not red or blue, we are all green. This is our job. Now we can become the greatest generation, the generation that changed, the generation that woke up and did something and changed. I love you all.” – Melissa Etheridge

11:30 PM ET

Ennio Morricone’s joined us in the press room. See our backstage quotes.

11:34 PM ET

We see a segment about Little Miss Sunshine.

11:35 PM ET

Ellen introduces Will Smith. The always charming actor says that the common thread in American films is that there is no common thread. He introduces a collection of clips about America assembled by director Michael Mann.

Gustavo Santaolalla’s joined us in the press room. See our backstage quotes.

11:40 PM ET

Kate Winslet’s out next to present the Academy Award for Film Editing. And the Oscar goes to The Departed’s Thelma Schoonmaker.

“This is the third film you’ve given the Oscar to that was made by Martin Scorsese, and believe me I know I wouldn’t be standing here if it wasn’t for him. You can understand what it was like to be given a film directed the way he directed this movie with a wonderful script by Bill Monahan, the fantastic panoply of actors who were just so magnificent. Working with Marty is quite something. It’s tumultuous, passionate, funny and it’s like being in the best film school in the world.” – Thelma Schoonmaker

11:43 PM ET

Will we finish by midnight?

11:44 PM ET

Jodie Foster, a two-time winner, walks to the podium to present this year’s In Memoriam segment.

11:46 PM ET

Michael Arndt has joined us in the press room. See our backstage quotes.

11:51 PM ET

Ellen says, “Well that’s our show’” before she gets told there’s several awards to go.

11:52 PM ET

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s here to present Best Actress. And the Oscar goes to, no surprise, Helen Mirren.

“You know, my sister told me that all kids love to get gold stars, and this is the biggest and the best gold star that I have ever had in my life. I want to share my gold star with my fellow nominees, those brilliant, brilliant actresses who gave such amazing performances this year. I also share my gold star with the filmmakers, with Stephen Frears, with Peter Morgan, with Andy Harries and all the producers and all the filmmakers and the cast. Thank you. Now you know for 50 years and more, Elizabeth Windsor has maintained her dignity, her sense of duty, and her hairstyle. She’s had her feet planted firmly on the ground, her hat on her head, her handbag on her arm and she’s weathered many, many storms, and I salute her courage and her consistency. And I thank her because if it wasn’t for her, I most, most certainly would not be here. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Queen. Thank you. Thank you very much.” – Helen Mirren

Melissa Etheridge has joined us in the press room. See our backstage quotes.

11:56 PM ET

The dancers pay tribute to The Departed.

12:00 AM ET

Ellen is vacuuming the floor of the Kodak. She then introduces Reese Witherspoon to present Best Actor. And the Oscar goes to Forest Whitaker. He says he thought he’d be overwhelmed so he wrote a speech.

“I wrote something down, because I thought if it would happen that I would be a little overwhelmed and I am. So, OK. When I was a kid, the only way that I saw movies was from the backseat of my family’s car. At the drive-in. And, it wasn’t my reality to think I would be acting in movies, so receiving this honor tonight tells me that it’s possible. It is possible for a kid from east Texas, raised in South Central L.A. in Carson, who believes in his dreams, commits himself to them with his heart, to touch them, and to have them happen.

Because when I first started acting, it was because of my desire to connect to everyone. To that thing inside each of us. That light that I believe exists in all of us. Because acting for me is about believing in that connection and it’s a connection so strong, it’s a connection so deep, that we feel it. And through our combined belief, we can create a new reality. So I want to thank my fellow believers in The Last King of Scotland. I want to thank Peter, Jeremy, Andrea, Lisa, Charles, Kevin, James McAvoy, Kerry, Stephen, Fox, DNA, Channel Four. I want to thank the people of Uganda, who helped this film have a spirit. And finally, I want to thank my mom and my dad. I want to thank my wife Keisha, my children, my ancestors, who continue to guide my steps. And God, God who believes in us all. And who’s given me this moment, in this lifetime, that I will hopefully carry to the end of my lifetime into the next lifetime. Thank you.” – Forest Whitaker

Thelma Schoonmaker’s joined us in the press room. See our backstage quotes.

12:06 AM ET

Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola are here to present Best Director. Steven and Francis joke that George hasn’t won. And the Oscar goes to Martin Scorsese. He finally wins! Big applause back here in the press room and a standing ovation from the audience. “Could you double check the envelope,” Martin says.

“I just want to say too that so many people over the years have been wishing this for me. Strangers. You know, I went walking in the street, people say something to me. I go in a doctor’s office, I go in a whatever. Elevators, people saying, “You should win one, you should win one.” I go for an X-Ray, “you should win one.” I’m saying, “thank you.” Friends of mine over the years and friends who are here tonight are wishing this for me and my family, I thank you. This is for you.” – Martin Scorsese

12:11 AM ET

Jennifer Hudson has joined us in the press room. See our backstage quotes.

12:11 AM ET

We see a segment about The Queen.

12:12 AM ET

Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton are here to present the night’s final award, Best Picture. And the Oscar goes to The Departed. Producer Graham Kings accepts the award.

“To be standing here where the Queen of England just stood’ Idi Amin, is pretty incredible. To be standing here where Martin Scorsese won his Oscar is such a joy, such a joy.” – Graham King

12:16 AM ET

Ellen wishes everyone a good night.

12:29 AM ET

Forest Whitaker’s joined us in the press room. See our backstage quotes.

So that’s it for another year. We’ve got to wait for some more people back here, we’ll add transcripts of the speeches and yes, we’ll have red carpet photos up early this morning. So please join us again tomorrow for our complete coverage and thank you so much for joining us tonight.

12:47 AM ET

Alan Arkin has now joined us in the press room. See our backstage quotes.

We’re then joined by Helen Mirren in the press room. See our backstage quotes.

1:05 AM ET

We’re now joined by Martin Scorsese in the press room. See our backstage quotes.

1:18 AM ET

Graham King’s joined us in the press room. See our backstage quotes.

That’s it for another year. We thank you for joining us tonight. See you next year!

Special thanks to the Best Western Hollywood Plaza Inn for their assistance with our coverage stay and to Freeman Formalwear for Ian Evans’ tuxedo.

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