All the action from the 80th Academy Awards, moment by moment:
Finally, the big moment. Denzel Washington announces the nominees without any further delay. And the Oscar goes to No Country For Old Men. It is a spectacular moment as the most indie of filmmakers are made out to be the toast of the Academy. It has been a spectacular year for cinema, and while the heart bleeds for Paul Thomas Anderson, it could have been anyone's year. Well played, Oscar.
Characteristically gawky and reticent, Ethan and Joel talk about early filmmaking efforts, and how they feel they haven't really come a long way since then. Their thanks is to the whole room, so to speak, to let them 'play in their corner of the sandbox.' Bravo, you madcap virtuosos.
So will the Academy play safe? Give Best Director to one and Best Film to the other? Well, Martin Scorsese walks on to hand over the prize to the year's best helmsman -- or is that plural? The award goes to Joel & Ethan Coen for No Country For Old Men! Is this it or are the Coen's winning the biggest one as well?
'That's the closest I'll ever come to getting a knighthood,' smiles Day-Lewis, referring to Mirren's frequently played role as Queen of England. Elegant and articulate as ever, the actor was effusive in his praise of visionary director Paul Thomas Anderson.
This year's Best Actor award has four great performances, but all outshone by a leading role of a lifetime. Daniel Day-Lewis is almost a foregone conclusion, but can a twistless Oscar throw a cruel curveball here? Helen Mirren is here to present the award, and it goes to... Daniel Day-Lewis! Thank God!
Introduced as 'either an internationally acclaimed movie star or an auto dealership,' comes Harrison Ford. Here's the crucial award, the one for Best Original Screenplay. If Juno does not win this, there's a chance it can upset the big movies for the big one. And it does! Diablo Cody, stripper-turned-blogger-turned Oscar winner! Whoa! Brilliant!
Just the big awards for the night remain. Best Original Screenplay is the kind of category that could be very tell-tale. Tradition indicates that the film that wins this one is likely the one that won't be up for Best Picture. So it's pretty evident both No Country and There Will Be Blood are wishing Juno the best of luck.
Tom Hanks is up next, giving out the award for Best Documentary Short Subject to Freeheld and the one for Best Documentary Feature goes to Taxi To The Dark Side, edging past Michael Moore's much-hyped Sicko.
The luminous Amy Adams returns to stage, getting Bill Conti and the Oscar-orchestra to strike up some of the most memorable bits of great score -- including Conti's own Rocky theme. The Award for Best Original Score goes to Dario Marianelli for his sweeping soundscapes in Atonement.
Hilary Swank brings forth the always poignant tragic montage, the 'In Memoriam' tribute bringing together the names of people Hollywood has lost over the last year. This year, there are names like Michelangelo Antonioni, Lois Maxwell, Deborah Kerr and Ingmar Bergman, but the applause rings out loudest and most deafening for Heath Ledger. Rest In Peace.
'Eighty Oscars ago,' begins Cameron Diaz -- she of the irresistibly goofy grin -- as she starts talking about the Best Cinematography Award, down the years. And this year's award goes to Robert Elswitt for There Will Be Blood! This is despite Roger Deakins having two nominations in the same category! Okay, this might be a close race after all. 'We're all standing on the shoulders of Daniel Day-Lewis,' the cinematographer says.
In a superbly touching gesture, despite the Once couple going off stage, Stewart brings back Marketa Irglova to get a chance to give an Oscar-speech too. She encourages independent musicians, and looks positively flushed by the honour.
John Travolta glides onto stage to present the Best Original Song award, and it goes to the Irish duo of Glen Hansard and Markeda Irglova for their lovely Falling slowly from Once! 'We shot on a few handicams,' gushed Glen, in the evening's warmest speech. 'Make art, make art,' he closes with.
Patrick Dempsey, the Enchanted leading manintroduces the last nominated original song, also from his film -- So close.
Jaw-dropping as ever, Penelope Cruz arrives to hand out the Best Foreign Language Film award. The award goes to The Counterfeiters, from Austria. Director Stefan Ruzowitzky doffed his hat to other Austrian directors like Billy Wilder.
Gorgeous, pregnant and dripping with diamonds, Nicole Kidman celebrates veteran production designer and art director Robert Boyle, responsible for great cinema like North By Northwest, Fiddler On The Roof and The Birds. The great man is felicitated with the Honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement. Boyle's evocative, simple speech is littered with acknowledgements to directors 'Hitch' (Alfred Hitchcock) and Norman Jewison.
Renee Zellweger gives the Best Editing award to The Bourne Ultimatum -- clearly Paul Greengrass' technical abilities have startled Academy members rather severely; this is a sweep in its own right.
The one and only Jack Nicholson storms onto stage next, sunglasses flamboyantly and inevitably in place. The montage he introduces is a special one, plainly -- yet spectacularly -- chronicling 'the 79 movies known simply as Best Picture.' From Rebecca to The Greatest Show On Earth, from Midnight Cowboy to Annie Hall, right upto Rain Man and The Departed. Wow.
Things kick off with a mega screen Wii tennis match with Stewart and an Oscar ceremony aide. Colin Farrell comes on to introduce the fourth nominated original song. The film is the extraordinary Irish Once, and the song is Falling slowly. Farrell refers to Once as 'the little film that can.' Indeed.
'You rocked my life,' an overwhelmed Cotillard says in a thick French accent to her director Olivier Dahan. 'It is true there is some angels in this city,' she salutes Los Angeles as she comes off the stage, open-mouthed.
Forest Whitaker is the next presenter, giving probably the most unpredictable award for the night, Best Actress. Can Ellen Page trump Julie Christie? The suspense is tremendous. And the Oscar goes to the lovely Marion Cotillard for La Vie En Rose!
Knocked Up and Superbad stars Seth Rogan and Jonah Hill riff off each other for a few seconds, before handing over both the Best Sound Editing and the Best Sound Mixing awards to The Bourne Ultimatum.
Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus -- Billy Ray's daughter -- introduces the third nominated Original Song. Also from Enchanted, this one is called That's How You Know.
The Coens talk about their success being based on how selective they are. 'We've only adapted Homer and Cormack McCarthy,' they smile briefly referring to O Brother Where Art Thou?, their inspired retelling of The Odyssey. They're obviously hoping for a bigger speech at the end of the night -- and they're likely to.
After Jessica Alba announces the non-televised Technical Awards, Stewart -- really coming into his element with a great pregnancy and Jack Nicholson joke -- introduces presenters Josh Brolin and James McAvoy. The award for Best Adapted Screenplay. The Coen Brothers and Paul Thomas Anderson are the frontrunners in this category, and the winner here could be the big winner of the night. And the award goes to Joel and Ethan Coen for No Country For Old Men!
Swinton comes on stage, compares her American agent's body exactly to the Oscar statuette, saying the statue is for him. She goes on to thank director Tony Gilroy and laughs about George Clooney, ending with a 'you rock, man.' Can the luck she wishes possibly rub off on Clooney? It's a long shot, but hey.
Alan Arkin is the man handing over the award for Best Supporting Actress, a very highly contested category. The actresses span a huge age-range here, and it really is anybody's guess. Tilda Swinton for Michael Clayton is a very likely winner, but Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan in I'm Not There could spring an upset. No, Swinton it is!
Jerry Seinfeld is next up, appearing as Barry the Bee from Bee Movie, introducing a montage of bees-in-films -- this banal, self-deprecating lunacy is clearly the theme of the evening -- before giving the award for Best Animated Short Film to Peter & The Wolf.
Owen Wilson is the next presenter for the evening. The award for Best Live Action Short Film goes to The Mozart Of Pickpockets.
Stewart instantly takes a quick dig at Bardem's speech, and introduces a Writer's-Strike kinda montage, 'Oscar's salute to binoculars and telescopes.' Then comes 'Bad Dreams: An Oscar Salute.' Then comes Keri Russell to introduce her film's nominated song, Raise it up from August Rush.
Bardem was extraordinary in the role, and is rightfully exultant in his acceptance speech. He thanks the Coen brothers to be crazy enough, and for giving him 'the worst haircut known to man.'
Jennifer Hudson is on stage to present Best Supporting Actor. Javier Bardem, the No Country For Old Men leading man, is the odds-on favourite for this award, with his already-iconic performance as killer Antoine Chigurh. Can Tom Wilkinson pull it off, though, for his superlative work in Michael Clayton? And the award goes to Bardem!
Clad in purple, double-nominee tonight Cate Blanchett comes onto stage and hands the Best Art Direction award to Dante Ferreti for Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street. Does this bode well for Best Actor nominee Depp?
The next presenter is WWE superstar The Rock, Dwayne Johnson, up to present the award for Best Visual Effects. The award goes to The Golden Compass, beating Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End.
The first nominated song for the evening is from Disney's Enchanted -- Happy working song, performed by the film's luminous star Amy Adams. Three out of the five nominees for Best Original Song are from this film.
A stunning Katherine Heigl takes the stage, tall and in bright scarlet. She hands out the award for Best Makeup to La Vie En Rose, the warmly appreciated French film about iconic musician Edith Piaf.
Anne Hathaway and Steve Carrell take the stage as an austere Philip Seymour Hoffman looks on. The unlikely, interesting duo are here to hand out the Best Animated Feature trophy which goes to Brad Bird for Ratatouille, the Disney blockbuster predictably beating out Marianne Satrapi's wonderful Persepolis.
The ever-popular George Clooney talks cheekily and fondly about 80 years of Oscar memories, introducing a montage spanning years recent and dated, timeless and trivial, iconic and incredibly funny. Classic stuff.
Jennifer Garner takes the stage as the first presenter of the night, handing out the trophy for Costume Design. These five nominees -- from Across The Universe to Sweeney Todd -- make for an eclectic and fascinating selection, and the award goes to Elizabeth: The Golden Age.
Jon Stewart is the host for the night, returning from last year, and a beaming Johnny Depp in the audience seems to approve. Stewart starts by talking about the Writers Strike, saying 'the fight is over,' waits for applause and says, 'tonight, welcome to the make-up sex.' He talks about the blood and darkness among the nominees this year, ending with 'all I can say is thank God for teen pregnancy.'
Oscar is 80 this year, which depressingly enough means a flashy predictable montage replaces the typically hilarious spoofy opening video. This better not be a sign of things to come.
Ladies and Gentlemen, despite much speculation, all is well and under way. The red carpet is glitzy, the evening gowns exorbitant and the grins fittingly wide. The 80th Annual Academy Awards are set for kick-off.