No Country For Old Men dominates Oscars

(dpa) - No Country For Old Men dominated the Oscars Sunday night, picking up awards for best motion picture, best director, best supporting actor and best adapted screenplay in an event that also saw non-American actors take home all four acting prizes.

No Country's triumph represented a remarkable achievement for the film's creators, the brothers Joel and Ethan Coen, who were the first siblings ever to win a prize for best directors, and who also wrote and produced the violent thriller set in a dysfunctional American milieu.

The Coens also joined an elite list of filmmakers to win three Oscars in a single night, including Francis Ford Coppola, James Cameron and Billy Wilder.

In the other major categories Daniel Day-Lewis won the best actor prize for his portrayal of a ruthlessly ambitious oil entrepreneur in There Will Be Blood, while Marion Cotillard of France won the Oscar for best actress for her performance as legendary chanteuse Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose.

The best supporting actor award went to No Country's Javier Bardem, while Tilda Swinton picked up the supporting actress award for her portrayal of a cold-hearted attorney in Michael Clayton. Former stripper Diablo Cody picked up the best original screenplay award for Juno, an indie hit about a pregnant teenager.

The Coens, brothers who write and direct together, won for best adapted screenplay, dedicating the award to novelist Cormack McCarthy.

"Thanks for bringing us this novel and giving us the opportunity to make this movie," said Ethan Coen.

Accepting the best directors picture Joel Coen recalled how the pair had made a movies together as kids. "What we do now doesn't feel that much different from what we were doing then," Coen said. "We're very thankful to all of you out there for continuing to let us play in our corner of the sandbox."

The prize for best animated feature film went to the Disney-Pixar comedy Ratatouille. The best foreign film was named as Austria's The Counterfeiters. Other notable wins including best song for the Irish drama Once, and best documentary feature for Taxi To The Dark Side about US prisoner abuse.

Among the biggest disappointments: Atonement, the sweeping romantic drama which had seven nominations, but only received one Oscar: original score for Dario Marianelli.

There Will Be Blood, also came up short when its eight nominations yielded prizes only for Day-Lewis and for Robert Elswit, who won for cinematography.

Spy-thriller The Bourne Ultimatum won three Oscars for editing, sound mixing and sound editing.

Earlier, thousands of film fans and celebrity watchers braved rainy conditions to watch stars including George Clooney, Cameron Diaz, Jessica Alba, Daniel Day-Lewis and Jennifer Garner turn up in all their finery for the annual gala.

The red carpet outside the Kodak Theatre was covered with a huge plastic canopy to protect what has in recent years turned into the most-watched fashion show on earth.

The dour conditions in normally sunny Southern California reflected what is widely considered to be the grimmest slate of Oscar nominees in recent years, with the bleak frontrunners including No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Atonement and Michael Clayton.

The relative lack of box-office success among the top movies raised fears that the broadcast could register an all-time low in the ratings.

But with all the stars on parade, Oscars producer Sid Ganis was confident that the event would be a success, after earlier shows like the Golden Globes were squelched by the winter's just-ended strike by Hollywood writers.

"Not only have there not been any awards shows, but I think there's a good solid buzz about the strike being over (and) everybody back to work," Ganis said.

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