Oscars get under way

( AP )- Steady rain was a mere annoyance at Sunday's Academy Awards, which got under way as a dual celebration honoring the best in film and signaling that life in Hollywood was good again after a debilitating writers strike.

The show began with a fanfare and an effects-laden opening segment showing key characters and creatures from Hollywood's past lining Hollywood Boulevard.

As rain fell throughout much of the day, thousands of fans packed the bleachers and streets around the Kodak Theatre, hoping to catch a glimpse of Hollywood's biggest stars as they arrived for the 80th annual Oscars.

"It's really sort of like a greenhouse in here," said Steve Carell as he arrived on the red carpet. "It's like hydroponics."

The rain, often heavy, arrived hours before the stars did, drenching fans on Hollywood Boulevard. But the red carpet remained dry under a tent, as did the bleachers where people lucky enough to win tickets by lottery sat waiting to cheer on their favorite stars.

George Clooney, a best-actor contender for "Michael Clayton," arrived 90 minutes before the show with girlfriend Sarah Larson and stopped along the bleachers to shake the hands of several screaming female fans. Tom Wilkinson, nominated for supporting actor for "Michael Clayton," stopped briefly to wave and flash a shy smile.

"The thought of being able to see celebrities and being part of the action you see on TV and you're there watching it. It's something you don't do in everyday life. It's almost like it's not real," said Lynn Lilje, who traveled from Vancouver to sit in the bleachers.

Settled just two weeks before the Oscars, the 100-day strike had left the fate of the show in doubt as stars indicated they would not cross writers' picket lines to attend. The celebrity bash at the Golden Globes wound up canceled for just that reason, so Oscar organizers figured everyone was ready for a big party.

"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," academy president Sid Ganis said going into Oscar weekend.

Too bad there wasn't as much suspense over likely Oscar winners as there had been about the show itself.

The surprise best-picture win of "Crash" over " Brokeback Mountain" two years ago remained fresh in awards watchers' minds, but Sunday's show generally had been expected to crown favorites that had dominated throughout awards season, led by the Coen brothers' crime tale "No Country for Old Men."

Past screenplay winners for "Fargo," Joel and Ethan Coen went into the evening positioned to make Oscar history with potential wins in all four categories in which they had individual nominations - best picture, director, adapted screenplay and editing (under the pseudonym Roderick Jaynes).

Only one person, Walt Disney, had won four Oscars in the same year, his prizes coming as producer of three short films and the documentary that won for 1953. No one has ever won four Oscars for the same film.

"No Country for Old Men" and the oil saga "There Will Be Blood" lead with eight nominations each, followed by the tragic romance "Atonement" and the legal thriller "Michael Clayton" with seven apiece.

All four films competed for best picture, with the pregnancy comedy "Juno" earning the fifth slot for the top prize.

Past Oscar winners were the favorites in the lead-acting categories, with Daniel Day-Lewis of "There Will Be Blood" and Julie Christie of "Away From Her" expected to triumph.

Javier Bardem was the front-runner to win supporting actor for "No Country for Old Men." Supporting actress was a toss-up, with many critics favoring Amy Ryan for "Gone Baby Gone" and much sentiment riding on Ruby Dee of "American Gangster," who at 83 would be the oldest acting winner ever.

Boom in Iran's housing sector create new jobs for local force
Boom in Iran's housing sector create new jobs for local force
Iran's economic development declines
Iran's economic development declines
Iran's CBI reveals amount of loans issued in Iran's trade sector
Iran's CBI reveals amount of loans issued in Iran's trade sector
Loading Bars
Growth rate of agricultural production in Turkmenistan increases
Uzbekneftegaz reveals volume of oil products manufactured in 2M2021
Azerbaijan's First VP congratulates Azerbaijani women on International Women's Day
JP Morgan reveals 2021 oil demand & supply forecasts
Boom in Iran's housing sector create new jobs for local force
JP Morgan says OPEC to boost supply in 2021
OPEC crude output to exceed 30 mbpd in 2022 – JP Morgan
Uzbekistan, India talk mutual phytosanitary permits for agricultural products
Turkmenistan exceeds plan for transport, communication sector
Weekly review of Azerbaijani oil market
Nepal PM Oli receives first jab of Indian-made COVID-19 vaccine
Iran's economic development declines
IAM Construction LLC to reconstruct facility in Azerbaijan’s Seaside Park
Azerbaijan’s state interests on Azerbaijani-Armenian border protected at highest level
China's focus on annual GDP targets gives greater policy flexibility
Iran's CBI reveals amount of loans issued in Iran's trade sector
Buy/sell operations at Iran Mercantile Exchange on the rise
Iran kicks off development of Ramin oil field in Khuzestan Province
Iran reveals amount of loans issued in housing and construction sector
Iranian currency rates for March 8
Iranian banks issue big loans to agricultural sector
Iran boosts development of Zilayi oil field
Iran boosts exports via Zanjan Province
Iran's exports to Azerbaijan not on high enough level - Ali Jahangiri
State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan enters top five most transparent sovereign wealth funds
Large-amount loans issued in Iran's services sector
Excavations at Iran's South Pars gas field continue
Significant work done on water and electricity sectors in Iran – minister
Azerbaijan’s Buta Airways low-cost airline to resume flights from Baku to Ukraine’s Kyiv
Iran implements plan to maintain, increase extraction from several oil fields
Turkmenistan sees increase in trade turnover volumes
Japan government spokesman says timing of Biden-Suga meeting undecided
Exports to Iraq via Mehran crossing top $460m
Kazakhstan’s daily COVID-19 case count stands at 653
Weekly review of Azerbaijani ICT sector highlights
GE nears deal to combine aircraft-leasing unit with AerCap
Reopening schools a "national effort" to beat coronavirus - UK PM
Iran to construct new seaport making it largest in country
France ramps up weekend COVID-19 vaccinations after slow start
U.S. administers 90.35 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines
Swiss agree to outlaw facial coverings in 'burqa ban' vote
UK reports 82 new COVID-19 deaths
White House cites 'active threat,' urges action despite Microsoft patch
Iran's South Pars Gas Company declares gas production volumes
President Ilham Aliyev makes Facebook post on International Women's Day
4 terrorists killed in security forces operations in NW Pakistan
Turkey registers more than 11 180 new coronavirus cases
Iran’s CBI unveils amount of loans issued by banks
Azerbaijani Finance Ministry to auction off interest-bearing bonds
Iran to launch several facilities under city municipalities
Azerbaijan together with McKinsey improving railway sector
Turkmenistan's State Development Bank opens tender for IFRS 9 standard implementation
FIA updates schedule of Formula 1 weekends
Amount of loans issued in Iran's industrial and mining sectors announced
Israel's forex reserves hit record 185.09 bln USD
Review of main events of Azerbaijani financial market for first week of March
Turkey goes zero waste in agriculture
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on March 8
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price rebounds
Uzbekistan takes additional measures to support livestock industries
Iran’s CBI shares report on open market operations
Geostat reveals volume of meat production in Georgia
Reopening schools a "national effort" to beat coronavirus: UK PM
Jordan's PM reshuffles cabinet to accelerate reforms
Turkmenistan's oil refining volumes exceed plan
Kazakhstan increases imports from Hungary in 2020
Iran's interbank interest rate decrease
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
Indonesia reports 5,826 new COVID-19 cases, 112 more deaths
7 killed, 3 missing in floods in northern Algeria
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for March 7
Azerbaijan shows footage from Aghdam's Suma village (VIDEO)
COVID cases up in Turkey’s 3 biggest cities as east enjoys calm
Turkmenistan reveals indicators of construction, industrial sector
Iran launches new projects in Hormozgan Province
Azerbaijan's Mortgage & Credit Guarantee Fund signs tender contract
Russia’s confirmed coronavirus cases grow by 10,595 in past day to 4,322,776
Azerbaijan confirms 127 more COVID-19 recoveries
Bitcoin rises 4.2% to $50,947.94
Georgia reports 234 coronavirus cases, 349 recoveries, 9 deaths
Uzbekneftegaz stabilizes pressure at gas pipelines of Mubarek oil & gas dep’t
Prices on Azerbaijani oil continue to rise
Khazar Consortium opens tender for purchase of steam field unit
Iran to manufacture new wagons and locomotives
Saudi-led coalition destroys 10 Houthi drones
Document on providing all countries with vaccine against COVID-19 adopted under Azerbaijan’s chairmanship in NAM
8 police, 5 militants killed during clashes in N. Afghanistan
Weekly review of Azerbaijani precious metals market
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on March 7
Azerbaijan shows footage from Fuzuli's Garakollu village (VIDEO)
Weekly review of major developments in Azerbaijan's transport sector
S. Korea reports 416 more COVID-19 cases, 92,471 in total
Health Minister: Only WHO approved vaccine to be imported
Turkey records dropping revenues from cement export to Georgia
Iran's customs releases more imported commodities
Turkmenistan shares data on GDP growth rate
New hazelnut processing plant to open in Azerbaijan’s Zagatala
New Zealand's Auckland emerges from lockdown, Australia starts AstraZeneca vaccinations
China exports jump 60.6% y/y in January-February, imports up 22.2%
Brazil registers 1,555 deaths from COVID-19 in 24 hours
All news