2006 Academy Awards®
Winners and History
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Academy Awards History (By Decade):
Introduction, 1927/8-39, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s
Academy Awards Summaries
Winners Charts:
"Best Picture" Oscar®, "Best Director" Oscar®, "Best Actor" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actor" Oscar®,
"Best Actress" Oscar®, "Best Supporting Actress" Oscar®, "Best Screenplay/Writer" Oscar®

The winner is listed first, in CAPITAL letters.
Best Picture


Babel (2006, Fr./US/Mex.)

Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

The Queen (2006, UK/It./Fr.)

Best Animated Feature Film


Cars (2006)

Monster House (2006)

FOREST WHITAKER in "The Last King of Scotland," Leonardo DiCaprio in "Blood Diamond," Ryan Gosling in "Half Nelson," Peter O'Toole in "Venus," Will Smith in "The Pursuit of Happyness"
HELEN MIRREN in "The Queen," Penelope Cruz in "Volver," Judi Dench in "Notes on a Scandal," Meryl Streep in "The Devil Wears Prada," Kate Winslet in "Little Children"
Supporting Actor:
ALAN ARKIN in "Little Miss Sunshine," Jackie Earle Haley in "Little Children," Djimon Honsou in "Blood Diamond," Eddie Murphy in "Dreamgirls," Mark Wahlberg in "The Departed"
Supporting Actress:
JENNIFER HUDSON in "Dreamgirls," Adriana Barraza in "Babel," Cate Blanchett in "Notes on a Scandal," Abigail Breslin in "Little Miss Sunshine," Rinko Kikuchi in "Babel"
MARTIN SCORSESE for "The Departed," Clint Eastwood for "Letters From Iwo Jima," Stephen Frears for "The Queen," Paul Greengrass for "United 93," Alejandro González Iñárritu for "Babel"

The 2006 nominees continued Hollywood's trend of nominating relatively low-to-modestly budgeted films with ensemble casts and personal subjects, again eschewing big budgeted Hollywood studio epics, though in this year, three of the Best Picture-nominated films were at least partially bankrolled by a major studio. Three of the five films were released by specialty divisions, while director Clint Eastwood's Letters From Iwo Jima was able to be made by a studio, using his reputation to get financing for its narrowly-appealing content.

It was one of the most diverse and international rosters of nominees and winners in recent Academy history. The five films that were nominated for Best Picture had a total of only 26 nominations -- the fewest since 1932/1933 (when 10 films were nominated for the top prize but there were fewer awards categories). No single film received nominations in more than six categories. And the Oscar wins were spread out over numerous films - many received either one or two awards.

As with last year, there was a perceived backlash against flashy, "popcorn" Best Picture nominees and winners. Mega-budget, special effects-heavy box-office blockbusters that received minimal nominations included:

The Best Picture category was an interesting mix of ethnically and linguistically diverse films -- in two of the films, English was a second language. [Note: The most-nominated film with 8 nominations, Dreamgirls, was not a Best Picture nominee. It was the first time ever in Academy history that the film with the most nominations failed to earn a Best Picture slot.] The Best Picture winner was:

The other four Best Picture nominees were:

Time Warner Inc.'s studios (including New Line and Picturehouse), due in part to Pan's Labyrinth (6 nominations and 3 wins) and The Departed (5 nominations and 4 wins), received the most Oscar nominations with 31 (spread out over 11 films), and came away with the top two films with the most wins. Viacom Inc.'s Paramount units (including DreamWorks SKG) had 23 (for 5 nominated films) and Walt Disney Co. had 17. News Corp's Fox studios received 10 nominations, while General Electric Co's Universal Pictures had five for Children of Men and United 93.

There was one Best Picture nominee whose directors were not nominated for Best Director: husband and wife co-directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris for Little Miss Sunshine. Their replacement on the Best Director nominees roster was Paul Greengrass for United 93. If Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris had been nominated as Best Director for Little Miss Sunshine, it would have been only the third time in Oscar history that co-directors would have been nominated on a single film. [Other pairs included Oscar-winning Jerome Robbins and Robert E. Wise for West Side Story (1961) and the Oscar-nominated duo of Warren Beatty and Buck Henry for Heaven Can Wait (1978).]

Once again, the two favored Best Director nominees (Martin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood) from 2004 were rematched again this year in the category. The winner was sentimental favorite 64 year-old Martin Scorsese (his sixth Best Director nomination and his first Oscar win), for the bloody crime film The Departed. He had never won an Oscar despite receiving five previous directorial nominations for Raging Bull (1980), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), GoodFellas (1990), Gangs of New York (2002), and The Aviator (2004), as well as two screenplay nominations for GoodFellas and The Age of Innocence (1993).

The remaining Best Director nominees included:

Three of the year's most-nominated films were the work of Mexican directors. The Mexican directing troika of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuaron took a combined 16 nominations for their films Babel (with seven nominations), Pan's Labyrinth (with six nominations including Best Foreign-Language Film) and Children of Men (with three nominations), respectively. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu was the first Mexican director nominated for the top prize.

Animated films were returning to the box office dominance they enjoyed in the 1950's under Disney, with four of the top 10 grossing films of 2006 being animated films: Cars (#2 in box office), Ice Age: The Meldown (#6 B.O.) (no nominations), Happy Feet (#7 B.O.), and Over the Hedge (#10 B.O.) (no nominations). Weeks before the Academy Award nominations announcement, Luc Besson's strange CGI animated film Arthur and the Invisibles (featuring an eclectic English-language all-star voice cast of Madonna, Robert De Niro, Mia Farrow, Harvey Keitel, Chazz Palminteri, Emilio Estevez, and rapper Snoop Dogg) was declared ineligible (less than 75% of the film was animated), reducing the number of pool of eligible nominees from 16 to 15, which, in compliance with Academy rules, reduced the number of eligible nominees to 3. This effectively removed the chance of having 5 nominees in the Best Animated Feature Film category for the first (and only) time since 2002. All three nominees were CGI-animated films, reversing the previous year's inclusion of no CGI films at all.

Among the three remaining strong contenders, the Animated Feature Film Oscar was won by Warner Bros. and George Miller's rollicking and poignant penguin song-and-dance musical Happy Feet (its sole nomination). Miller earned his first Oscar win after three previous Oscar nominations: for Lorenzo's Oil (1992) (Best Original Screenplay) and twice for Babe (1995) (for Best Picture and Best Screenplay Adaptation). The other two nominees were:

With five African-Americans, two from Spanish-speaking countries and an Asian, it was the most ethnically-diverse lineup ever among the 20 acting nominees. (Also add the three British, one Canadian, and one Aussie performer to make it even more diverse!) Ten of the 20 acting nominees were first-timers. The other 10 nominees shared a total of 49 nominations and three (Streep, Dench and Blanchett) were previous Oscar winners. Of the ten Best Actor and Best Actress nominees, only Helen Mirren was in a Best Picture nominee [Trivia Note: the last time this happened was 75 years earlier in 1931/32, when Wallace Beery was nominated for The Champ (1931/32)]! This year marked only the third time in Oscar history that African-Americans won two of the four acting prizes (it also occurred in 2004 and 2001).

In the Best Actor category, four of the five nominees represented the sole nomination for that picture, and all of them had never won an Oscar. Two were long-time Oscar snubs. It was the third time in Oscar history that two black performers were among the five Best Actor nominees (this also occurred in 2001 and 2004). The winner was 45 year-old Forest Whitaker (with his first nomination and first win) for his hammy portrayal of brutal, infamous Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, who was responsible for the genocide of over 500,000 Ugandans in The Last King of Scotland (its sole nomination). He was the fourth African-American actor to win the Best Actor Oscar.

The remaining candidates for Best Actor included:

In the Best Actress category, three of the five nominees including the favorites - were over 50. The prohibitive favorite and winner for Best Actress was 61 year-old Helen Mirren's (with her third career nomination and first win) astonishing portrayal of current reigning British monarch Queen Elizabeth II in the sleeper hit The Queen, whose popularity hit a nadir during the week following the tragic 1997 death of Lady Diana, former Princess of Wales after a divorce from Prince Charles. This was her first lead nomination after two unsuccessful supporting nominations for The Madness of King George (1994) (as another real-life queen, Queen Charlotte) and Gosford Park (2001). [Ironically, Mirren won the Emmy in the same year for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I in the British television miniseries Elizabeth I (2005)!]

The four other Best Actress nominees were:

None of the performers in the tightly-contested Best Supporting Actor race had ever won an Oscar; they included a longtime Oscar snub, and another earning a nomination after several decades of work since his last recognition. The race was won by:

The four other nominees were:

The Best Supporting Actress category was won by the heavily-favored 25 year-old American Idol star Jennifer Hudson in her powerful film debut as outspoken and brassy cast-away Dreams lead singer and single mother Effie Melody White (based on real-life singer Florence Ballard), in Dreamgirls. She became the third African-American actress to win a Best Supporting Actress Oscar. [Trivia Note: Three other singers received their first nomination for debut roles: Barbra Streisand as Best Actress (win) for Funny Girl (1968), Diana Ross as Best Actress (nom) for Lady Sings the Blues (1972), and Bette Midler as Best Actress (nom) for The Rose (1979). All three actresses portrayed real-life singers as well - Fanny Brice, Billie Holiday, and Mary Rose "The Rose" Foster, based on Janis Joplin.]

The other Best Supporting Actress nominees included two actresses from Babel, each earning a first Oscar career nomination:

The Best Documentary Feature Film category was one of the most hotly contested in Academy Awards history. The nominees included a collection of controversial, politically-charged films and two films which took a hard look at organized religion. The winner experienced a surprising clean-sweep:

The other four nominees were:

The Best Foreign Language Film category included the following five nominees (the winner is listed first):

Three of Dreamgirls' eight nominations were for Best Original Song - this tied the record that was set by Beauty and the Beast (1991) (with one win) and The Lion King (1994) (with one win) - however, its overwhelming odds to win in the category were upset by the documentary An Inconvenient Truth's Best Original Song Oscar win for "I Need to Wake Up".

The Honorary Lifetime Achievement Oscar went to 78 year-old famed Italian composer Ennio Morricone, best known for scoring Sergio Leone's films - in particular the spaghetti western "Man With No Name" trilogy including: A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966). Other Leone films he scored included Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), A Fistful of Dynamite (1971), and Once Upon a Time in America (1984). He had five unsuccessful Academy Award nominations for Days of Heaven (1978), The Mission (1986), The Untouchables (1987), Bugsy (1991) and Malena (2000).

Oscar Snubs and Omissions:

Some of the most critically acclaimed films of the year and their directors went unhonored for Best Picture. The most shocking Best Picture omission was for Dreamgirls, which earned 8 Oscar nominations, considering its previous win as the Best Musical or Comedy for the Golden Globes awards. Un-nominated director Bill Condon's film was a lavish and vibrant screen adaptation of Michael Bennett's popular Broadway musical about a trio of soul singers The Dreams, in a thinly veiled roman a clef of the real Motown singing group The Supremes.

[Note: Dreamgirls received eight Oscar nominations, the most of any nominee, without a Best Picture nomination, and came away with only two wins: Best Supporting Actress, and Best Sound Mixing. Only They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969) had more Oscar nominations (9) without a Best Picture nomination, but it didn't have the most Oscar nominations in its year of competition. In the same year, Anne of a Thousand Days (1969) had more nominations (10), but it was nominated for Best Picture. Therefore, Dreamgirls with 8 nominations set a major record - it was the first-time ever in Academy history that the film with the most nominations failed to earn a Best Picture slot.] Pan's Labyrinth earned 6 nominations and 3 Oscars (Best Art Direction/Set Decoration, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup) and Blood Diamond earned 5 nominations (with no wins) - both without a Best Picture nomination.

Other major Best Director/Best Picture omissions included:

Other worthy Best Picture nominees included Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, Casino Royale, Overlord, Half Nelson, The Proposition, Infamous, Stranger Than Fiction, and The History Boys.

The biggest un-nominated acting roles included:

Other notable acting snubs included:

There were some major omissions among the Best Song nominations - - including Chris Cornell's hard-driven song "You Know My Name" from Casino Royale, and songs from two animated films: Prince's "Song of the Heart" in Happy Feet, and any of Ben Folds' original, insightful songs, including "Family of Me" and "Still" in Over the Hedge.

Documentary Film omissions included:

The biggest Foreign Language Film omission was the domestic crisis drama Volver (Sp.) - it had been considered a possible front-runner for the Foreign Language Film prize. It was also not nominated for Best Director (Pedro Almodovar).

Other notable Foreign Language Film omissions included:

The biggest Animated Feature Film snub of the year was DreamWorks/PDI's CGI-animated Over the Hedge, a clever adaptation of the newspaper comic strip about con-artist raccoon R. J. (voice of Bruce Willis) who tricks a group of forest animals led by cautious turtle Verne (voice of Garry Shandling) into stealing food from a suburb.

Other notable Animated Feature Film omissions included:

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