2007 Academy Awards®
Winners and History
Introduction, 1927/8-39, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s
Academy Awards Summaries
"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 pesky, long-running writer's strike ended approximately two weeks before the Oscar ceremony (the 80th annual show), ending speculation about whether there would be an awards ceremony or not.
The most profitable box-office blockbusters of 2007 were not well represented or were conspicuously missing in the lists of nominees and winners, such as Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (with two nominations), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Transformers (with three nominations), I Am Legend, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and The Simpsons Movie. The immensely successful The Bourne Ultimatum from director Paul Greengrass, the third film in the thriller Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) trilogy, was an exception: it received three Oscar wins from its three nominations in technical categories (with wins for Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Film Editing).
This marked the third consecutive year in which the Best Picture-nominated films were not big-budget studio pictures, and there were no obvious frontrunners, although No Country For Old Men had the edge. Nominees were mostly financed by outsiders and released by specialty divisions, meaning that they were artistic, creative and daring modestly-budgeted films from maverick film directors, for the most part. All five films were made for budgets of $30 million or less, about a third of the cost for a normal studio production (and Juno cost only $2.5 million!). Four of the five nominees for the top prize were films released by studio specialty divisions. [Note: the one exception was Michael Clayton, which was released by Warner Bros., but financed and bankrolled by a private individual.]
Two Best Picture nominees had eight nominations apiece (both were American productions), and two had seven nominations apiece. The two nominees with the most nominations picked up multiple awards. Of the five bleak-themed nominees, there was only one feel-good comedy (an independent film which had the largest box-office of the films at the time of the nominations' announcement and after the awards were presented, and became Fox Searchlight's top-grossing movie of all time). The winning Best Picture marked the fourth consecutive year in which a film set in modern times won the top prize - a first for the Oscars!
The Best Picture winner was the Coen Brothers' 12th film, the violent thriller-drama and contemporary western chase movie No Country for Old Men (with eight nominations, including four wins for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor), an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel about a hunter (Josh Brolin) who stole cash from a bad drug deal and then was relentlessly pursued. It was the Coen's first film based entirely on a novel.
The other Best Picture nominees were:
Normally, the nominated directors of Best Picture nominees match up fairly well. This time, Joe Wright was snubbed for a directorial nomination for Atonement, and was replaced by a nod to American director Julian Schnabel for his French film - an unconventional and uplifting biopic titled The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (with no wins). It would be rare for Schnabel to win Best Director without a Best Picture nomination.
All of the Best Director nominees were first-time nominees, except for winner Joel Coen, who had previously received multiple nominations for Fargo (1996), and Tony Gilroy's nomination was for his directorial debut feature film (he had previously co-written the Bourne films). Paul Thomas Anderson had previously been nominated twice for Best Original Screenplay, for Boogie Nights (1997) and Magnolia (1999). The dual directing nomination for the Coens was the first time a sibling team had been nominated in the category (and to date, the last Best Picture-winning film to have more than one credited director):
It was notable that four of the ten Oscar-nominated scripts this year were written by females - for their individual screenplays, and they were all first-time nominees. The winners of the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar were directors/scripters the Coen Brothers for No Country for Old Men. Other nominees in the category included director/scriptwriter Paul Thomas Anderson for There Will Be Blood, writers Christopher Hampton for Atonement and Ronald Harwood for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and 28 year-old Sarah Polley for the sensitive marital drama Away From Her about Alzheimer's disease and its effect upon an aging couple: Fiona Andersson (Julie Christie) and husband Grant (Gordon Pinsent). The winner of the Best Original Screenplay Oscar was for ex-stripper/scriptwriter pen-named Diablo Cody for Juno. The other nominees were Tamara Jenkins for The Savages, Nancy Oliver for Lars and the Real Girl, writers/directors Tony Gilroy for Michael Clayton, and Brad Bird (with his second Oscar win for Best Animated Feature Film - he won his first Oscar in the same category for The Incredibles (2004)) for Ratatouille (with five nominations, but not one for Best Song, although it won Best Animated Feature Film).
The Best Documentary Feature category had 5 strong nominees, four of which dealt with warfare or the effects of war. The category was won, in an upset, by director Alex Gibney's Taxi to the Dark Side, a searing indictment of the government's illegal use of torture in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay - it focused on the death of innocent Afghan taxi driver Dilawar who was brutally tortured to death after being targeted as a terrorist (by a real terrorist). [The film's title was derived from VP Dick Cheney's line after the 9/11 attack: "We have to work the dark side." Gibney also helmed the Oscar-nominated Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005) and was the executive producer of No End in Sight.]
The other Best Documentary Feature nominees included the two front-runners:
Tremendous controversy surrounded the selection of nominees for Best Foreign Language Film. The winner in the category was Fälscher, Die (aka The Counterfeiters) (Austria) - the strong favorite, about Nazis during the Holocaust recruiting an imprisoned Russian-Jewish mobster/forger to produce fake foreign currency. The other four nominees were: 12 (Russia) - a remake of 12 Angry Men (1957), Beaufort (Israel), Katyn (Poland), and Mongol (Kazakhstan).
Ten of the 20 acting nomination slots went to British-Canadian-Irish (two winners were British/Irish) and Australian performers, to Frenchwoman Marion Cotillard (win), and to Spanish-born actor Javier Bardem (win).
European (non-American) performers took all four prizes in the acting competitions - the last time (and only other time) this occurred was for films in the year 1964.
The Best Actor winner was the favorite: 50 year-old Irish actor Daniel Day-Lewis (with his fourth Best Actor nomination and fourth career nomination, and second Best Actor Oscar) for his performance as successful but evil silver prospector and oil-catter Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood [Note: Daniel Day-Lewis won the Best Actor Oscar for My Left Foot (1989), and was also nominated as Best Actor for In the Name of the Father (1993) and Gangs of New York (2002)].
The other Best Actor nominees were:
The Best Actress winner was an upset win for 32 year-old French actress Marion Cotillard (with her first nomination and Oscar win) for her role as famed tempestuous singer Edith Piaf (Piaf's recordings were lip-synched by Cotillard) in co-writer/director Olivier Dahan's La Vie en Rose (Fr.) (aka La Môme) (with three nominations and two wins for Best Makeup and Best Actress, and a nomination for Best Costume Design).
[Note: It was the first acting Oscar awarded to a French-language film. She was only the third performer in a Foreign Language film to win one of the Academy’s acting prizes, following Sophia Loren in Two Women (1960, It.) and Roberto Benigni in Life Is Beautiful (1997, It.). And she became the fifth performer to win for a performance that was not completely in English, following previous Oscar winners: Benicio Del Toro in Traffic (2000), Roberto Benigni in Life Is Beautiful (1997, It.), Robert De Niro in The Godfather: Part II (1974), and Sophia Loren in Two Women (1960, It.). Cotillard's win was also the seventh lead actress win in the last nine Oscars for a portrayal of a real person.]
The other Best Actress nominees were:
The Best Supporting Actor winner was the favorite, 38 year-old Spanish-born actor Javier Bardem (with his second nomination and first Oscar win, following a Best Actor nomination for Before Night Falls (2000)) as cold-blooded assassin and deranged killer Anton Chigurh (with the catchphrase: "Call it") in No Country for Old Men.
The other Best Supporting Actor nominees were:
The Best Supporting Actress winner was a surprise upset for 47 year-old British actress Tilda Swinton (with her first nomination and Oscar win) as the chemical company's chief in-house counsel Karen Crowder - an ambitious, fiendish, but insecure and neurotic litigating rival of Michael Clayton (George Clooney) in Michael Clayton.
The other Best Supporting Actress nominees were:
Oscar Snubs and Omissions:
Sean Penn's fourth directorial feature Into the Wild received only two nominations, and he was denied a nomination as Best Director. And director Ridley Scott's American Gangster also received only two nominations. Although Sweeney Todd had three nominations overall (and won only for Best Art Direction), its director Tim Burton (who has never been nominated as Best Director) was overlooked, as was director David Fincher for Zodiac, longtime Oscar-snubbed director David Cronenberg for Eastern Promises, and 83 year-old Sidney Lumet for his best directorial work since The Verdict (1982) with Before the Devil Knows You're Dead.
Three of the big-budgeted studio productions of the year with large marketing campaigns were denied Writing, Directing, and Best Picture nominations:
Director Andrew Dominik for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (with two nominations) and Sarah Polley for Away from Her (with only two nominations) were also denied Best Picture/Best Director nominations. Another major Best Picture snub was for the universally-praised, untraditional musical and sleeper film from Irish writer/director John Carney titled Once (with only one nomination, a win for Best Original Song Falling Slowly), which drew comparisons to Brief Encounter (1946).
Director Adam Shankman's musical Hairspray, about a chubby girl named Tracy (Nikki Blonsky in her screen debut) who racially-integrated a 1960s TV dance show through her participation - and with John Travlota (in drag in a dress) and Christopher Walken as her parents, received multiple nominations and awards - but no Oscar recognition. Also, The Simpsons Movie was missing from the short list in the Best Animated Feature Film category. Writer/director Garth Jennings' coming-of-age comedy-drama Son of Rambow (2008, UK) about two English schoolboys recreating the Rambo film First Blood was neglected.
Two of the most highly-regarded foreign films of the year were not among the five nominees for Best Foreign Language Film:
Other possible nominees might have been Silent Light (Mexico) and Secret Sunshine (Korea).
Snubs for Best Actor included Philip Seymour Hoffman as squabbling sibling Jon Savage in The Savages and as older scheming brother Andy Hanson in Sidney Lumet's Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, but he was nominated instead for his supporting role in Charlie Wilson's War. Other snubs were for Emile Hirsch as the adventurous young student Christopher McCandless who embarked on a two-year odyssey that ended tragically in the Alaskan wilderness in Denali National Park in 1992 in Into the Wild, James McAvoy as doomed suitor Robbie Turner (for Keira Knightley as Cecilia Tallis) in Atonement, Casey Affleck as private investigator Patrick Kenzie searching for a missing girl in Boston in Gone Baby Gone, Ryan Gosling as introverted, sex doll-loving computer geek Lars Lindstrom, similar to Jimmy Stewart's Harvey, in Lars and the Real Girl, Denzel Washington as 1970s Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas and heroin smuggler (in coffins of Vietnam war victims) in American Gangster and as real-life 1930s small-town Texas Wiley College professor Melvin B. Tolson, the charismatic leader of the school's debate team in his own directed film The Great Debaters, Mathieu Amalric as paralyzed real-life editor of French magazine Elle Jean-Dominque Bauby who suffered a stroke at the age of 43 in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Frank Langella as reclusive author Leonard Schiller in writer/director Andrew Wagner's Starting Out in the Evening, Josh Brolin as ruthlessly-pursued hunter Llewelyn Moss in No Country for Old Men, Jack Nicholson as adventurous terminally-ill patient Edward Cole in director Rob Reiner's The Bucket List, Brad Pitt as outlaw Jesse James in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Russell Crowe as outlaw Ben Wade in director James Mangold's 3:10 to Yuma (the remake of the 1957 western), Tom Hanks as renegade 1980s Texas politician Rep. Charlie Wilson who used his post on an intelligence committee to wage a war against the Sovets in Afghanistan in Charlie Wilson's War, Benicio del Toro as Jerry Sunborne in Susanne Bier's domestic drama Things We Lost in the Fire, John Cusack as Iraqi war widower Stanley Philipps in James Strouse's Grace is Gone, Christian Bale as real-life German-born American fighter pilot and 1960s Laos POW Dieter Dengler in Rescue Dawn and as rancher Dan Evans in 3:10 to Yuma, Don Cheadle as real-life ex-con-turned-radio talk show host and 1960s community activist Ralph Waldo "Petey" Greene Jr. in Kasi Lemmons' biopic Talk to Me, Tony Leung Chiu Wai as Japanese collaborator Mr. Yee in director Ang Lee's Chinese-language, WWII-era Shanghai sexy NC-17 rated spy thriller Lust, Caution (with no nominations), Khalid Abdalla as expatriate Afghani Amir who returned to his ravaged homeland in director Marc Forster's The Kite Runner, and Steve Carell as sensitive, widowed father Dan Burns of three in love with his younger brother Mitch's (Dane Cook) girlfriend Marie (Juliette Binoche) in director Peter Hedges' Dan in Real Life.
Snubs for Best Supporting Actor included Tommy Lee Jones as weary Sheriff Ed Tom Bell searching for good ol' boy hunter Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) targeted by drug dealers for stealing $2 million of drug money in No Country for Old Men, although he did receive a Best Actor nomination for In the Valley of Elah, Jack Black as unemployed artist Malcolm (Jennifer Jason Leigh's fiancee) in Noah Baumbach's Margot at the Wedding, Philip Bosco as ailing father Lenny Savage in The Savages, Vincent Cassel as enforcer Kirill in Eastern Promises, Russell Crowe as detective Richie Roberts in American Gangster, Tom Cruise as Senator Jasper Irving in Lions for Lambs, Paul Dano as religious figure Eli Sunday in There Will Be Blood, Robert Downey, Jr. as Paul Avery in Zodiac, Chiewetel Ejiofor as radio program director Dewey Hughes in Talk to Me, Ben Foster as Charlie Prince in 3:10 to Yuma, Albert Finney as victimized parent Charles Hanson in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Andy Griffith as Old Joe in Adrienne Shelly's Waitress, Ed Harris as Det. Remy Bressant in Gone Baby Gone, Ethan Hawke as younger brother Hank Hanson in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Heath Ledger as young NY actor Robbie Clark in I'm Not There, Omar Metwally as Egyptian terrorism suspect Anwar El-Ibrahimi who went missing in Rendition, Sydney Pollack as the firm's co-founder Marty Bach in Michael Clayton, Robert Redford as Professor Stephen Malley in Lions for Lambs, Max von Sydow as widower father Papinou in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, John Travolta as Tracy's mother Edna Turnblad in Hairspray, and Forest Whitaker as Dr. James Farmer, Sr. in The Great Debaters.
Snubs for Best Actress included Angelina Jolie for her performance as Mariane Pearl, the French wife of an American journalist brutally killed in Pakistan in A Mighty Heart, Keira Knightley for her role as Cecilia Tallis, the older conflicted sister of her accusing sibling in Atonement, Helena Bonham Carter (director Burton's wife) as London pie seller Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, Amy Adams as fairy tale princess Giselle who was banished by evil Queen Narissa (Susan Sarandon) from her animated kingdom and reappeared vulnerable and clueless in modern-day Manhattan in Enchanted, Jodie Foster as vengeful assaulted woman Erica Bain in The Brave One, Czech actress Marketa Irglova as a Czech émigré in the low-budget Irish film Once, Keri Russell (in her first lead role) as small Southern diner waitress Jenna in Waitress, and newcomer Tang Wei as Mr. Yee's seductive Mata Hari mistress Wong Chia Chi/Mrs. Mak in Ang Lee's Lust, Caution.
Snubs for Best Supporting Actress included Jennifer Jason Leigh (never nominated!) as engaged, free-spirited fiancee Pauline in a dysfunctional family ruled by her opinionated and hateful sister Margot (Nicole Kidman) in Margot at the Wedding, Marie-Josee Croze as Henriette Durand in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Jennifer Garner as 'perfect' adoptive parent Vanessa Loring in Juno, Catherine Keener as modern day hippie Jan Burres in Into the Wild, Queen Latifah as Motormouth Maybelle in Hairspray, Olympia Dukakis as Alzheimer's 'widow' Marian in Away From Her, Susan Sarandon as distraught wife and mother Joan Deerfield in In the Valley of Elah, Fernanda Montenegro as maternal Alzheimer's sufferer Tránsito Ariza in Love in the Time of Cholera, Meryl Streep as experienced reporter Janine Roth in Lions for Lambs, Emily Mortimer as sister-in-law Karin Lindstrom in the offbeat comedy Lars and the Real Girl, Julia Roberts as Communist-hating Texas socialite Joanne Herring promoting the funding of a secret war in Afghanistan in the 1980s in Charlie Wilson's War, Emmanuelle Seigner as paralyzed Elle French magazine editor Jean-Dominque Bauby's ex-wife Céline Desmoulins in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and Kate Winslet as foul-mouthed harlot Tula in director John Turturro's musical Romance & Cigarettes.