79th Academy Awards
|79th Academy Awards|
|Date||February 25, 2007|
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Hosted by||Ellen DeGeneres|
André Leon Talley
|Produced by||Laura Ziskin|
|Directed by||Louis J. Horvitz|
|Best Picture||The Departed|
|Most awards||The Departed (4)|
|Most nominations||Dreamgirls (8)|
|TV in the United States|
|Duration||3 hours, 51 minutes|
23.59% (Nielsen ratings)
The 79th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), honored the best films of 2006 and took place February 25, 2007, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles beginning at 5:30 p.m. PST / 8:30 p.m. EST. During the ceremony, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented Academy Awards (commonly referred to as Oscars) in 24 categories. The ceremony, televised in the United States by ABC, was produced by Laura Ziskin and directed by Louis J. Horvitz. Actress Ellen DeGeneres hosted for the first time. Two weeks earlier in a ceremony at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California held on February 10, the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement were presented by host Maggie Gyllenhaal.
The Departed won four awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Martin Scorsese. Other winners included Pan's Labyrinth with three, An Inconvenient Truth, Dreamgirls, and Little Miss Sunshine with two, and Babel, The Blood of Yingzhou District, The Danish Poet, Happy Feet, The Last King of Scotland, Letters from Iwo Jima, The Lives of Others, Marie Antoinette, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, The Queen, and West Bank Story with one. The telecast garnered nearly 40 million viewers in the United States.
Winners and nominees
The nominees for the 79th Academy Awards were announced on January 23, 2007, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California, by Sid Ganis, president of the Academy, and the actress Salma Hayek. Dreamgirls received the most nominations with eight, and Babel came in second with seven. This marked the first and only occurrence that the film with the most nominations was not a Best Picture nominee.
The winners were announced during the awards ceremony on February 25, 2007. With his latest unsuccessful nomination for Best Actor, Peter O'Toole became the most nominated performer without a competitive win. Best Supporting Actress winner Jennifer Hudson was the fifteenth Oscar acting winner to win for a debut film performance. "I Need to Wake Up" from An Inconvenient Truth became the first song from a documentary film to win Best Original Song.
Honorary Academy Award
- Ennio Morricone — In recognition of his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music.
Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award
Multiple nominations and awards
The following 19 films received multiple nominations:
|The following five films received multiple awards:
Presenters and performers
Presenters (in order of appearance)
|LaFontaine, DonDon LaFontaine
|Announcers for the 79th annual Academy Awards|
|Craig, DanielDaniel Craig
|Presenters of the award for Best Art Direction|
|Gyllenhaal, MaggieMaggie Gyllenhaal||Presenter of the segment of the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement and Gordon E. Sawyer Award|
|Black, JackJack Black
John C. Reilly
|Presenters of the award for Best Makeup|
|Breslin, AbigailAbigail Breslin
|Presenters of the awards for Best Animated Short Film and Best Live Action Short Film|
|Carell, SteveSteve Carell
|Presenters of the award for Best Sound Editing|
|Biel, JessicaJessica Biel
|Presenters of the award for Best Sound Mixing|
|Weisz, RachelRachel Weisz||Presenter of the award for Best Supporting Actor|
|DiCaprio, LeonardoLeonardo DiCaprio
|Gave a special announcement regarding the Academy's plans to help the environment|
|Diaz, CameronCameron Diaz||Presenter of the award for Best Animated Feature|
|Affleck, BenBen Affleck||Presenter of the "Tribute to Screenwriters" montage by Nancy Meyers|
|Hanks, TomTom Hanks
|Presenters of the award for Best Adapted Screenplay|
|Blunt, EmilyEmily Blunt
|Presenters of the award for Best Costume Design|
|Cruise, TomTom Cruise||Presenter of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Sherry Lansing|
|Paltrow, GwynethGwyneth Paltrow||Presenter of the award for Best Cinematography|
|Downey, Jr., RobertRobert Downey, Jr.
|Presenters of the award for Best Visual Effects|
|Deneuve, CatherineCatherine Deneuve
|Presenters of the "60 Years of Best Foreign Language Film Winners" montage by Giuseppe Tornatore|
|Blanchett, CateCate Blanchett
|Presenters of the award for Best Foreign Language Film|
|Clooney, GeorgeGeorge Clooney||Presenter of the award for Best Supporting Actress|
|Bernal, Gael GarcíaGael García Bernal
|Presenters of the award for Best Documentary Short Subject|
|Seinfeld, JerryJerry Seinfeld||Presenter of the award for Best Documentary Feature|
|Eastwood, ClintClint Eastwood||Presenter of the Academy Honorary Award to Ennio Morricone|
|Cruz, PenélopePenélope Cruz
|Presenters of the award for Best Original Score|
|Ganis, SidSid Ganis (AMPAS president)||Presenter of a montage highlighting the Academy's preservation and educational work|
|Dunst, KirstenKirsten Dunst
|Presenters of the award for Best Original Screenplay|
|Lopez, JenniferJennifer Lopez||Introducer of the performances of Best Song nominees "Love You I Do", "Listen", and "Patience"|
|Latifah, QueenQueen Latifah
|Presenters of the award for Best Original Song|
|Smith, WillWill Smith||Introduced a montage of films dealing with American politics by Michael Mann|
|Winslet, KateKate Winslet||Presenter of the award for Best Film Editing|
|Foster, JodieJodie Foster||Presenter of the In Memoriam tribute|
|Hoffman, Philip SeymourPhilip Seymour Hoffman||Presenter of the award for Best Actress|
|Witherspoon, ReeseReese Witherspoon||Presenter of the award for Best Actor|
|Coppola, Francis FordFrancis Ford Coppola
|Presenters of the award for Best Director|
|Keaton, DianeDiane Keaton
|Presenters of the award for Best Picture|
Performers (in order of appearance)
|William RossWilliam Ross||Musical arranger||Orchestral|
|PilobolusPilobolus||Performers||Interpretive depictions of films' titles and logos|
|Black, JackJack Black
John C. Reilly
|Performers||"Comedian at the Oscars"|
|Steve SidwellSteve Sidwell
Sound Effects Choir
|Performers||"Elements & Motion" film sound effects performance|
|Newman, RandyRandy Newman
|Performers||"Our Town" from Cars|
|Etheridge, MelissaMelissa Etheridge||Performer||"I Need to Wake Up" from An Inconvenient Truth|
|Dion, CelineCeline Dion||Performer||"I Knew I Loved You" during the Ennio Morricone tribute|
|Hudson, JenniferJennifer Hudson
|Performers||"Love You I Do" from Dreamgirls|
|Hudson, JenniferJennifer Hudson
|Performers||"Listen" from Dreamgirls|
|Hudson, JenniferJennifer Hudson
Anika Noni Rose
|Performers||"Patience" from Dreamgirls|
Because of the declining viewership of recent Academy Awards ceremonies, the Academy sought ideas to revamp the show while renewing interest with the nominated films. In September 2006, the Academy selected producer Laura Ziskin to oversee production of the telecast for a second time. Nearly three months later, actress and comedian Ellen DeGeneres, who had previously emceed three Primetime Emmy Award ceremonies between 2001 and 2005, was chosen as host of the 2007 ceremony. In an article published in the Los Angeles Times, Ziskin explained the decision to hire DeGeneres saying "Certainly, I believe the presence of Ellen will help the ratings absolutely. She's popular with a very wide audience. She is not a niche performer. She touches a lot of demographics."
AMPAS christened this year's telecast with a theme celebrating movie quotes. In tandem with the theme, advertising agency TBWA\Chiat\Day designed the official ceremony poster featuring 75 quotes from several Oscar-nominated or winning films. To stir interest surrounding the awards, filmmaker Spike Lee released a trailer featuring everyday people around New York City reciting famous film lines. During the ceremony, a montage produced by director Nancy Meyers saluted the work of screenwriters and their contributions to film.
During the telecast, former U.S. Vice President and environmental activist Al Gore, and Best Actor nominee Leonardo DiCaprio announced that AMPAS would incorporate several environmentally and ecologically conscious features into the ceremony. Designed by Frank Webb and Matthew White, the Architectural Digest greenroom where presenters and winners mingled backstage featured several environmentally friendly features such as a rug made of recycled plastic bottles and walls painted without any volatile organic compounds. Other eco-friendly features included the transportation for guests of the awards via hybrid electric vehicles, usage of recyclable paper for ballots and invitations, and serving meals at the Governor's Ball on reusable plates and biodegradable dishware.
Several other people participated in the production of the ceremony. William Ross served as musical director for the ceremony. J. Michael Riva designed a new set and stage design for the ceremony. Voice actor Don LaFontaine was hired with Gina Tuttle as announcers for the telecast. Actor Greg Vaughan and Lucky columnist Allyson Waterman co-hosted "Road to the Oscars", a weekly behind-the-scenes video blog on the Oscar ceremony website. Members of the dance troupe and contortionist group Pilobolus performed interpretive shadow figures representing scenes and logos from the nominated films. Actors Jack Black, Will Ferrell, and John C. Reilly performed a lighthearted musical number written by comedic director Judd Apatow and music composer Marc Shaiman satirizing comedy's lack of recognition at the Academy Awards. Conducted by musician Steve Sidwell, the Sound Effects Choir performed voice effects to a montage of classic films. Another vignette directed by documentary fimmaker Errol Morris featuring several Oscar nominees discussing what it means to be an Oscar nominee was shown at the beginning of the show. Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore assembled a tribute highlighting previous winners of the Best Foreign Language Film. Filmmaker Michael Mann produced a montage highlighting American life through the eyes of cinema.
Box office performance of nominated films
At the time of the nominations announcement on January 23, the combined gross of the five Best Picture nominees was $244 million with an average of $48.7 million per film. The Departed was the highest earner among the Best Picture nominees with $121.7 million in domestic box office receipts. The film was followed by Little Miss Sunshine ($59.6 million), The Queen ($35.6 million), Babel ($23.7 million), and finally Letters from Iwo Jima ($2.4 million).
Of the top 50 grossing movies of the year, 29 nominations went to nine films on the list. Only The Pursuit of Happyness (12th), Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (15th), The Devil Wears Prada (16th), The Departed (17th), and Dreamgirls (28th) were nominated for Best Picture, Best Animated Feature, or any of the directing, acting, or screenwriting awards. The other top 50 box office hits that earned nominations were Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (1st), Cars (2nd), Superman Returns (6th), and Happy Feet (8th).
The show received a mixed reception from media publications. Some media outlets were more critical of the show. Tim Goodman of the San Francisco Chronicle lamented, "It was long. It was flat. And it was bloated. Worst of all, it was boring." He also wrote that "it was difficult for Ellen's subtle rambling to translate because people want pop and humor and declarative sentences in their Academy Awards. Which they didn't exactly get." The Denver Post television critic Joanne Ostrow bemoaned, "Pleasant and innocuous but hardly exciting, DeGeneres forgot the primary Academy Award host directive: It's not about the host. Hollywood's biggest night (and television's second-biggest annual gathering, after the Super Bowl) is a celebration of film." The Washington Post columnist Tom Shales gave an average review for DeGeneres but criticized the overall slow and choppy pacing of the program noting that it was "punishingly too long."
Other media outlets received the broadcast more positively. Columnist Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times lauded DeGeneres's performance writing that she was "cheeky but good-natured, far less barbed and sardonic than Jon Stewart last year or Chris Rock in 2005." She added that her style brought a "casual Friday mood to Fancy Sunday." St. Louis Post-Dispatch television critic Gail Pennington praised host DeGeneres and producer Ziskin for turning "the evening into an upbeat celebration––and the most entertaining Oscars in years." Television editor Dave Kronke of the Los Angeles Daily News gave high marks for DeGeneres commenting, "Her material was amusing but scarcely a laugh riot, yet it was amiable and delineated that the evening was a celebration of all the nominees, not just the winners."
Ratings and reception
The American telecast on ABC drew in an average of 39.92 million people over its length, which was a 2.5% increase from the previous year's ceremony. An estimated 76.72 million total viewers watched all or part of the awards. The show also drew higher Nielsen ratings compared to the previous ceremony with 23.59% of households watching over a 38.86 share. In addition, the program scored a higher 18-49 demo rating with a 14.18 rating over a 33.71 share among viewers in that demographic.
In July 2007, the ceremony presentation received nine nominations at the 59th Primetime Emmys. Two months later, the ceremony won two of those nominations for Outstanding Art Direction (J. Michael Riva, Geoffrey Richman, and Tamlyn Wright) and Outstanding Music Direction (William Ross).
The annual In Memoriam tribute, presented by actress Jodie Foster, honored the following people:
Before the montage was shown, Foster briefly eulogized casting director and Oscar winner Randy Stone who died nearly two weeks before the ceremony.
- 13th Screen Actors Guild Awards
- 27th Golden Raspberry Awards
- 49th Grammy Awards
- 59th Primetime Emmy Awards
- 60th British Academy Film Awards
- 61st Tony Awards
- 64th Golden Globe Awards
- List of submissions to the 79th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
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