Sure, there were a couple of expected winners at the 80th annual Academy Awards, which took place Feb. 24 at Los Angeles' Kodak Theatre—but a pair of surprises added an air of unpredictability to the ceremonies.
As predicted, No Country for Old Men took the Best Picture Oscar, Daniel Day-Lewis won Best Actor ( his second, this time for There Will Be Blood ) and Javier Bardem snagged the Best Supporting Actor award. However, hardly anyone expected Marion Cotillard to win Best Actress for her turn as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose, and no one thought that revered actress Tilda Swinton ( of Constantine and the gay-themed The Deep End of the Ocean ) would win Best Supporting Actress for her role in Michael Clayton.
The acting wins marked just the second time that there was a foreign sweep of the awards—Day-Lewis and Swinton are British, Cotillard is French and Bardem is Spanish. The first time occurred in 1965, according to HollywoodReporter.com; then, Brits Rex Harrison, Julie Andrews and Peter Ustinov won as well as Russian Lila Kedrova.
On the strictly gay side of things, director-producer Cynthia Wade won a Best Documentary ( Short Subject ) Oscar for Freeheld. Freeheld recounts the recent struggle of New Jersey Detective Lt. Laurel Hester to transfer her pension to her domestic partner, Stacie Andree, before Hester's death. ( Read Wade's interview with WCT's own Richard Knight, Jr., at www.WindyCityMediaGroup.com . )
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation ( GLAAD ) released a statement congratulating Ward. 'We are thrilled that this powerful film, one that has the potential to change hearts and minds concerning fairness for gay couples, has been honored tonight with a well-deserved Academy Award,' said GLAAD President Neil Giuliano. 'We congratulate Cynthia Wade on her achievement and say 'bravo' to the Academy for their selection.'
Also, No Country for Old Men co-producer Scott Rudin thanked his partner, John Barlow, by name, and referred to him as 'honey,' according to AfterElton.com .
Jon Stewart hosted the event.