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Last Updated: Monday, 25 February 2008, 10:15 GMT
The Oscars 2008



By Caroline Briggs
BBC News entertainment reporter, Los Angeles

Caroline Briggs

The eyes of the film world were fixed on Los Angeles for the 80th Academy Awards ceremony at the Kodak Theatre.

The BBC's Caroline Briggs reported from Hollywood on the film industry's biggest night of the year.

0200 LOCAL TIME MONDAY (1000 GMT)

Well... that's it. The Oscars, and all the glitz and glamour that goes with it is over for another year.

The celebrities have rushed off to party with Elton or Madonna, and I've turned in for the night, kicked my heels off, and packed the posh frock away. Rock 'n' roll, eh?

It was a ceremony lacking in surprises and I don't think it will be remembered for anything other than the year it was nearly cancelled because of the writers' strike.

While the films were great, there were no big multiple winners, or left-field decisions to keep people on the edge of their seats.

And while the dresses were all very lovely, there was little there to make anyone gasp in awe. And where was the controversial speech?

Questions were also raised in the press room at the quality of the show's witting. Was there simply not enough time to turn around a quality show after the strike? We'll see when the ratings come in.

But the night belonged to the Coen brothers, and you can't take that moment away from them.

1945 LOCAL TIME (0345 GMT MONDAY)

It's a fairytale ending for Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova who have just won best original song for Falling Slowly.

They starred in low-budget Irish film Once. It was filmed in just three weeks and went on to wow the audience at the Sundance Film Festival.

During filming, director John Carney made a joke that the song would win an Oscar. How prophetic.

"What are we doing here? It's mad," said Hansard as he collected the Oscar with Irglova.

He then humbly thanked everyone involved in the project.

"That guy is so arrogant," quipped Jon Stewart afterwards.

1920 LOCAL TIME (0320 GMT MONDAY)

Glen Hansard remembered the lyrics to his song Falling Slowly. Phew!

He told me earlier that his greatest fear was getting on stage in front of a "gazillion" people and forgetting the words. Well done Glen!

1915 LOCAL TIME (0315 GMT MONDAY)

So Marion Cotillard beat Julie Christie to the best actress actress award.

The 32-year-old plays French singer Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose to perfection. She also has the honour of becoming the first French actress ever to be awarded the best actress Oscar.

Christie had been the favourite to take the prize, but her chances seemed to diminish after Cotillard beat her to the Bafta earlier this month.

1900 LOCAL TIME (1500 GMT MONDAY)

Tilda Swinton has come backstage with her best supporting actress Oscar. She told the BBC that she was "stoked" at winning the award for Michael Clayton.

"I think it is fantastic, completely astonishing and I'm amazed I'm still standing," she laughed.

Swinton said she she was struggling to come to terms with the news.

"You could tell me my dress had fallen off and I'd believe you right now," she said.

1835 LOCAL TIME (0235 GMT MONDAY)

Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman with 'Peter'
Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman with 'Peter'
Suzie Templeton triumphed for her short animated film Peter and the Wolf, but sadly Daniel Barber and Matthew Brown lost out in the best live action short category.

Their film The Tonto Woman was beaten by French entry Le Mozart des Pickpockets.

1745 LOCAL TIME (0145 GMT MONDAY)

Wow! Johnny Depp; George Clooney; Renee Zellweger; Cameron Diaz; John Travolta; Nicole Kidman... I've seen so many stars tonight I'm feeling dizzy.

Being on the red carpet at the Oscars was everything I thought it would be - the jewels were expensive, the dresses amazing, and the crowds very noisy.

George Clooney was one of the first A-listers to arrive and proved the perfect crowd pleaser - and was also happy to turn on his charm for the press.

He came over and joked about his best actor rival, Daniel Day-Lewis.

"That guy?... I hate that guy!" he said. "Have you seen him anywhere?"

Atonement's James McAvoy said he spent just "five minutes" getting ready for his red carpet moment. Equally succinct was Johnny Depp when asked what he was wearing. "Clothes," he said. How very droll.

The ladies made more of an effort. Supermodel Heidi Klum looked stunning in a red John Galliano outfit, while Renee Zellweger was dressed in her trademark Caroline Herrera. Marion Cotillard looked suspiciously like a mermaid.

Teenager Saoirse Ronan, who is nominated for best supporting actress for Atonement, said she wanted to wear a green dress "because I'm Irish". She added that she was excited to see "all the cool guys and the cool girls" on the red carpet.

Juno's Jason Bateman said he was "pretty starstruck" at his first Oscars ceremony, adding that being there was "much better than the couch and the comfy socks".

But he said he expected to stay "firmly in his seat" when the best picture winner is announced at the end of the ceremony.

Glen Hansard, who is nominated to best song for the film Once, told me he planned to party hard and down a pint of Guinness after the ceremony, regardless of the outcome. He told me he was looking forward to meeting best actor nominee Daniel Day-Lewis.

I was also chuffed to meet short film nominee Daniel Barber, who is keeping a diary for BBC News. He said he had worn a hole in his shoe from pacing the floor with nerves.

"It was really weird when I arrived on the red carpet," he said. "Everyone was shouting 'Daniel, Daniel'... but I don't think it was me they wanted."

1330 LOCAL TIME SUNDAY (1930 GMT)

Well... I'm all set for my red carpet moment.

I had a couple of dresses to choose from, and in the end I plumped for stylist Alex Fullerton's advice of a Grecian-style column dress, teamed with fabulous jewels (thanks mum!).

Caroline Briggs

Yesterday I also learned the star's best red carpet weapon - big pants. I'm saying nothing...

I have to be in place on the red carpet a couple of hours before the stars arrive, which gives me plenty of time to become freezing cold, and establish blisters on my frostbitten toes.

The make-up may be on my face now, but guaranteed it will have slipped to my knees by tonight.

Put it this way, I don't think Angelina is going to be too worried by the competition. Who said this was glamorous...?

But I am looking forward to seeing all the A-listers sashay their way to the Kodak Theater and find out who looks great (and who doesn't).

Wish me luck... I'm going in...

1100 LOCAL TIME SUNDAY (1900 GMT)

I popped down to the red carpet to see how the final preparations are coming along, only to find hundreds of journalists and TV crews jostling with security and red carpet cleaners for space.

Security is tight. Very tight. I was escorted by a press officer who took a dislike to my camera when I was interviewing the mass of fans on the bleachers - the stands which line the red carpet.

It is their job to make some noise, and whoop with delight as the stars make their way up the red carpet. There was very little whooping, and a lot of free doughnut munching, when I was there. I'm sure the sight of Johnny Depp will stop that.

Glenice Churchill, 77, has been an annual fixture on the bleachers for 39 years.

"Bleacher"  Glenice Churchill
Oscars "bleacher" Glenice Churchill

This year she is wearing a red jumper emblazoned with "Bleacher Creature"... just in case we didn't know.

"I've been coming so long that I've just about seen all of the stars," she told me, "but I'm really looking forward to see George Clooney this year.

"Everyone asks me why I keep on coming back, but it has got to be such a habit now that I wouldn't want to change it for the world.

"I love to see all the stars, and see their clothes and hairstyles. We have such a good time waiting for it to start too so I don't mind the long wait. There is so much to see on the red carpet, and there is a great atmosphere."

Oscars "bleacher" Sara Golden
Sara Golden, (centre), regular bleacher since 1986

Sara Golden, 84, is perhaps one of the oldest people on the bleachers. She was born in Los Angeles, and has been a regular face on the stands since 1986.

This year she is with her grown-up daughters, Robin and Beverley.

"I have always liked seeing stars in real life when I get the chance," she said.

"George Clooney came over last year to say 'hello', and Will Smith, who took a picture and everything - very friendly."

Last year Robin wore home-made Will Smith earrings. This year it is George Clooney who has the honour of happily swinging from her earlobes...

I'm happy to say that the rain has stopped, the sun is shining on Los Angeles, and even the Hollywood sign, high up on the hills behinds us, has popped out to say hello after being shrouded in dark clouds this morning.

Let's hope it stays that way.

It's time for me to get my glad rags on and head off to the red carpet...

2345 LOCAL TIME SATURDAY (0745 SUNDAY)

I'm back from the legendary Beverly Hills Hotel where I just had to try one of their special Oscar cocktails.

The Juno
The Juno cocktail is an alcoholic frozen Blue Slushee

Every year bartenders in The Polo Lounge - which has played host to Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe - draws up a menu of original cocktails inspired by the best picture nominees.

To honour No Country For Old Men, the bar staff came up with Blood and Sand - a concoction of Johnny Walker Red, cherry brandy, sweet vermouth and a splash of orange juice.

There Will Be Blood is a mix of Texas Tea: gin, vodka, rum, tequila, Cointreau, orange juice, sour mix and a splash of cola, on the rocks.

Atonement seems a little less appetising. The drink, called Bound by Love, is made with sloe gin, Chambord, lemon juice and egg white, while the bartenders came up with the Fixer for Michael Clayton - a blend of amaretto, cognac, cherry brandy and cream strained over ice.

I plumped for a Juno - an adult-only frozen Blue Slushee made with Stoli raspberry vodka, blue curacao, lemonade and ice.

In the film, Ellen Page's pregnant character throws up her blue slushee drink into her step-mother's urn, and the bar tender at The Polo Lounge helpfully offered to get me an ice bucket in case I wanted to do the same!

He told me the There Will Be Blood cocktail was proving the most popular at the bar, but he wouldn't be drawn on whether the Academy would vote the same way for the film...

Later lots of A-list celebrities arrived at the hotel for the exclusive pre-Oscars "Night Before" party, where security was tight.

Orlando Bloom mingled with Harrison Ford, Harvey Weinstein, Courtney Cox and Meg Ryan at what was undoubtedly the most exclusive bash of the evening.

1900 LOCAL TIME SATURDAY (0300 GMT SUNDAY)

I chatted to Melanie Bromley, the West Coast Bureau Chief of US Weekly magazine, about where the A-listers will celebrate after tomorrow night's ceremony.

Vanity Fair cancelled their annual bash after the writer's strike threatened to derail the whole event, and they were quickly followed by uber Hollywood agent Patrick Whitesell, who also scrapped his celebrations.

While the official Governor's Ball will still be held near the Kodak Theater, two megastars have unexpectedly stepped in to offer the big stars and exciting alternative.

"When the Vanity Fair party was cancelled it looked like all the glamour had been wiped out of this year's ceremony," said Bromley.

"But if it is your big night, and you're wearing a fantastic dress, there is no way you want to go home at midnight. That would be far too Cinderella-ish.

"So both Madonna and Prince have stepped into the breech, with hastily arranged parties in the Hollywood Hills. All the big A-listers will be going there."

"It really redefines a whole new era in post-Oscar parties."

But what effect has the writers' strike had on the whole atmosphere of this year's Oscars? BBC Oscar veterans have assured me there is a definite lack of Oscar "buzz" in Hollywood this year.

"The writers' strike had a big impact on the local economy," added Bromley.

"Many people do not want to be seen clinking champagne glasses such a short time after people have been out of work, and while I think we will see some big dresses on the red carpet, I think most people will want to pare things back a little."

1620 LOCAL TIME, SATURDAY (0020 GMT, SUNDAY)

There were very few surprises at the Independent Spirit Awards with Juno taking three awards home.

It seems everyone has fallen in love with the little film about a pregnant teenager who tries to find the perfect parents for her unborn child.

Juno star Ellen Page - who turned 21 yesterday - was there to collect her best actress award, while a blooming Cate Blanchett accepted hers for best supporting actress.

She said the chance to play Bob Dylan in I'm Not There was a "terrifying" challenge, but she relished the chance to swap gender roles.

Cate Blanchett

Blanchett also played down her Oscar chances, joking, "what's happening tomorrow?"

I also got the chance to congratulate Glen Hansard - who I interviewed earlier in the week - after his film Once won best foreign film.

He responded with a cheery OK sign and a wink, and then gave his co-star - and girlfriend - Marketa Irglova a big hug.

The Independent Spirit Awards are incredibly laid-back compared with the Oscars, which will take place tomorrow.

During the ceremony Dustin Hoffman joked that Philip Seymour Hoffman was a product of his lovemaking with No Country For Old Men's Javier Bardem.

And the whole ceremony concluded with a play fight between host Rainn Wilson and Seymour Hoffman. Imagine THAT happening at the Kodak Theatre? Thought not.

I followed Seymour Hoffman and Diablo Cody out of the press tent at the end of the ceremony, and everyone they passed warmly congratulated them.

As I left, I spotted Sienna Miller, with cigarette firmly clamped between fingers, heading towards the after party.

These celebrities need a lot of stamina to survive Oscar week. I just need a lot of sleep.

SATURDAY 23 FEBRUARY, 1330 LOCAL TIME (2130 GMT)

Did I say the sun was shining? I lied. It is now absolutely throwing it down, and the rain is hammering off the press tent we are all ensconced in. It's freezing too - just like being back at home.

Luckily for the stars, they all arrived before the rain.

As expected all the big nominees are here - Blanchett for I'm Not There, Page for Juno - and Brit actress Sienna Miller was among them.

She told the BBC that she wasn't planning to go to tomorrow's Oscar ceremony and would watch it at home instead with "a roast chicken and bottle of wine".

Tom Wilkinson, who is nominated for an Oscar in the best supporting actor category for Michael Clayton, admitted he will be going to the Oscars without his wife by his side tomorrow night.

Instead, she will be performing with a community theatre group in the less glamorous surroundings of Watford.

SATURDAY 23 FEBRUARY, 1130 LOCAL TIME (1930 GMT)

So it was Lindsay Lohan's year! The actress's film I Know Who Killed Me racked up a Razzie record- breaking nine wins, including worst film.

Playing two characters - who may or may not- have been twins secured Ms Lohan not one, but two, worst actress statuettes.

Eddie Murphy was another record-breaker by becoming the first performer to ever to win three of the four worst acting trophies in a single year for Norbit.

Sadly, neither Lohan nor Murphy turned up to collect their prize. I wonder why?

John Wilson
Razzies organiser John Wilson said Lohan's film deserved to win

The atmosphere in the ceremony was light-hearted and cheerful, and the audience laughed out loud at some of the worst film clips. Academy Awards it wasn't.

Razzies organiser John Wilson told me I Know Who Killed Me thoroughly deserved its award.

"It begins as a mystery and ends as a mystery," he said. "It makes no sense at all, there is no logic to it.

"You get the feeling they put the film pieces in a blender and turned it on puree and that's how they edited. It was just a mess."

He also described Norbit as a "pretty sick little movie".

Well the sun is shining outside and I'm off down to the beach now for the more serious Independent Spirit Awards, which honour the best in independent movie making.

Cate Blanchett, Ellen Page, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Sienna Miller are all expected to turn up, so it should be a star-studded affair.

SATURDAY 23 FEBRUARY, 0945 LOCAL TIME (1745 GMT)

I'm in Los Angeles for what is surely the highlight of the film industry year... the Razzies.

While the build-up for another award ceremony continues up the road in Hollywood, the eyes of the world's media are planted firmly on a small venue near the beach in Santa Monica.

Lindsay Lohan, Eddie Murphy, Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler are among those nominated for the least-coveted prize in Hollywood - the gold spray-painted $4.89 Golden Raspberry.

But it remains to be seen whether Lohan et al will turn up to see if they have won their awards. In the recent past, Halle Berry and Tom Green have turned up to collect their dubious prizes.

Murphy has received a record five nominations for his role in Norbit, while Lohan has pulled off a feat of the first ever double worst actress nod.

She plays twins in the film I Know Who Killed Me, which has been nominated for a total of nine awards.

Chris Kulik, Razzie member and self-confessed movie buff has flown from Virginia to be here. He told me I Know Who Killed me deserved to win worst film because it simply has the "worst acting, directing and writing of the year".

I've seen it too (all in the name of research) and the tale of an identical twin whose arm falls off when a psychopathic serial killer does the same to her sister is a little hard to digest without giggling.

Let the annual dishonouring of Hollywood's movie industry begin.





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