Oldman, McDormand win best actors at 90th Oscars

Los Angeles: Gary Oldman, for essaying former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour”, and Frances McDormand for her role as a grieving mother in “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”, won the best actor and best actress in a leading role categories at the 90th Academy Awards here.

McDormand, 60, pipped, among others, “The Post” star Meryl Streep, who scored her 21st nomination and the 17th in this category at the Oscars.

She has won an Academy Award over two decades after first winning the honour in 1996 for “Fargo”.

In “Three Billboards…”, she plays Mildred Hayes, a mother grieving over her daughter’s rape and murder.

McDormand left an impact with her acceptance speech after she asked every female nominee in the room to stand up, and asked male gatekeepers to ask them about their projects and ideas not just at Oscar after-parties, but in office meetings following awards season.

As her fellow nominees stood, she said: “We all have stories to tell and projects we need financed.” She urged stars to demand inclusion riders — requirements for gender or racial diversity — in their contracts.

Jennifer Lawrence and Jodie Foster presented the Best Actress trophy to McDormand, in a break from tradition that the previous year’s Best Actor winner presents the award.

As for Oldman, it was his second nomination in the Actor in a Leading Role category. He was previously nominated for “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” in 2011.

While accepting the award, Oldman said: “I’ve lived in America for the longest time, and I am deeply grateful to her for the loves and the friendships I have made and the many wonderful gifts it has given me. My home, my livelihood, my family, and now Oscar.”

He also thanked Churchill, who he said “has been marvelous company on what can be described as an incredible journey”.

Oldman, 59, also took a moment to express gratitude to his 98-year-old mother.

Guillermo del Toro, who faces a copyright infringement lawsuit for “The Shape Of Water”, has won the Best Director and Best Picture Academy Awards for the movie at the Oscars ceremony.

“The Shape of Water”, a fantasy drama, has been in the midst of allegations that it is a copy of a 1969 play “Let Me Hear You Whisper”.

The film stars Sally Hawkins as a mute cleaner working in a Cold War-era lab facility, who bonds with a sea creature being kept there.

It dominated the Academy Awards’ nomination pack with nods in a maximum of 13 categories this year.

The Achievement in Directing nomination was de Toro’s first in this category and his fourth overall. He also won the Best Picture, and was nominated in the Original Screenplay category this year.

He became the third Mexican filmmaker in the last five years to win best director, after Alfonso Cuaron for “Gravity” in 2014 and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for “Birdman” and “The Revenant” in 2015 and 2016 respectively, reports the Guardian.

In his acceptance speech, del Toro said: “I am an immigrant like Alfonso and Alejandro, my compadres. Like Gael (Garcia Bernal), like Salma (Hayek) and like many, many of you. And in the last 25 years, I’ve been living in a country all of our own.

“Part of it is here, part of it is in Europe, part of it is everywhere. Because I think that the greatest thing our art does and our industry does is to erase the lines in the sand. We should continue doing that when the world tells us to make them deeper.”

del Toro was earlier nominated for his original screenplay for “Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006). (IANS)

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