At the star-studded Academy Awards on Sunday, Martin Scorsese's mob epic "The Departed" won best picture, earning the filmmaker the directing prize that had eluded him throughout his illustrious career.
"Could you double-check the envelope?" said Scorsese, who had been referred to as the greatest living American filmmaker without an Oscar. He also had never delivered a best-picture winner before, despite crafting such modern masterpieces as "Raging Bull" and "Goodfellas."
Scorsese received his Oscar from three contemporaries and friends, Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas. "So many people over the years have been wishing this for me," Scorsese said.
While no one film dominated the ceremony as has been seen in the past, three of the four acting front-runners ended up winning their respective category: best actress Helen Mirren as British monarch Elizabeth II in "The Queen"; best actor Forest Whitaker as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland"; and supporting actress Jennifer Hudson as a soul singer in "Dreamgirls."
The other front-runner, Eddie Murphy of "Dreamgirls," lost out to Alan Arkin for "Little Miss Sunshine."
"The Departed" led the evening with four Oscars, also winning for adapted screenplay and editing.
The Oscars had their most diverse and international scope ever this year, with wins for two black actors and global dramas that included "Pan's Labyrinth," "Babel" and "Letters From Iwo Jima."