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Sideways scores Oscar, sweeps independent awards

Sideways – which is rapidly becoming the world’s most talked-about wine movie - scooped the Oscar for best adapted screenplay in Los Angeles last night.

The film, in which two middle-aged friends go on a stag week in Santa Barbara wine country, was nominated for five academy awards, including best film and best director. Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby won best film, best director, best actress and best supporting actor.

Sideways beat Before Sunset, Finding Neverland, Million Dollar Baby and The Motorcycle Diaries to win best adapted screenplay. The award was shared by the film’s director, Alexander Payne and long-time collaborator, Jim Taylor.

In a short speech, Payne thanked Sideways author, Rex Pickett, as well as his wife, Sandra Oh, who stars in the film, and the cast and crew.

Although winning only one Oscar will disappoint fans of the film, consolation can be found in the fact that Sideways scooped the Independent Spirit Awards.

Traditionally held the day before the Oscars, the awards celebrate the ‘independent’ side of Hollywood filmmaking. Its nominees are largely financed outside of the Hollywood system, the stars dress down as best they can, swearing is acceptable, as is smoking marijuana, allegedly.

Sideways was nominated for, and won, six Independent Spirit Awards, known as ‘art-house Oscars’, including best feature, director, screenplay and male lead.

‘You were robbed, man,’ said host Samuel L. Jackson to Paul Giamatti, Sideways’ leading actor and ISA winner, who was not nominated for an Oscar.

Not everyone is so full of praise. ‘I hated it, and most of the women I know feel the same way,’ Sally Quinn at the Washington Post said, before energetically lambasting the male characters.

‘The two leads…are losers. They are unattractive – at times repulsive – stupid, and gross. They are also untalented, cowardly liars with no sense of humour. They are self-absorbed, undiscuplined, navel-gazing failures. They have no redeeming qualities.’

Written by Oliver Styles

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