Oscars: Frances McDormand and Gary Oldman best actors

Oscars: Frances McDormand and Gary Oldman best actors
Two decades after winning her first Best Actress Academy Award for playing Marge Gunderson in "Fargo", a police chief about to give birth, Frances McDormand today took home her second Oscar for her role of Mildred Hayes, a mother grieving the loss of her teenage daughter, in award season's favourite "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri".

This year, the 60-year-old actor had also won a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild Awards for her role in Martin McDonagh's film.

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

They replaced Casey Affleck, last year's Best Actor winner, who withdrew as a presenter from this year's ceremony following two sexual assault lawsuits, which he settled out of court.

"So I'm hyperventilating a little bit," McDormand joked as she began her acceptance speech.

She then asked "all the female nominees in every category" to stand with her in the room with a special shout-out to fellow nominee Meryl Streep.

"Okay, look around everybody. Look around, ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed. Don't talk to us about it at the parties tonight. Invite us into your office in a couple days, or you can come to ours, whatever suits you best, and we'll tell you all about them.

"I have two words to leave with you tonight, ladies and gentlemen: inclusion rider," she said referring to a need for a race and gender diversity clause in contracts.

McDormand emerged victorious against Saoirse Ronan ("Lady Bird"), Streep ("The Post"), Sally Hawkins ("The Shape of Water") and Margot Robbie ("I, Tonya").

In the black comedy drama, McDormand played Mildred, the disillusioned and angry mother of a young woman whose murder has gone unsolved in her small-town American community.

When local cops fail to catch the culprit, Mildred takes things in her own hands, putting up a series of brutal and hard-hitting billboards in her neighbourhood, calling out the police for their indifference and inaction.

McDonagh wrote the character of Mildred with McDormand in mind. However,the actor was initially not sure about her casting in the role as she is older than the character. Her filmmaker husband Joel Coen convinced her to say yes to the part. Born on June 23, 1957 in Chicago, Illinois, McDormand earned her BA in Theater from Bethany College in 1979 and her MFA from Yale in 1982. She started her career onstage and has retained her association with the theatre throughout her career. She made her film acting debut in 1984 with "Blood Simple", the first film by the Coen brothers -- Joel and Ethan Coen. Same year she tied the knot with Joel and in 1995 the two adopted a son from Paraguay, Pedro McDormand Coen. Since then the couple have collaborated on many films including "Fargo", "Burn After Reading" and most recently "Hail, Ceaser!".

Gary Oldman wins Best Actor Oscar for 'Darkest Hour'

Gary Oldman today clinched his career's first Oscar for Best Actor for his life-like portrayal of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the period drama "Darkest Hour".

The veteran actor was a spitting image as the UK PM who led Britain to an allied victory in the World War II in the Joe Wright-directed film.

"Thanks for this glorious prize. I owe this and much more to so many," Oldman said in his acceptance speech.

He thanked the cast and crew of his film, Churchill and also gave a shout-out to fellow nominee Denzel Washington. He also thanked his mother for her love, who "is older than the Oscars and will turn 99 on her next birthday".

After the victory at the Oscars 2018, the golden run is now complete for Oldman.

He already has a Golden Globe, a SAG-AFTRA, a CCA and a Bafta in his kitty for playing the cigar smoking, arrogant and stubborn Churchill who would peer through the round, black-rimmed glasses and address Britain for the first time as the PM when the nation was left alone in its opposition to Nazi Germany.

Actors Timothee Chalamet ("Call Me By Your Name"), Daniel-Day Lewis ("Phantom Thread"), Daniel Kaluuya ("Get Out") and Denzel Washington ("Roman J Israel, Esq") were among the other Best Actor nominees.

The 59-year-old actor was first nominated in the category for playing an espionage veteran in "Tinker Sailor Soldier Spy" (2012) but lost out to Jean Dujardin for "The Artist".

Oldman initially did not agree to take up the role as he was unsure about how physically convincing he would appear as Churchill. But an ace make-up and hair job led by Kazuhiro Tsuji, whose name he suggested to director Joe Wright, made him come on board the project.

"Darkest Hour" is being called an attempt to humanise the British statesman, who inherited a messy economy and fought the resistance from within his very own Cabinet.

Oldman's expressive and playing to the gallery style of acting has lent humour and energy to his Churchill, who the actor believes was facing a struggle of all sorts when he was sworn-in as the prime minister.

His performance has been lauded by the reviewers in an otherwise slow film.

One of the memorable moments in the movie is when Oldman delivers the famous "We shall never surrender" speech, which Churchill gave to the House of Commons on June 4, 1940, a month after he assumed the office when thousands of soldiers were stuck on the beaches of Dunkirk.

Actors Brian Cox, Michael Gambon, Alan C Peterson, Timothy Spall, Robert Hardy among others have also played Churchill in films and on television.

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