Twenty-six years and seven snubs after his first Oscar nomination, for “Raging Bull,” Martin Scorsese finally felt the warm embrace of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Sunday as he was named best director and his murderous mob thriller “The Departed” was named the best picture of 2006.
“Could you double-check the envelope?” Mr. Scorsese quipped after silencing a raucous standing ovation of whistling, whooping academy members.
“I’m so moved,” he said, accepting the directing prize. “So many people over the years have been wishing this for me. Strangers — I go into doctors’ offices, elevators, I go for an X-ray — they say, ‘You should win one.’ “
Forest Whitaker won best actor for his performance as the cunning, seductive and savage Idi Amin in “The Last King of Scotland.”
“Receiving this honor tells me that it’s possible,” Mr. Whitaker said. “It is possible, for a kid from East Texas, raised in South Central L.A., and Carson, who believes in dreams, who believes them in his heart, to touch them and have them happen.”
Helen Mirren took best actress for her performance as a traditional monarch in a modern world in “The Queen.”
“For 50 years or more, Elizabeth Windsor has maintained her dignity, her sense of duty and her hairstyle,” Ms. Mirren said. “I salute her courage and her consistency, and I thank her, for if it wasn’t for her, I most certainly would not be here.”
Graham King, the only of three credited producers permitted to accept the best-picture award for “The Departed,” said, “To be standing here where Martin Scorsese won his Oscar is such a joy.” “Pan’s Labyrinth,” Guillermo Del Toro’s magical-realist fantasy set in 1944 Fascist Spain, received Oscars for cinematography, art direction and makeup at the 79th Academy Awards ceremony, but fell short of its ultimate prize, best foreign-language film, which went to “The Lives of Others,” from Germany.