The Academy Awards perennial picks up the prize for Best Original Song...

Veteran singer/songwriter RANDY NEWMAN won an OSCAR for best original song at the glitzy ceremony in LOS ANGELES last night (March 24).

After a long wait, Newman, who has been nominated 15 times before, saw off big hitters Sting and Paul McCartney to scoop the golden statuette at the newly built Kodak Theatre.

Picking up his gong for ‘If I Didn’t Have You’ from ‘Monsters Inc’, Newman joked: “I don’t feel it makes the song any better – the grammar in it is very bad.”

The 74th annual Academy Awards was marked by wins for Halle Berry (Best Actress) and Denzel Washington (Best Actor), the first time black actors have scooped the prestigious one-two. ‘A Beautiful Mind’ won for Best Picture and Ron Howard took the Oscar for Best Director for the same movie.

Hosted by Whoopi Goldberg, the ceremony was also notable for a rare appearance by Los Angeles-hating Woody Allen. The veteran auteur was present to introduce a homage to his beloved New York. Greeted with a standing ovation, Allen referred to the strict security measures at the ceremony, put in place post September 11, quipping: “That makes up for the strip-search.”