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Slumdog Millionaire wins big at Oscars

By Julian Spivey

     Danny Boyle’s film “Slumdog Millionaire” proved the biggest winner at the 81st Academy Awards taking home eight Oscar statuettes, including the most coveted best picture award.

 

     Boyle also took home the award for best director. In most cases the winner of the best director awarded is a good indication of what will win best picture. The last time an award for best director went to a director for a film that did not win best picture was in 2006 when Ang Lee won the award for “Brokeback Mountain.” “Crash” won best picture that year.

 

     “Slumdog Millionaire” beat out “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Milk,” “The Reader,” and “Frost/Nixon” to win best picture. “Slumdog Millionaire” also won six more awards during the Oscar telecast including, best adapted screenplay, best cinematography, best sound mixing, best original score, best original song and best film editing. The eight awards were the most of any film.

 

     “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” directed by David Fincher, received the most Oscar nominations with 13. The film took home three awards, all of which were technical awards. “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” won for: best visual effects, best makeup and best art direction.

 

     Two other films “Milk” and “The Dark Knight” won multiple awards. “Milk” won awards for best original screenplay and best actor, which was won by Sean Penn. Penn, beat out pre-show favorite Mickey Rourke, who was nominated for “The Wrestler.” Brad Pitt for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” Frank Langella for “Frost/Nixon” and Richard Jenkins for “The Visitor” were also nominated for best actor. “The Dark Knight” won awards for best sound editing and the best supporting actor award went to Heath Ledger. Ledger is only the second actor in Academy history to win a posthumous Oscar. Peter Finch won a posthumous best actor award for “Network” in 1977. Ledger beat out Robert Downey Jr. (“Tropic Thunder”), Josh Brolin (“Milk”), Philip Seymour Hoffman (“Doubt”) and Michael Shannon (“Revolutionary Road”) to win the award.

 

     Kate Winslet took home the award for best actress for her role in “The Reader.” Winslet had been nominated five previous times for this award without winning. If she had lost for a sixth time it would have tied her with Deborah Kerr for the most times nominated for the award without winning. Winslet beat out Meryl Streep (“Doubt”), Anne Hathaway (“Rachel Getting Married”), Melissa Leo (“Frozen River”) and Angelina Jolie (“Changeling”).

 

     Penelope Cruz won the best supporting actress award for her role in Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.” Cruz beat Viola Davis and Amy Adams, who were both nominated for “Doubt,” as well as former winner Marisa Tomei for “The Wrestler” and Taraji P. Henson for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”     

 

     The relatively new award for best animated feature was taken by Andrew Stanton’s “Wall-E.” The Pixar film beat its animated rivals “Bolt” and “Kung Fu Panda” to win the award.

 

     The Japanese film “Departures” won for best foreign film and “Man on Wire” took home the Oscar for best documentary.

 

     Comedic legend Jerry Lewis was honored by the Academy as the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian award winner for 2009.

 

     This year’s show was hosted by Hugh Jackman. In show has traditionally been hosted by a comedian and wasn’t as funny as in recent years with the reigning sexiest man alive hosting instead. The show however did have some hilarious moments in which Steve Martin and Tina Fey announced the awards for best original and adapted screenplay and Ben Stiller mimicked Joaquin Phoenix’s recent guest appearance on “The Late Show with David Letterman.” The Oscars presentation tried something new this year in trying to show fans how a film is made and the stages of filmmaking which was a nice and welcomed style for the show.