Slumdog is tops at Academy Awards

By Tim Surette

Feb 23, 2009

The producers of the 81st Academy Awards promised us a different sort of Oscars ceremony this year, and they delivered... sort of. The usually prim-and-proper festivity undid its top button Sunday night, loosening up a tad with some fun but still trotting out the typical here's-your-award-now-make-a-speech formula.

The most exciting part of the night wasn't even finding out who won. For all the major acting awards, five previous winners of the award--unannounced to be presenting--welcomed the pledges to their League of Extraordinary Actors, almost secret society style--all that was missing were ceremonial robes and chanting.

Slumdog Millionaire was the big winner in a night of non-surprises, taking home best picture, best director (Danny Boyle), and a slew of other prizes. Other anti-shockers included Sean Penn for best actor, Kate Winslet for best actress, Heath Ledger for best supporting actor, and Penelope Cruz for best supporting actress.

Overall, the evening was a success because of several smart decisions from the producers. Hugh Jackman was perfectly tolerable as the evening's host, bouncing back and forth between Broadway-style numbers and flashing his suave Aussie smile. The Kodak Theater was intimate enough to feel like we were snooping in on a private ceremony. The best picture nominees were all shown alongside past winners with a common theme. But most of all, it was great that no one got their speech cut off by that buzzkill orchestra.

PHOTO GALLERY: The Oscars Red Carpet
PHOTO GALLERY: The Oscars Show
PHOTO GALLERY: Oscars Parties

A partial list of winners is below, for a full list, head over to the official Web site of The Oscars.

Performance by an actor in a leading role
Richard Jenkins in The Visitor (Overture Films)
Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon (Universal)
Sean Penn in Milk (Focus Features)
Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler (Fox Searchlight)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Josh Brolin in Milk (Focus Features)
Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder (DreamWorks, Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt (Miramax)
Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (Warner Bros.)
Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage)

Performance by an actress in a leading role
Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married (Sony Pictures Classics)
Angelina Jolie in Changeling (Universal)
Melissa Leo in Frozen River (Sony Pictures Classics)
Meryl Streep in Doubt (Miramax)
Kate Winslet in The Reader (The Weinstein Company)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Amy Adams in Doubt (Miramax)
Penélope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (The Weinstein Company)
Viola Davis in Doubt (Miramax)
Taraji P. Henson in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
Marisa Tomei in The Wrestler (Fox Searchlight)

Best animated feature film of the year
Bolt
Kung Fu Panda
WALL-E

Best director of the year
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Paramount and Warner Bros.) David Fincher
Frost/Nixon (Universal) Ron Howard
Milk (Focus Features) Gus Van Sant
The Reader (The Weinstein Company) Stephen Daldry
Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight) Danny Boyle

Best picture of the year
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Frost/Nixon
Milk
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

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  • friendserking Mar 02, 2009

    I wonder if Slumdog was a terrible movie, but had that same exact music if it would still have won those awards for it's music?

  • NeverTheSame91 Feb 27, 2009

    I did not like the fact that Slumdog won so many major awards. And to whoever criticized us people who say this about SDM are just mean. We deserve an opinion and my opinion is that the wrong movie won. Americans just liked it so much because of the foreign stars. I'm from Asia so I thought it was no big whoop. But, alas, what's done is done. Just wanted to put my 2 cents in.

  • alexchilton123 Feb 27, 2009

    I went to see it last week what a disappointment nothing special or original the fact it has done so well in the academy awards is no surprise as they only ever seem to praise mediocrity and unoriginal content

  • EmzRedDevil Feb 26, 2009

    Hmmm I believe I need to watch this Slumdog Millionaire, it looks pretty cool and well its British. Wooooo common Brits we rocked this year :).

  • kdtfiles Feb 24, 2009

    It wasn't half bad this year. Loved Hugh hosting. Only part that bugged me was the stupid camera moves during the memorial segment, I couldn't even read half the names.

  • erik_mc Feb 24, 2009

    "the typical here's-your-award-now-make-a-speech formula."

    Well, what were you expecting? How else is an awards ceremony supposed to go?

    I thought the Oscars this year were fantastic, Hugh was great, all the movie montages (especially the musicals one) were fun, the way they introduced the acting nominees was really well excecuted... as far as I'm concerned these were the best Oscars in a very long time (and SDM desereved every award it got)

  • LAURAMARIE63 Feb 24, 2009

    I agree with BeachfrontGlass.

  • me_wilson Feb 24, 2009

    "perfectly tolerable" wtf! Jackman was great. The Oscars and ABC should be singing his praises. First thing either group has done right in a while!

  • FrigginGodess Feb 24, 2009

    Well, Slumdog was shocking, but other than that... there was no suprise.

  • Water78 Feb 23, 2009

    TDK and wall-E should have been nominated for best pic

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