The Academy Awards

Season 81 Episode 1

The 81st Annual Academy Awards

Aired Sunday 8:30 PM Feb 22, 2009 on ABC



  • Trivia

    • Songs from "The Musicals Are Back" number:
      -"Top Hat, White Tie And Tails" from Top Hat!.
      -"Singin' In the Rain" from Singin' In the Rain.
      -"Big Spender" from Sweet Charity.
      -"Maria" and "Somewhere" from West Side Story.
      -"You're The One That I Want" from Grease.
      -"How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?" from The Sound Of Music.
      -"All That Jazz" from Chicago.
      -"Lady Marmalade" from Moulin Rouge.
      -"One Night Only" from Dreamgirls.
      -"You Can't Stop The Beat" from Hairpsray.
      -"At Last" from Orchestra Wives.
      -"Last Chance" from High School Musical 3: Senior Year.
      -"Mamma Mia!" from Mamma Mia!.
      -"Don't Cry For Me, Argentina" from Evita.
      -"Over The Rainbow from Wizard Of Oz.

    • Slumdog Millionaire is the first film since 1993 to win "Best Picture", "Best Directing" and "Best Screenplay" at not only the Oscars but also at the Golden Globes and BAFTAs.

    • The presenters of the acting awards were 5 past winners of each category, and they each gave a speech to each nominee (instead of the usual clips) about how good their performances were:

      *Best Actor In A Leading Role:
      -Michael Douglas (for Wall Street in 1988) to Frank Langella.
      -Robert DeNiro (for Raging Bull in 1980) to Sean Penn.
      -Adrien Brody (for The Pianist in 2002) to Richard Jenkins.
      -Sir Anthony Hopkins (for Silence Of The Lambs in 1991) to Brad Pitt.
      -Sir Ben Kingsley (for Ghandi in 1983) to Mickey Rourke.

      *Best Actress In A Leading Role:
      -Shirley MacLaine (for Tearms Of Endearment in 1983) to Anne Hathaway.
      -Marion Cotillard (for La Vie En Rose in 2008) to Kate Winslet.
      -Halle Berry (for Monster's Ball in 2002) to Melissa Leo.
      -Nicole Kidman (for The Hours in 2003) to Angelina Jolie.
      -Sophia Loren (for Two Women in 1961) to Meryl Streep.

      *Best Actor In A Supporting Role:
      -Alan Arkin (for Little Miss Sunshine in 2007) to Phillip Seymour Hoffman -Joel Grey (for Cabaret in 1972) to Josh Brolin.
      -Cuba Gooding Jr. (for Jerry Maguire in 1996) to Robert Downey Jr..
      -Christopher Walken (for The Deer Hunter in 1978) to Michael Shannon.
      -Kevin Kline (for A Fish Called Wanda in 1988) to Heath Ledger.

      *Best Actress In A Supporting Role:
      -Eva Marie Saint (for On The Waterfront in 1954) to Viola Davis.
      -Anjelica Houston (for Prizzi's Honor in 1985) to Penelope Cruz.
      -Whoopi Goldberg (for Ghost in 1990) to Amy Adams.
      -Goldie Hawn (for Cactus Flower in 1970) to Taraji P. Henson.
      -Tilda Swinton (for Michael Clayton in 2008) to Marisa Tomei.

    • Queen Latifah performed "I'll Be Seeing You" (from the musical play Right This Way) during the In Memoriam tribute. The honored people were:

      -Bernie Mac.
      -Charlton Heston.
      -Cyd Charisse.
      -Evelyn Keyes.
      -Harold Pinter (writer).
      -Isaac Hayes.
      -James Whitmore.
      -Mayla Nurmi.
      -Nina Foch.
      -Pat Hingle.
      -Paul Newman.
      -Paul Scofield.
      -Ricardo Montalban.
      -Richard Widmark.
      -Robert DoQui.
      -Roy Scheider.
      -Sydney Polack.
      -Van Johnson.
      -Abby Mann (writer).
      -Anthony Minghella (actor; director; producer; writer).
      -Bud Stone (executive).
      -Charles H. Joffe (producer).
      -Charles H. Schneer (producer).
      -Claude Berri (director).
      -David Watkin (director of photography).
      -J. Paul Huntsman (sound editor).
      -John Michael Hayes (writer).
      -Joseph H. Caracciolo (producer).
      -Jules Dassin (director).
      -Kon Ichikawa (director).
      -Leonard Rosenman (music composer).
      -Manny Farber (critic).
      -Michael Crichton, M.D. (director; producer; writer).
      -Ned Tanen (executive producer).
      -Ollie Johnston (animator).
      -Robert Mulligan (director).
      -Stan Winston (special effects).
      -Warren Cowan (publicist).

    • The most nominated movie was The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button (13), but the most awarded movie was Slumdog Millionare (8).

    • Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight) is the second actor to win an award posthumous. The first was Peter Finch for Network in 1977.

    • All five Best Picture directors were nominated for Best Director, the first time this has occurred in 3 years.

  • Quotes

    • Hugh Jackman (to Mickey Rourke): You know, it's serious, we have a 30 second delay, but if you win, we switch to a twenty minute delay.

    • Christian Colson (accepting the Best Picture Award): When we started out, we had no stars, we had no power or muscle, we didn't have enough money really to do what we wanted to do. But what we had was a script that inspired mad love in everyone who read it. (...) Most of all, we had passion and we had belief and our film shows that if you have those two things, truly anything is possible.

    • Sean Penn (accepting his award): I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren's eyes if they continue that way of support. We've got to have equal rights for everyone. And there are-and there are, these last two things. I'm very, very proud to live in a country that is willing to elect an elegant man president and a country who, for all its toughness, creates courageous artists.

    • Kate Winslet (accepting her award): I'd be lying if I said I haven't made a version of this speech before. I think I was probably 8 years old and staring into the bathroom mirror, and this would have been a shampoo bottle. Well, it's not a shampoo bottle now.

    • Kim Ledger (accepting his son Heath's award): This award tonight would have humbly validated Heath's quiet determination to be truly accepted by you all here: his peers within an industry he so loved.

    • James Franco (as "Saul", from Pineapple Express): Who do you think is a better actor? Ronald Reagan or Barack Obama?

    • Simon Beaufoy (accepting his award): There are certain places in the universe you never imagine standing. For me, it's the Moon, the South Pole, the Miss World podium and here.

    • Dustin Lance Black: Oh my God. This was, this was not an easy film to make. And first off, I have to thank Cleve Jones and Anne Kronenberg and all the real-life people who shared their stories with me. And Gus Van Sant, Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin, James Franco and our entire cast, my producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, everyone at Groundswell and Focus for taking on the challenge of telling this life-saving story.

      When I was thirteen years old, my beautiful mother and my father moved me from a conservative Mormon home in San Antonio, Texas, to California, and I heard the story of Harvey Milk. And it gave me hope. It gave me the hope to live my life. It gave me the hope one day I could live my life openly as who I am and that maybe even I could even fall in love and one day get married. I wanna, I wanna thank my mom, who has always loved me for who I am even when there was pressure not to. But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us thirty years ago, I think he'd want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches or by the government or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you God does love you, and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights, federally, across this great nation of ours. Thank you. Thank you. And thank you, God, for giving us Harvey Milk.

    • Hugh Jackman (to Meryl Streep): Fifteen career Oscar nominations. That's a record. I hate to say it but when someone puts up numbers like that, it's just hard not to think steroids.

  • Notes

    • Peter Gabriel, who was originally scheduled to perform live his nominated song "Down to Earth" from WALL·E, declined to perform after learning that he would be allowed to sing only 65 seconds of the song during the ceremony, instead of the full version. Gabriel still attended the ceremony. John Legend and the Soweto Gospel Choir performed the song instead.

    • The episode won 4 Emmy Awards for Outstanding Short Form Picture Editing, Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Variety or Music Series or Special, Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics - Hugh Jackman's Opening Number and Outstanding Choreography - Musicals are back.

    • This year's ceremony was the most-watched "entertainment telecast" in two years.

    • This is the first time the Academy kept the list of presenters secret.

  • Allusions

    • Joel Grey (presenting "Best Actor in a Supporting Role"): Last year's winner of this award won for traipsing through the desert on a demonic path to shoot and kill our next nominee (...) Josh Brolin.

      Last year's winner was Javier Bardem for No Country For Old Men. His character Anton Chigurh chased Llewelyn Moss (played by Josh Brolin) to kill him.

    • Kunio Katô (accepting the Best Animated Short Award): Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.

      Those are the lyrics of the 1983 song "Mr. Roboto" by Styx.

    • Whoopi Goldberg: It's not easy playing a nun.

      She was talking about her role in the 1992 movie Sister Act, and, in it's 1993 sequel Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit.

    • Jerry Lewis: I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.

      This speech was once said by Mahatma Ghandi.

    • When Ben Stiller and Natalie Portman appeared to present the award for Best Cinematography, Stiller's look was a spoof of Joaquin Phoenix's recent appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman.