Slumdog Millionaire wins 8 Oscars including best picture and best director.


Slumdog Millionaire swept through the 81st Annual Academy Awards last night [February 22], taking eight Oscars including best picture, director for Danny Boyle, screenplay for Simon Beaufoy, cinematography for Anthony Dod Mantle, editor for Chris Dickens and score and song for AR Rahman.

The widely expected success eclipsed The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, which entered the night as the most nominated picture with 13 nods and left with a trio of prizes for art direction, visual effects and make-up.

‘When we started out we had no stars, no power or muscle to do what we wanted,’ Slumdog Millionaire’s producer Christian Colson of Celador Films said. ‘But what we had was a script that had mad love and a genius director and we had partners in Film4, Pathe and Fox Searchlight.’

In the acting honours Kate Winslet made it sixth time lucky as she finally took the best lead actress Oscar for The Reader and thanked a litany of collaborators including the picture’s late producers Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack.

Sean Penn pipped Mickey Rourke at the post and took the second Oscar of his career for his portrayal of Harvey Milk in Milk. ‘You commie, homo-loving sons of guns!’ Penn told the crowd, before making an earnest plea for equal rights that tipped a hat to Hollywood’s wave of revulsion over last year’s anti-gay marriage vote on Prop 8 in California. He rounded off his speech with a generous tribute to his stiffest competition this season: ‘Mickey Rourke rises again and he is my brother.’

As with the lead acting awards, both the supporting actor and actress
categories were introduced by a convocation of former winners who paid
tribute to the night’s nominees. Penelope Cruz took the first award of
the night for her role as the force of nature Maria Elena in Woody
Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona while Ledger’s parents and sister
accepted his supporting actor following his posthumous win for playing
The Joker in The Dark Knight.

‘Thank you, Woody, for trusting me with this beautiful character,’ an emotional Cruz said. ‘Thank for you having written over all these years some of the greatest characters for women. And I cannot talk about great female characters without thanking my friend Pedro Almodovar for having made me part of so many of his adventures.’

The only real surprise of the night came when Yojiro Takita’s Japanese
entry Departures trumped Ari Folman’s Israeli contender Waltz With
and Laurent Cantet’s French Palme D’Or winner The Class to take
the foreign language award. ‘Yes, it was hard to believe and it was
unbelievable,’ Takita said backstage in arguably the greatest
understatement of the night.

Dustin Lance Black gave an impassioned speech upon receiving the
original screenplay Oscar for Milk. ‘I wanna thank my mom, who has
always loved me for who I am even when there was pressure not to,’ he
said. ‘But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 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, 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.’

Slumdog Millionaire’s victory roll began half an hour into the show
when Simon Beaufoy collected the adapted screenplay prize. Beaufoy
thanked his ‘two other Musketeers’ Danny [Boyle, director] and
Christian [Colson, producer]. His success was followed later in the
show by Anthony Dod Mantle for cinematography and Ian Tapp, Richard
Pryke and Resul Pookutty for sound mixing.

Andrew Stanton collected the best animated feature for Wall-E, and in
so doing delivered a timely response to a wonderful jibe by Jack Black
earlier in the show. When asked by fellow presenter Jennifer Aniston
how he made his money, Black, who provided the lead voice in the Oscar-nominated Kung Fu Panda, said: ‘I do one DreamWorks movie, and then take all the money from the movie, and bring it to the Oscars, and bet it on Pixar.’

James Marsh’s Man On Wire took the documentary prize and invited the
picture’s star Philippe Petit on to the stage. The impish high-wire
walker duly obliged and paid brief tribute to documentary nominee
Werner Herzog before treating the audience to a disappearing coin
trick and juggling the Oscar on his chin.

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button did well in the craft categories, as
Greg Cannom took the make-up prize; the duo of Donald Graham Burt and Victor J Zolfo took the art direction prize; and Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron won for visual effects.

Michael O’Connor won best costume for his work on The Duchess.The Dark Knight’s Richard King collected the Oscar for sound editing.

Seeking to recapture former glories and arrest a worrying ratings
slide, Oscar show producers Bill Condon and Laurence Mark turned the
81st Annual Academy Awards into a musical bonanza. Host Hugh Jackman burst into a song and dance routine from the get-go and returned to duet with Beyonce, with a little help from Zac Efron from High School Musical and Mamma Mia!’s Amanda Seyfried and Dominic Cooper. Queen Latifah sang in soft accompaniment to the In Memoriam montage.

Overall the show didn’t deviate much from previous incarnations and
failed to come in at the trim three hours as predicted, taking three
and a half to get through business. Condon and Mark commissioned Judd
Apatow to make a short film that riffed on Pineapple Express and the
show producers brought in several young presenters, among them
s Robert Pattinson, as well as Seyfried and Alicia Keys.
Screenplay presenters Tina Fey and Steve Martin delivered one of the
highlights of the show with a droll stand-up routine.

In the short film categories, Kunio Kato’s La Maison En Petits Cubes
won the animated prize, while Jochen Alexander Freydank received his
award for his best short film Spielzeugland from Seth Rogen, James
Franco and Janus Kaminski, who moments earlier had appeared in
Apatow’s comedic short. Megan Mylan won the short documentary award for Smile Pinki.

Eddie Murphy presented Jerry Lewis with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian
Award and claimed the veteran performer ‘has had a huge influence on
my career.’

Winners of the 81st Annual Academy Awards

For Screen reviews please click on link.

Best Picture

Slumdog Millionaire, Christian Colson (producer)

Best Actor

Sean Penn, Milk

Best Actress

Kate Winslet, The Reader

Best Director

Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire

Best Foreign Language Film

Departures (Japan)

Best Supporting Actress

Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Supporting Actor

Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Best Documentary

Man On Wire, James Marsh and Simon Chinn

Best Original Screenplay

Dustin Lance Black, Milk

Best Adapted Screenplay

Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire

Best Animated Feature

Wall-E, Andrew Stanton

Best Animated Short

La Maison En Petits Cubes, Kunio Kato

Art Direction

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Donald Graham Burt (art direction) and Victor J. Zolfo (set decoration)

Costume Design

The Duchess, Michael O’Connor


The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Greg Cannom


Slumdog Millionaire, Anthony Dod Mantle

Best Live Action Short

Spielzeugland (Toyland), Jochen Alexander Freydank

Best Documentary Short Subject

Smile Pinki, Megan Mylan

Visual Effects

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron

Sound Editing

The Dark Knight, Richard King

Sound Mixing

Slumdog Millionaire, Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty

Film Editing

Slumdog Millionaire, Chris Dickens

Original Score

Slumdog Millionaire, A.R. Rahman

Original Song

Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire, music by A.R. Rahman and lyrics by Gulzar