"Oscar" presentation ceremony ended in Los Angels

"Oscar" presentation ceremony ended in Los Angels

Slumdog Millionaire capped its rags-to- riches story Sunday night when it earned eight shining statuettes at Hollywood's annual Oscar gala on the biggest night in the film world, dpa reported.

  Director Danny Boyle's tale about the rise of a slum-dwelling Mumbai orphan to the final of India's most popular quiz show earned the Oscar for best picture, best director, best adapted screenplay, cinematography, original score, sound mixing, film editing and original song.

  "Our film was a collaboration between hundreds of people," said producer Christian Colson. "We had passion and we had belief and our film shows if you have those two things truly anything is possible."

  "Thank you for being so generous with us tonight. Just to say to Mumbai - all of you who helped us make the film and all those who didn't - thank you so much, you dwarf even this guy," director Danny Boyle said, pointing to his statuette:

  Sean Penn, 48, won the best actor Oscar for his portrayal of a the first openly gay politician in the US in the movie Milk. It was a second Oscar for the 48-year-old actor.

  Kate Winslet won the Oscar for Best Actress. It was a first win for the British actress, 32, after five unsuccessful nominations. Winslet won for her portrayal of an illiterate former Nazi prison guard in the movie The Reader.

  Australian actor Heath Ledger won the Oscar for best-supporting actor Sunday, more than a year after he died from an accidental drug overdose at the age of 28. Ledger was honoured for his widely acclaimed portrayal of the manic criminal the Joker in the Batman movie The Dark Knight.

  His award was accepted by his family, who received a standing ovation as they made their way to the stage.

  "We'd like to thank the Academy for recognizing or son's amazing work," said his father, Kim Ledger. "This award tonight would have humbly validated Heath's quiet determination to be truly accepted by you all here."

  Earlier, the first prize of the evening went to Penelope Cruz for best-supporting actress in Woody Allen's movie Vicky Christina Barcelona.

  "I always felt that this ceremony was a moment of unity for the world," said the Spanish star, 34, "because art in any form has been, will be and will always be our universal language."

  Dustin Lance Black won the prize for original screenplay for Milk. WALL-E was named the year's best animated movie, while the best animated short film was La Maison en Petits Cubes. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button won for art direction, make-up and visual effects, while The Duchess won for make-up. The foreign film winner was the Japanese movie Departures.

  Comedian Jerry Lewis was given a lifetime achievement award for his humanitarian work for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

  Slumdog Millionaire was the favourite to dominate the biggest night of the Hollywood calendar. The rags-to-riches story exhibited its uncanny magic on the red carpet, where despite all the big names arriving at the Kodak Theatre it was the movie's young stars, led by Dev Patel and Freida Pinto, who made the strongest impact.

  Host Hugh Jackman opened the 81st Oscar show with a cabaret number about the five films nominated for best picture that saw him step into the audience and carry best-actress nominee Anne Hathaway on stage for a duet. The song-and-dance routine earned him the first standing ovation of the night.

  Producers tried to shake up the usual Oscar conventions with a number of surprises - meant to halt the show's steady slide in ratings and lack of interest among younger viewers who are the lifeblood of the movie industry.

  The film sector has been badly hit by a sharp decline in purchases of DVDs, which in recent years have contributed more to studio revenues than box-office receipts.

  Among the changes introduced to the Oscars was the transformation of the Kodak Theatre into a "dream nightclub," and using the award presentations to explain how a film is made as parts of the stage were transformed into a faux movie set.

  Coming into the show Slumdog Millionaire had eight nominations compared to the leading 13 nominations for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. However, the Brad Pitt star vehicle was not expected to win as many of the major prizes as the India-based movie. 

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