Oscars 2009, Live Report!
Slumdog Millionaire. It's time to party, Slumdoggystyle, Mumbai! Eight awards, including Best Director and Best Picture. What an achievement. What a night. The whole cast and crew is up on the dais, over twenty strong. Jai Hindi! They're calling Mumbai a 'fabulous' city. Anil Kapoor is there, immaculate mustache on display! What a night!
And now the Don of Hollywood on to present the Best Picture Award. Steven Spielberg announces that the winner is...
Stunning visuals accompany the run-up to the presentation for best Actor. And though most thought that Brad Pitt or Mickey Rourke would carry the day, instead it is Sean Penn for his role in Milk, who's captured the award! Congratulations, Mr Penn! A bit of a political speech from Mr Penn. But that's to be expected.
The winner is Kate Winslet for The Reader! She breaks the 13 year curse and is justly rewarded for her fantastic work, year in and year out. Now, let's see how she handles this speech.
And again they're using this interesting format, where former winners announce the nominees in a given category. This time, it's best Female Lead (former winner Halle Berry looks stunning! Sophie Loren? Not so much). Up for the award are Anne Hatheway, Kate Winslet, Meryl Streep, Melissa Leo and Angelina Jolie.
And he's done it! Danny Boyle has done it! Best Director for Danny Boyle and Slumdog millionaire. He jumps for joy (literally), and with good reason. It's the films seventh award. He gives a great speech and finishes it off with a heartfelt thanks to Mumbai.
Again, must mention how impressive Hugh Jackman has been. The rugged Aussie is deftly manoeuvring about the stage, controlling the action without hogging the limelight. He passes the stage on to Reese Witherspoon, of Legally Blonde fame, who is wearing a gorgeous dark blue/purple gown. She's giving the award for Best Director, where Danny Boyle must be considered the favourite.
Looking regal and royal in blue, Queen Latifa is on-stage in a gown quite befitting of her name She leads us into another of these cool montages. The big awards are so close we can almost taste them! Only a few more minutes!
Now the lovely, exquisite, delightful Freida Pinto is on-stage to present the award for Best Foreign Film. The girl exudes class, whether it's on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, in the pages of Vanity Fair or on the red carpet at awards show. The winner is Departures, a Japanese film.
And Jai Ho has won the Oscar for Best Song! Two Oscars for India's finest modern musician! What a night to remember. India at the Oscars will never be looked at the same. And a classy, gracious acceptance speech from Mr Rahman. Well deserved, sir. Well deserved. You've made all of India proud! Slumdog, for those keeping count, has collected a staggering six awards already.
And an incredible treat, the great AR Rahman is performing live at the Oscars. Wah! Wah! Triple Wah! O Saya is by Rahman himself, and accompanied by a platoon of dancers and drummers. It segues to a Western song and soon comes back to Rahman. This time, it's the song that made the film famous: Jai Ho! And now it's a collaborative effort. East meets West. And it sounds great! The crowd is on its collective feet, applauding. Now, to see how he does in the Best Song category.
And the winner is AR Rahman for Slumdog Millionaire! He's looking dapper in a black sherwani. Like a good Indian boy, he mentioned his mother and said a few words in his native tongue. India has arrived, ladies and gents. There's no point denying it now!
A lovely piece of orchestral music leads us into the award for best Original Score. AR Rahman, India's son, is up for the award...
Ahh, we're well past the halfway stage, at this point. Now it's time to dig into the really meaty awards: best film, actor, actress, director, etc. Where as previous years have dragged, this year's show is flying by.
And we're back, to find the enormously talented, uproariously funny Eddy Murphy on-stage. He gives a classy introduction to film legend and comedy guru Jerry Lewis, who comes on briefly to accept the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian.
And the winner is Slumdog Millionaire!??! Wah! Wah! The film is really and truly hitting a six in cinema's version of the World Cup. Chris Dickens brings it home (Best Film Editing), with a classy and gracious 'thank you'. In true stiff-upper-lip fashion he thanks his Indian hosts, his English friends and his own family. Classy, classy. Slumdog has won four awards!
Another award presented by Will Smith? He might as well have been named co-host. The award is for Best Film Editing. Can Slumdog win another?
And the Best Sound Mixing award goes to Slumdog Millionaire's Resul Pookutty. Amchi Mumbai, the movie is, and it captures the living, breathing pulse of India's most famous megacity, the city of Dreams! And now some genuine, authentic praise of 'Bombay', as he says. Who would have thought? Its sights and sounds are now centre-stage, having captured the world's heart!
Smith is staying on and presenting the Best Sound Mixing award. He's owning the stage! Ahh, Slumdog now has a chance for redemption.
Oh no! It's the first big letdown of the night! Slumdog has lost out to The Dark Knight for best sound editing. It's sad, of course, but one can see why it happened. The truck flip sequence and the countless explosions in The Dark Knight were too much for Slumdog and the sounds of Mumbai to overcome.
Will Smith is flashing his trademark humour, even as he trips over the name of the category. It's a fun show tonight, no doubt. The Oscars are back in a big way.
Now, another Slumdog Nominee category is up - Best Sound Editing.
And the winner is The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, a film which is really cleaning up here tonight. Marvellous stuff, too, the work they did on this film.
Now, Hollywood's sure-fire hit star, Will Smith is presenting the Academy Award for best Visual Effects.
Smile Pinki! This is really and truly India's night, ladies and gentleman. Smile Pinki!, the story of a Uttar Pradesh village girl born with cleft lip, is the winner! Megan Mylan, the director, is very gracious in her acceptance speech. Pinki is actually on hand, with her parents. What a trip! From rural UP to the red carpet in LA; the world truly is shrinking. Now, will its big brother -- Slumdog Millionaire -- win a few more awards? Ahh, the suspense!
And now the Best Documentary (Short). Smile Pinki, a film based in Benares, is up for the award. The winner is...
And the winner is The Betrayal. One of the most important, but sometimes overlooked categories, this. Wow, and one of the guys from The Betrayal is balancing the Oscar on his chin! Madness! Isn't this fun?
Bill Maher, of Religulous fame, is on-stage, cracking jokes 'bout religion. That's walking on egg shells, most certainly. Mr Maher is presenting the award for Best Documentary.
Let's take a moment for Heath Ledger, only the second man to win an acting Oscar posthumously.
The winner is Heath Ledger! Tears are in abundance in the audience, as Ledger's parents accept the Best Supporting Actor award and make a touching, poignant, powerful speech.
And now one of the awards we've all been waiting for. It's Cuba Gooding Jr presenting the Best Supporting Actor award. And though there are many who believe that Robert Downey Jr should be tagged for his superb performance in Tropic Thunder, the odds on favourite is the late Heath Ledger, who positively sparkled as the Joker in the Dark Knight.
As for the song, his partner is the inimitable Beyonce. It's a proper musical, with several songs, top-hats, sequined gowns. They've done it up and done it big. It's an homage to High School Musical, to Mamma Mia!, to musicals from years past. Great stuff.
Another song and dance number, kicked off by the personable Jackman. There were many concerns over the Aussie's ability to handle the crowd, but he's been downright masterful. Perfect sense of humour, perfect sense of gravitas, and the perfect smile.
Twitter is abuzz after the Stiller impersonation of Joaquin Phoenix. Absolute incineration, decimation and destruction, they're saying. A BBC correspondent is jokingly saying that Phoenix 'will never work in Hollywood again'.
Now the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film. And the winner is Spielzeugland (Toyland). The show is just flying along this year.
Lots of clever features, diversions, extras. And the show is moving at quite a brisk pace, hopping from montage, to presentation, to humour skit. Now we have Seth Rogan and another stoner from Pineapple Express watching serious scenes from serious films and laughing at them. A funny piece.
And the Oscar for Best Cinematography goes to: Slumdog Millionaire (Anthony Dod Mantle)! It's the year of the dog, Slumdog that is! Soon Mr AR Rahman should be getting in on all this Oscars fun…
We're back. Looking beautiful in pink is Natalie Portman. She's positively sparkling. Alongside her is Ben Stiller, who channels Joaquin Phoenix's bizarre recent appearance on the David Letterman show. And now he's saying that Slumdog Millionaire being shot on a mobile phone. Good stuff, all around. They're presenting the award for best Cinematography.
And the Oscar goes to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button! It was a tough battle, to overcome the crazed Joker's make-up from The Dark Knight. But ultimately, the ability to show Brad Pitt as anything but an incredibly handsome middle-aged man must be applauded! Number two for Benjamin Button.
Another interesting presentation, for Best Make-Up. The utilisation of technology has been very impressive this year. It's like the Academy Awards has been thrust into the 21st century and beyond.
And now for Best Costume Design. Which goes to The Duchess (Michael O'Connor). Congrats. How about Sarah Jessica's gown? It's downright nuptial. Looks like she's getting ready to redo her wedding vows! Hubby Matthew Broderick is on-hand, after all. He's got his eye on you, Danny Craig.
And the Oscar goes to: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button! Ahh, you knew those 13 nominations weren't all for naught. But how many more will it win? And any at the expense of Slumdog. Only time will tell…
Jackman is back, studly as ever. And now another hunk -- new Bond-man Daniel Craig -- is presenting alongside Sarah Jessica Parker of Sex in the City fame. They're presenting the Best Art Direction.
The Academy should be proud of what they've accomplished here. Sagging ratings have prompted the new look, but they've maintained all the regalia of earlier years while adding a hip, intimate new flavour. Good show, guys.
Now, the award for Best Animated Short Film. And the winner is La Maison en Petit Cubes.
And he's right! Wall-E is the winner for Best Animated Film, which doesn't come as much of a surprise. Pixar is breathtakingly consistent, stunningly impressive year after year. They're the best in the business, no doubt!
Jack Black and Jennifer Aniston are on-stage and looking incredible comfortable. Black with some trademark self-deprecating humour. They're here to present the Award for Best Animated Film, which will come down to Kung-Fu Panda and Wall-E. Ask Black who will win, and there's nary a pause: Wall-E.
And Mr Vikas Swarup is indeed on hand. Not only is he the author of QnA (the book on which Slumdog is based), he's also India's deputy high commissoner to South Africa. Thank you, Mr Swarup, for this wonderful story!
Vikas Swarup gets a gracious 'Thank You' from Simon, as does everyone involved with Slumdog. Good show, Simon. India even gets a mention!
And the Oscar goes to Simon Beaufoy and Slumdog Millionaire. Pay attention, folks, because the rout is on! There's no stopping this Slumdog locomotive now..
Now the duo are presenting Best Adapted Screenplay, for which Slumdog Millionaire is nominated. Ooh, a tough bunch, with both Frost/Nixon, The Reader and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. This is a strange way to showcase the nominees, no? The real question is, however: can Simon Beaufoy bring it home??
Ah, some classic Steve Martin humour, spiced with a bit of Tina Fey. The comedy duo is presenting the award for Best Original Screenplay. And the winner is Dustin Lance Black for Milk! A great, heart-felt speech, in which he mentions homosexual rights and his own struggles as a young gay man coming with a Mormon background.
So far, the awards have been fabulous. Jackman's been the consummate host, the new look suits the ceremony, and the way they presented the Best Supporting Actress award was amazing!
And the winner is: Penelope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona! Another classic Woody Allen character brought to life by Penelope in stunning fashion. A great, emotional acceptance speech. Wah! Not too short and not too long.
Now five famous best supporting acress winners have come on-stage -- Whoopi Goldberg, Tilda Swinton and Goldie Hawn, Eva Marie Saint and Anjelica Huston. They say they are here to welcome a new actress into the sorority, then preview each of the nominated ladies.
An interesting montage of acceptance speeches from years past. The new format of the show is definitely working. Instead of being gimmicky, it's actually quite effective. It seems friendlier and less stuffy. Jackman's carrying the day thus far.
Here Jackman starts a song and dance number that previews the show, and names many of the year's films. First up? Slumdog Millionaire, why of course!
And there's our host for the evening (well, morning here): Hugh Jackman! Yes, according to some publications, the world's sexiest man. He's also quite proficient as a host. He's already warming up the crowd with solid jokes and good delivery. And how about this new set-up? The Oscars have gotten a complete overhaul! They've ditched some of the maroons and velvets and golds and turned it in for a modern look. Not bad!
BBC says that the child stars of the Slumdog Millionaire have been collecting autographs from the stars. Some of the hot names the kids are after? Daniel Craig, Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep. Good taste, kids!
Brangelina on the scene! She's in a regal black gown with her hair pulled back. Simply elegant! And Brad is Brad, wearing a tux and making the ladies swoon. She's been hailed for his work in Changeling and he for his work in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Talk about modern-day royalty…
Dev is stylishly rocking a classy black tux, while Freida Pinto is wearing a royal blue gown with sequins. But, get this, only one sleeve! It's a pretty bold move, and the gown isn't 'classically' beautiful. She's getting away with it, however, because the Western press is bowled over by her remarkable beauty.
Danny Boyle looks a little frumpy and a little frazzled. But, hey, that's his style! The guy's eccentric. Anil Kapoor is fabulously and impeccably manicured and primped.
He looks great, but breaks into Bollywood-style dance every five minutes. Still, the Slumdog cast have acquitted themselves quite well. Jai Hind! Now, for those 10 Oscars nominations...
The cast and crew of Slumdog Millionaire are on hand, with director Danny Boyle at the helm. It's a veritable platoon! Gracious responses from both Danny and Dev Patel. Nice going, guys. The Mumbaikar child actors are working the Hollywood paparazzi with decided ease.
Jessica Biel looks lovely in her off-white gown with a big bow. Meanwhile, Beyonce? Not so much! What's she wearing? Kate Winslet in a one-shoulder steel gray and black beaded gown looks lovely. Mickey Rourke, the ultimate resurrection story, is looking cool and relaxed with a cowboy-esque white suit.
Hello and welcome to the 81st Academy Awards! We're just getting underway, and all of Hollywood (and a little of Bollywood) is walking the Red Carpers. The big story of the night, of course, is Mumbai-based Slumdog Millionaire and its staggering ten Oscars nominations!