Feb 23

Oscars 2009: Slumdog Millionaire, Best Film 

What a night for Danny Boyle and crew. Wow. I’ve slightly lost count but I think that’s eight Oscars out of a possible nine for Slumdog Millionaire.

Producer Christian Colson does the speechifying honours for this one, thanking the usual all and sundry, with the cast and crew all on stage with him (pictured) – including someone’s kid, a child of maybe 10.

A huge result tonight for British cinema, with Kate Winslet‘s victory added to the runaway success of Slumdog. 

Oscars 2009: Sean Penn takes Best Actor

What an opening line to his acceptance speech – “You commie homo-loving sons of guns“, says Sean Penn, taking the award for his portrayal of gay-rights activist and politician Harvey Milk in Milk.

He also gets another couple of good lines in – first he acknowledges that he sometimes “makes it hard for you to appreciate me“, a reference to his sporadic assaults on paparazzi.

Then he becomes the first winner this year to go overtly political in his speech, slating anti-gay marriage campaigners.

He comes across pretty well, to be honest. Rather assumed he’d be an unbearable luvvie. But he seems all right.

Oscars 2009: Kate Winslet takes Best Actress

She’s got it!
After what felt like an eternity of former winners telling us how great all the nominees are, they open the envelope and – yes, it’s Kate Winslet.

And her speech is pretty sensible. She didn’t have a complete meltdown, anyway. She is panting like she’s just run three miles to get to the stage, but most of the words she’s saying are at least coherent and strung together in grammatically accurate sentences.

Called all her fellow nominees “goddesses”, which was a little over the top, but had quite a good line when she said “I don’t think any of us can even believe we’re in a category with Meryl Streep“. Streep in the audience doing a good magnanimous-in-defeat face.

Oscars 2009: Danny Boyle takes Best Director

Told you.
Well, that’s been coming. Best Director award goes to Danny Boyle (pictured) for Slumdog Millionaire, which – weirdly, for a low-budget film set in Mumbai and only partly in English – felt inevitable.

He comes bouncing on stage, explaining that he promised his kids when they were young that if he ever won an Oscar he would accept it in the spirit of Tigger out of Winnie The Pooh. Rather sweet.

Then he becomes the first winner this year to go overtly political in his speech, slating anti-gay marriage campaigners.

He comes across pretty well, to be honest. Rather assumed he’d be an unbearable luvvie. But he seems all right.

Here are the winners, as they are announced, at the 81st Academy Awards, which are being held at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles on 22 February.

Best supporting actress: Penelope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Also nominated: Amy Adams – Doubt; Viola Davis – Doubt; Taraji P Henson – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Marisa Tomei – The Wrestler

Best original screenplay: Milk
Also nominated: Happy-Go-Lucky; Wall-E; In Bruges; Frozen River

Best adapted screenplay: Slumdog Millionaire
Also nominated: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Doubt; Frost/Nixon; The Reader

Best animated feature film: Wall-E
Also nominated: Bolt; Kung Fu Panda

Best animated short film: La Maison en Petits Cubes
Also nominated: Lavatory – Lovestory; Oktapodi; Presto; This Way Up

Art direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Also nominated: Changeling; The Dark Knight; The Duchess; Revolutionary Road

Costume design: The Duchess
Also nominated: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Australia; Milk; Revolutionary Road

Make-up: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Also nominated: The Dark Knight; Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Cinematography: Slumdog Millionaire
Also nominated: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Changeling; The Dark Knight; The Reader

Best live action short film: Spielzeugland (Toyland)
Also nominated: Auf der Strecke (On The Line); Manon on the Asphalt; New Boy; The Pig

Best supporting actor: Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight
Also nominated: Josh Brolin – Milk; Robert Downey Jr – Tropic Thunder; Philip Seymour Hoffman – Doubt; Michael Shannon – Revolutionary Road

Best documentary feature: Man on Wire
Also nominated: The Betrayal; Encounters at the End of the World; The Garden; Trouble The Water

Best documentary short subject: Smile Pinki
Also nominated: The Conscience of Nhem En; The Final Inch; The Witness – From the Balcony of Room 306

Visual effects: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Also nominated: The Dark Knight; Iron Man

Sound editing: The Dark Knight
Also nominated: Iron Man; Wanted; Slumdog Millionaire; Wall-E

Sound mixing: Slumdog Millionaire
Also nominated: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; The Dark Knight; Wanted; Wall-E

Film editing:Slumdog Millionaire
Also nominated: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; The Dark Knight; Frost/Nixon; Milk

Best original score: Slumdog Millionaire
Also nominated: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Defiance; Milk; Slumdog Millionaire; Wall-E

Best original song: Jai Ho – Slumdog Millionaire
Also nominated: Down To Earth – Wall-E; O Saya – Slumdog Millionaire

Best foreign language film: Departures – Japan
Also nominated: Revanche – Austria; The Class – France; The Baader Meinhof Complex – Germany; Waltz With Bashir – Israel

Best director: Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire
Also nominated: Stephen Daldry – The Reader; David Fincher – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Ron Howard – Frost/Nixon; Gus Van Sant – Milk

Best actress: Kate Winslet – The Reader
Also nominated: Anne Hathaway – Rachel Getting Married; Angelina Jolie – Changeling; Melissa Leo – Frozen River; Meryl Streep – Doubt

Best actor: Sean Penn – Milk
Also nominated: Richard Jenkins – The Visitor; Frank Langella – Frost/Nixon; Brad Pitt – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler

Best picture: Slumdog Millionaire
Also nominated: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Frost/Nixon; Milk; The Reader

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Feb 23

In quotes: Oscars 2009

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Here are some of the most notable quotes from the 81st Academy Awards, which are being held at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles.

I’d be lying if I haven’t made a version of this speech before. I think I was probably eight years old and staring into the bathroom mirror and this would have been a shampoo bottle. Well it’s not a shampoo bottle now.
Kate Winslet picking up her best actress Oscar.

My kids are too old to remember this now but, when they were much younger, I swore to them if this miracle ever happened, I would receive it in the spirit of Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, and that’s what that was.
Slumdog Millionaire’s Danny Boyle on bouncing up and down as he accepted his best director 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.
Heath Ledger’s father, Kim, picking up his late son’s best supporting actor Oscar for The Dark Knight.

There are certain places you never imagine standing – the moon, the South Pole, the Miss World podium and here.
Slumdog Millionaire writer Simon Beaufoy on winning best adapted screenplay.

If Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he’d want me to say to all those 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 that are valued.
Winning original screenplay writer Dustin Lance Black on his story’s protagonist, Harvey Milk.

It’s not going to be 45 seconds, I can say that right now. Has anybody ever feinted here because I might be the first one.
Best supporting actress Penelope Cruz on suggested acceptance speech lengths.

The Academy loves to salute range… Robert Downey Jnr in Tropic Thunder. Robert, who’s an American, played an Australian playing an African-American. Nominated. Whereas me, I’m an Australian who played an Australian in a movie called Australia. Hosting.
Australia star and Oscars host Hugh Jackman.

We don’t see this world most of the time – we get a glimpse of it in England. But after, I’ll be going home, having a cup of tea and we’re looking forward to that just as much as we’re looking forward to tonight.
Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle on enjoying the best of both worlds.

It’s bittersweet. I said to myself I’d rather have Loki for another two years than an Oscar and I told her that. But she stayed as long as she could, you know
The Wrestler star and best actor nominee Mickey Rourke on losing his dog.

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Jan 23

By Ian Youngs
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Heath Ledger in 2006

Heath Ledger mixed blockbuster roles with independent films

Actor Heath Ledger, who has been found dead at the age of 28, was regarded as one of Hollywood’s brightest young stars, with a string of acclaimed films behind him and a major career ahead.

The death of such an admired star at such a young age will cause huge shock among fans, the media and the movie industry.

He shot onto the A list less than three years ago with a lead role in the universally acclaimed Brokeback Mountain, which proved he could shine in emotionally challenging roles as well as comedies and action films.

He played the inarticulate and volatile ranch hand Ennis, who became romantically entangled with a rodeo cowboy, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, in 1960s Wyoming.

It earned him Oscar, Golden Globe and Bafta nominations.

E Annie Proulx, who wrote the story upon which the movie was based, said: “He was so visceral. How did this actor get inside my head so well? He understood more about the character than I did.”


Heath Ledger (left) and Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain

Batman – The Dark Knight (2008)

I’m Not There (2007)

Brokeback Mountain (2005, above left)

The Brothers Grimm (2005)

Ned Kelly (2003)

Monster’s Ball (2001)

A Knight’s Tale (2001)

The Patriot (2000)

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

Two Hands (1999)

After Brokeback Mountain, Ledger was beginning to win blockbuster roles, and had just finished playing The Joker in the new Batman film The Dark Knight.

A recent trailer showed him playing the character as a sinister villain who proves a match for the superhero, played by Christian Bale.

“When we came to shoot the movie it was a physically and mentally draining role but I thoroughly enjoyed it and this is the most fun I’ve had with any character,” he said.

Ledger was also thought to be in the middle of filming The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, a new fantasy movie with former Monty Python member Terry Gilliam.

Set and shot in modern London, it is the tale of a travelling theatre that takes the audience into a parallel universe.

He has also just been seen in I’m Not There, which saw six actors play characters based on Bob Dylan at different stages of his career.

Heath Ledger

Ledger was born in Perth, Western Australia, in 1979

Ledger said his character Robbie Clark focused on “Dylan’s struggle with love and his marriage and divorce and family and balancing being in the media spotlight”.

Ledger’s other roles have included a heroin addict in Candy in 2006, Gilliam’s The Brothers Grimm in 2005 and the title part in 2003’s Ned Kelly.

He appeared alongside Halle Berry in the Oscar-winning Monster’s Ball in 2001, starred in popcorn movie A Knight’s Tale the same year, and was seen alongside Mel Gibson in The Patriot in 2000.

His Hollywood debut came in teen comedy 10 Things I Hate About You and he starred in light-hearted Australian gangster flick Two Hands in 1999.

And like many Australian actors, he had cut his teeth in TV soaps, playing surfer Scott Irwin in Home and Away in 1997.

Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams

The star had a daughter with US actress Michelle Williams

Ledger was not known as a hellraiser, but was said to have been uncomfortable with fame.

And the spotlight inevitably fell on him during the bad times as well as the good.

He was recently reported to have split from his fiancee Michelle Williams, whom he met when she played his wife in Brokeback Mountain.

They had a daughter, Matilda Rose, in October 2005, but were believed to have parted in late 2007.

Ledger was previously in a couple with another actress, Naomi Watts. Their relationship ended in 2004.

But he will be remembered for his film roles and after establishing himself as one of Hollywood’s finest actors under 30, Ledger’s life has ended just as his talent was beginning to be fulfilled.

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