Oscars – the winners

Some years, the Academy Awards are a triumphant review of excellence in film-making, in which much-supported films and stars step up to receive accolades they once would never have dreamed of.

But for every year when Denzel Washington scoops Best Actor or Charlie Kaufman and his imaginary brother take home a statuette for Best Adapted Screenplay (for a film which is only barely an adaptation of anything), there are years when everything happens just the way you expected. 2009's 81st Academy Awards was one of those latter years.


Sweeping the board was Danny Boyle's excellent Slumdog Millionaire, which won eight out of its nine nominations, including Best Film and Best Director. 

Most overlooked was David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which despite nominations in almost all the major categories only took home the minor-league stuff: Art Direction, Make-up and Visual Effects.

Heath Ledger defied exactly no-one's expectations and won a posthumous award for his twitchy performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight

Kate Winslet broke an exceptional run of bad luck by taking home an Oscar for her performance in The Reader – Meryl Streep was probably the better actress, but the Academy could hardly let Winslet lose again. 

Supporting Actress was taken by Penelope Cruz for Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

Finally, Best Actor went to Sean Penn for his portrayal of Harvey Milk in Milk. While musicOMH could have been happy seeing Frank Langella take it for his astonishing turn as Richard Nixon, Penn's performance was the backbone for Gus Van Sant's entire film and so thoroughly deserves the recognition.

There was more British success with a win for The Duchess (for costume design), and a big smile crossed our face when Wall-E took Best Animated Feature.

So, enjoy the last few showing of what may be 2009's best films (in the UK, anyway) – and be sure to catch Slumdog and Milk (and Frost/Nixon) before they disappear from screens entirely!

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