Oprah's Oscar® Winners
Watch the stars arrive for the celebration!
Aside from the new stage, Oprah also loved that every actor nominated received a personal tribute from past winners of the award. "I loved how they were given, and I loved how they were received," she says. "Bravo, Academy!"
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Another thing Oprah loved about the 2009 Oscars®? Host Hugh Jackman!
Some of the papers have already described Hugh as "shockingly comfortable" as a host, and Hugh admits he wasn't that nervous. "I had a secret weapon. My secret weapon was sitting in about the sixth row—it was my wife," he says. "It's a connection. It takes it off you."
And the show got off to a great start—Hugh received a standing ovation for his opening song and dance! "Everywhere you looked—even though there were kind of like the biggest movie stars in the world—there was goodwill and warmth," he says.
But that was only a warm-up for Hugh's dancing shoes. Later in the show, he teamed up with Beyoncé to honor great musicals. "After she comes down, I sing from Grease 'I've got chills...,' that's the easiest acting I've ever done in my life," he says. "She's singing and I know there's a billion people and everyone in the audience, but I thought it was just for me."
You also never know who you'll meet backstage, Hugh says. Near the end of the show, Hugh says he watched past Best Actor and Best Actress winners introduce the nominees on a monitor. "I was sitting there, and I heard, 'That is great.' And I was like, 'That was great,'" he says. "And I [see it's] Steven Spielberg. [I said,] 'Hi Steven, how are you?'"
Photo: The Weinstein Company
So what did it feel like to finally win? "It really is an out-of-body experience," she says. "You just think, 'This can't be happening.'"
Kate says everyone in the category was just honored to be nominated along with such an accomplished actress as Meryl Streep. "That's a career-defining moment when you get to stand along someone like Meryl," she says. "And so I honestly did not think for one second that it was going to be me."
Kate says she also loved how the award was presented. "I think that was really a master stroke," she says. "We all had something to take home, no matter what, because those women were speaking to us, and it was a very special moment."
Still, Kate says it hasn't sunk in that the Oscar in her hand is hers. "Isn't he cute?" she says. "I keep sort of looking at him ... and looking at every little piece. Very nice bottom."
And her father now also rubs elbows with rock stars. "We went to the Vanity Fair party, and my dad met Elvis Costello, so that was a really fabulous moment for us," she says. "Thank God I brought my camera. I was kind of the sad tourist, taking photos of my dad with as many celebrities as possible. It was really great."
"I said, 'Hi, Mia, did you jump up and down?'" she says. "[Mia] says: 'Yes, I did, Mum, I did. I need to talk to you about the dress—it was gray.' She was absolutely mortified I wore a gray dress."
Kate says she doesn't consider herself a fashionista or follow the latest trends. But one thing she says she did know is that she didn't want a lot of dresses being sent to her. "I think in this time in the economy, it's just not nice to have people make lots of dresses and you just wear one out of a possible five," she says. "So Yves St. Laurent very kindly said, 'We'd like to make something for you,' and that was what we did."
"I have done quite a lot of nudity, and I feel like my kids—they're 8 and 5 now—maybe they're going to start to become aware of the amount of nudity I've done," she says. "I just sort of feel like I can't get away with it that much longer."
Photo: Focus Features
One thing that Sean did not mention in his speech was his family, but he says that his gratitude toward his wife, actress Robin Wright Penn, goes without saying. "[Robin's] implicit. I wanted to keep things focused on the professional team around this movie," Sean says. "Because with Robin comes my mother and my son and my daughter, and half of them will punish me if I mention them."
In Sean's acceptance speech, he mentioned that the success of Milk couldn't have come at a better time. "I think because [change] is in the air, and that's all it takes for it to be real," he says. "When that happens and people stand up for their beliefs and activate it, brave new things can happen."
Photo: The Weinstein Company
Penelope says one memory that does stand out was when five previous winners—including Whoopi Goldberg, Tilda Swinton and Goldie Hawn—presented her category. "It was beautiful to see those five amazing actresses. It was a very special moment, and it was long and my heart was going faster and faster and faster," she says. "When they opened the envelope and Tilda looked at me ... then I really thought I was going to faint. I said, 'I don't know how I'm going to make it up there if she says [my] name.' You want to win, but at the same time you are terrified to win."
When she accepted her award, Penelope didn't faint—but she did deliver some of her acceptance speech in Spanish. What did she say? "I said I wanted to dedicate it to all of the actors from my country and to all of the people that stayed up to watch the show and felt that this also belonged to them," she says.
It hasn't even been a full 24 hours since she gave her acceptance speech, and Penelope says she thinks it will take a few days for reality to sink in. "Yesterday when they gave it to me, I had such an attack back there and I couldn't stop crying for 20 minutes," she says.
Penelope says she got her first dose of reality this morning, when she saw her Oscar sitting just where she left it—in her bed, on the pillow beside her! "I looked and it was there! It's going to take a few days to really digest the whole thing."
Heath's sister, Kate, says she knew the role of the Joker brought him a lot of joy. "He had the time of his life," Kate says. When Kate saw The Dark Knight for the first time, she says it was bittersweet. "I found myself laughing through the whole thing as well as holding back tears," Kate says. "The weirdest thing is, I never wanted it to end. No, because it was like the last bit of him."
When Heath's family accepted the Best Supporting Actor award, Kate said they were accepting it on behalf of his daughter, Matilda. "We keep all his keepsakes for her. Everything is for Matilda's because that's her daddy's things and her daddy's memories."
Gayle tells Heath's father, Kim, that she was particularly moved when he referred to Heath as "our boy." "We always refer to him as 'our boy'—he always will be," Kim says. As for the rest of the acceptance speech, Kim says he think Heath would have been pleased. "He's probably saying to us right now, 'I'm glad you were down there doing this right now rather than me!'"
Danny's persistence paid off, and the Academy rewarded the film in a big way. "The Academy, to recognize a film like that at this particular time when small indie films are under pressure is an amazing statement," Danny says. "It's a wonderful testament."
Not only was Slumdog Millionaire a triumph for indie films, but Danny says the Academy also was extending a nod to Bollywood. "It's a huge historic moment really for Bollywood and Hollywood," Danny says. "It's the first time where they've reached across to each other."
The stars of the film seem so close-knit—are Dev and Freida dating? "The two of us are really good friends. This is our first film—we've been sailing in the same boat," Freida says. "We just help each other so much, just balance off each other—so people have translated that into something else."
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