Oscars celebrate “slumdog millionaire”

The drama "Slumdog Millionaire" barely gave the competition a chance at this year's Oscars ceremony. The story of an Indian orphan boy who finds wealth and love won Best Picture in Los Angeles on Monday night. The drama won a total of eight of Hollywood's top trophies, including the award for director Danny Boyle. The German short film "Spielzeugland" received the only "German" Oscar.

Actress Kate Winslet received her first Academy Award for "The Reader. Other acting awards went to Sean Penn, Penelope Cruz and the late Heath Ledger. The foreign Oscar was surprisingly won by the Japanese film "Departures," which beat out the German RAF drama "Der Baader Meinhof Komplex" (The Baader Meinhof Complex). "Slumdog Millionaire" was at 81. Academy Awards victorious in eight of nine categories. In addition to film and direction, the U.S.-British production won the awards for adapted screenplay, cinematography, editing, sound, music and song. The drama will be released on 19. March in German cinemas.The big loser at the Kodak Theatre was "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button". The film, in which Brad Pitt ages backwards as the title character, was up for 13 nominations but had to settle for three supporting categories. After five nominations, Winslet was able to celebrate her first Oscar. The 33-year-old Brit was honored for her portrayal of a former concentration camp guard in the literary adaptation "The Reader". She prevailed against her colleagues Meryl Streep and Angelina Jolie, among others. Sean Penn accepted his second Oscar after "Mystic River". He portrays gay U.S. politician Harvey Milk, who was assassinated in 1978, in "Milk". Penn combined his acceptance speech with an appeal for equal rights for homosexuals in the U.S. and paid tribute to the comeback of fellow nominee Mickey Rourke ("The Wrestler").As expected, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Ledger ("Brokeback Mountain") only the second posthumous acting Oscar in its history. The Australian was honored as Best Supporting Actor for his role as the Joker in the Batman film "The Dark Knight". He had died in January 2008 at the age of 28 from an accidental drug overdose. His father Kim Ledger accepted the award and thanked the Academy for recognizing his son's "fantastic work". Cruz received the first Oscar of the night and of her career. The 34-year-old was honored for her supporting role in Woody Allen's comedy "Vicky Cristina Barcelona". Japan enjoyed its first Oscar for Best Non-English Language Film after eleven nominations thanks to "Departures" ("Okuribito") by Yojiro Takita. The film about an unemployed cellist beat out Israeli favorite "Waltz with Bashir" against all odds. In addition to "The Baader Meinhof Complex," German director Werner Herzog also came away empty-handed in the documentary category. On the other hand, his Berlin colleague Jochen Alexander Freydank was honored. In "Toyland" with Julia Jager, he tells the story of a young boy during World War II who believes his Jewish neighbors are disappearing into "Toyland". Freydank spoke of an almost surreal moment in his acceptance speech. During his childhood in the GDR, Hollywood had seemed unattainable to him. Director Danny Boyle thanked organizers for an "extraordinary" show after his Oscar win. Due to the poor ratings of the past, the gala had presented itself with a new concept this year. This included a redesigned stage that moved closer to the audience, as well as introductions of the performers by previous award winners. Actor Hugh Jackman ("Australia") led song and dance interludes through the gala, which lasted about three and a half hours, and was supported by singer Beyonce Knowles, among others. Winners were chosen in a total of 24 categories. An honorary Oscar was awarded to 82-year-old comedian Jerry Lewis ("The Nutty Professor") for his decades-long commitment to the fight against muscular diseases.

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