Oscars: "Slumdog" Scores Best Picture and Music Category Sweep, Penn Wins Best Actor

By |

Slumdog Millionaire dominated at last night's 81st Academy Awards, nabbing eight Oscars from its 10 nominations, including Best Picture. In addition to winning Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and a slew of technical awards, Slumdog also swept the major music categories as composer A.R. Rahman took home Oscars for both Best Original Song ("Jai Ho") and Best Score.

In the musical introduction prior to the Best Original Song presentation, Rahman performed both his nominated songs, "Jai Ho" and "O Saya." While the version of "O Saya" on the Slumdog soundtrack features M.I.A., the rapper did not perform at the Oscars, presumably because she has just given birth. The third nominee for Best Original Song, Peter's Gabriel's "Here on Earth" from Wall-E, was performed by John Legend after Gabriel boycotted performing at the ceremony due to the mandated shortened version of his song. In another of the ceremony's music numbers, Beyonce joined host Hugh Jackman for a tribute to musicals of Hollywood and Broadway past.

In what was perhaps the most anticipated award of the night, the late Heath Ledger won the Best Supporting Actor trophy for his take on the Joker in The Dark Knight, with Ledger's family accepting the award on his behalf. In the Best Actor category, Milk star and recent Rolling Stone cover boy Sean Penn overcame a late surge by The Wrestler's Mickey Rourke to win his second Oscar. For more on Penn's journey from Jeff Spicoli to two-time Oscar winner, be sure to check out his Rolling Stone interview.

Rounding out the acting categories was Penelope Cruz taking Best Supporting Actress for Vicky Christina Barcelona and Kate Winslet finally winning a Best Actress trophy for her role in The Reader.

So how did you fare in your Oscar pools, and how accurate were the predictions of our resident film critic Peter Travers? Watch Travers's prelude to the Academy Awards video to see how he scored on Hollywood's biggest night.

Related Stories:

Peter Travers on the Roles That Defined Sean Penn
The Essential Sean Penn, From "Taps" to "Milk"
Sean Penn: The Story Behind the Story