The Oscars 2009


By Justin Parkinson

All times are GMT (Los Angeles time is eight hours behind GMT).

0600 That ends our live text coverage of the 81st Academy Awards. The event will be remembered for the success of Slumdog Millionaire, Kate Winslet finally breaking her Oscars duck and Heath Ledger's posthumous award. The ceremony was slick, quick and, with Hugh Jackman in control, appeared to do the trick. Thanks for joining us and see you again soon for more live text.

0559 The BBC's Neil Smith writes: And that, as the woman in charge of the press interview room says, is a wrap.

Neil Smith
0557 The BBC's Neil Smith writes: "Hello, BBC!" grins Danny Boyle as I stand up to ask why he decided to bring the young stars of Slumdog Millionaire to Hollywood's biggest night. "We were very concerned about it distorting their lives," he explains. "They're young, they need to be at school and the awards season is long. But someone told me they will put the experience into their memory bank and you should not deny them that. We tried to make the film like a family unit and having them here makes it feel like a family - it makes the night deeply special for all of us."

The Trainspotting man is beaming and ecstatic, quoting both W H Auden and Albert Einstein and begging the assembled throng to thank his agent on his behalf. No problem, Danny. Anything else we can do, you just let us know.

howardr2 tweets: Oscarcast was the best in years. Mostly solid choices, entertaining (Steve Martin and Tina Fey were terrific), and it ended on time.Read howardr2 tweets

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Frenchy, Hants, says: Oh yes, we did it. An amazing night for British film all round. Hats off to Curious Case of Benjamin Button, you fought a good fight but Slumdog the underdog swept the board. Overall a good Oscars 09.

0549 The BBC's Colin Paterson says: It was a totally different type of show. For the first time since 1985 when Jack Lemmon hosted it, it wasn't hosted by a comedian. There was a round stage so the audience were very close to the performers. It felt quite pacy for the first hour, it really slackened off in the second hour, but then it got exciting again in the last hour. I think Hugh Jackman will probably get pretty good reviews for his performances.

0543 Outside the Vanity Fair party, former best actor award winner Robert De Niro wishes Sean Penn "every success".

0542 Only seven films have taken more Oscars than Slumdog. Leading on 11 are Ben-Hur, Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. On 10 is West Side Story, followed by The English Patient, Gigi and The Last Emperor on nine.

0538 Slumdog Millionaire, which took eight Oscars, is in some esteemed company. Gone With the Wind, From Here to Eternity, On The Waterfront, My Fair Lady, Gandhi, Amadeus and Cabaret are the other films to achieve this result.

Neil Smith
0535 The BBC's Neil Smith writes: With the ceremony done and dusted, we've now had both best actors come through what is now a rather exhausted-looking press room. Here are a few snippets from what they told us:

- A thrilled Kate Winslet said she "really doesn't care" how the press in the UK react to her victory. ("It makes me sad when people back home can't be happy for one of their kind," she sighs before jumping off the podium to give Daily Mail reporter Baz Bamigboye a hug.) She also had a message for her parents' local paper, who last put a Winslet on its pages when her mother won a pickled onion competition: "Here's your next Winslet picture, Reading Evening Post!"

- Sean Penn tells the anti-gay activists who picketed the Kodak before the ceremony that they should "turn in their hate card and find their better self." ("It's a demonstration of emotional cowardice to be so afraid of extending the same rights to their fellow men they would want for themselves.") He also paid tribute to fellow nominee Mickey Rourke, calling him "one of the great poetic talents in acting we have. "He's someone I've looked up to, directed and admired," he explained. "Throughout most of The Wrestler he had me weeping."

0532 Many of the top celebs are heading to the Vanity Fair party. Robert Downey Jr, who was nominated in the best supporting actor category, has just arrived. He's not talking to the press.

writegrrl tweets: Wow! I thought that was the best Oscar show in recent memory. Beautiful stage - and I loved the group presenters. Good job! Read writegrrl tweets

0519 Singer and actress Madonna says Slumdog Millionaire was "brilliant in every way", as the press scramble for comments from the celebrities now beginning to arrive at the Vanity Fair party.

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Ritesh, India, says: Long-awaited Oscar came to India as A R Rahman receives it. A day people of India will remember throughout their lives while eight Oscars to a film which reveals true life and love of India.

Sean Penn
0515 Best actor Oscar winner Sean Penn, who played gay politician Harvey Milk, says protesters outside the theatre held up "hateful signs". He urges them to find "their better self".

0512 Asked how she felt about husband Sam Mendes directing sex scenes involving her in The Reader, Kate Winslet says: "He's used to it. He'd seen me naked before I'd even met him [in films], for God's sake."

0508 These may be difficult economic times, but try telling that to the caterers. As well as smoked salmon served on slices of bread cut in Oscar statuette shapes, guests at this evening's Governor's Ball will be served three-inch high chocolates covered in powdered 24 carat gold.

Kate Winslet
0507 Kate Winslet tells a press conference that winning an Oscar is "really a lot better" than losing. She adds that she is an "unlikely hero".

0501 It's been a good night for the British film industry, thanks mainly to Slumdog Millionaire and, of course, Kate Winslet. Hugh Jackman was a polished performer as host, putting on quite a Baz Luhrmann-inspired show. The whole thing lasted just under three-and-a-half hours.

Slumdog Millionaire cast
The cast of Slumdog Millionaire congregated on stage after the film won best picture

0458 The ceremony is over. Now the thousands of film folk gathered in and around the Kodak Theatre will head off the after-show parties. First up is the Governor's Ball.

0455 Slumdog producer Christian Colson says the script inspired "mad love" and that director Danny Boyle is a "genius".

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Paul, Oxford, says: Never, in the world of Oscar have I been so depressed. Sean Penn's performance was good. Yes Mickey Rourke has upset the community, but it has been many, many years since I saw a performance as real and genuinely engaging as his performance in 'The Wrestler' - I'm not shocked, but horribly disappointed at the seeming politics of Hollywood. A true shame.

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0453 The Oscar for best picture goes to Slumdog Millionaire. Wow. That's eight. A standing ovation.

standupkid tweets: Sean Penn rocks his speech. If you haven't, go see Milk. Amazing, amazing film. And Penn is outrageously good.Read standupkid tweets

0449 The crescendo - it's best picture time. Will Slumdog Millionaire do it again? Steven Spielberg is presenting the award.

0448 The BBC's Neil Smith writes: Guess it was one bout too many for Mickey Rourke. Kudos to Sean Penn, but having seen Randy the Ram in action at the Spirits yesterday we've all been denied one hell of an acceptance speech.

comment from blogger
A O Scott blogs on The Carpetbagger, New York Times: It looks like they might bring this one in at under three hours, so I'll curb my complaining. And I'll close by noting that this seemed not only like a relatively brief Oscar ceremony, but a small one. Maybe this is a harbinger of things to come.Read more A O Scott on The Carpetbagger

0447 Penn says he is proud to live in a country which elected "an elegant man" as president and adds that Mickey Rourke "rises again and he is my brother".

Sean Penn
Sean Penn celebrated his second Oscar

0446 That's a bit of a surprise. Penn was second favourite after Mickey Rourke. It's his second best actor Oscar, the previous one being for Mystic River. To laughter, Penn jokingly calls the audience "homo-loving sons of guns". He praises director Gus Van Sant. Penn speaks out against the "great shame" of Californians who voted in favour of a ban on gay marriage.

Sean Penn
0443 And the winner of the best actor Oscar is Sean Penn for Milk.

0438 Again, five previous winners - Robert DeNiro, Sir Ben Kingsley, Michael Douglas, Adrien Brody and Sir Anthony Hopkins - are up to praise the nominees.

JimiRadcliff tweets: That was the coolest thing I have seen on the Oscars, Kate Winslet's dad whistling. Read JimiRadcliff tweets

0437 Only two awards to go now. It's best actor time.

0436 Winslet is holding her composure as she pays tribute to her husband, director Sam Mendes, and her children. Her fellow nominees are "goddesses", especially Meryl Streep. No tears - just about.

0436 The BBC's Neil Smith writes: Slumdog Millionaire editor Chris Dickens enters the press room just as Danny Boyle is named best director. "A year ago we had no idea that we'd be here," said the British craftsman, a dead ringer for singer Moby. "I thought the writer and director would get a few awards, but I never imagined we'd have so many of us up here."

0434 Winslet goes up on stage to speak. She says she has been making a version of this address since before she was eight years old. Winslet thanks her friends and family. She asks her dad to whistle. He does so and she waves to him.

Kate Winslet
Winslet kept her composure through most of her speech

0431 Britain's Kate Winslet has finally won an Oscar. After five previous nominations she is best actress for her role in The Reader. The crowd goes wild.

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Daniela, Ottawa, says: I was actually entertained by the Oscars this year! Three hours in and I'm not asleep yet. Great show and a great host! Good job this year, Oscars.

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Stephen, Glasgow, says: The show seems a little rushed this year, but Jackman's done a surprisingly good job. Makes a refreshing change from the usual American 'comics' who try far too hard for laughs.

0427 Now for the best actress award. As with the best supporting actor and actress Oscars, five former recipients are on stage. Is it Kate Winslet's year at last?

0426 The BBC's Neil Smith writes: Still beaming as he enters the press room, sound engineer Resul Pookutty says winning the best sound Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire is "an absolute glory for me and my country". "In 80 years of Academy history, no Indian technician has been nominated for an Oscar. I'm the first to be nominated, and the first to win. That's what I referred to in my acceptance speech as history."

0424 Boyle says the atmosphere is "wonderful" and thanks a long list of people. He apologises for not including one of the film's choreographers in the credits. The team working on Slumdog "dwarf even the sky", he adds.

0423 The BBC's Neil Smith writes: The Japanese journalists on my table are having a terrific night. Not only did one of their countrymen win the best animated short prize, but they've just seen Japanese film Departures (Okuributo) beat hotly tipped contenders The Class and Waltz with Bashir to the foreign language film award. Guess the sake's on them later.

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0422 Danny Boyle has done it. He is named best director for Slumdog Millionaire - what a night.

0419 The best director award is about to be announced. Given Slumdog's success so far, Danny Boyle is the red-hot favourite.

Neil Smith
0417 The BBC's Neil Smith writes: The mother of the late Heath Ledger admitted she felt some relief when her son was named best supporting actor. "Nothing's a sure thing, so we're really relieved and excited," she told the world's press. His sister Kate, meanwhile, revealed she had seen "a little bit of footage" from The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, the Terry Gilliam film her brother was working on at the time of his death last year. "I think it's going to be amazing," she said. "Heath always had such enthusiasm for what Terry was doing, and we've had some amazing actors - Jude Law, Johnny Depp and Colin Farrell - stepping in to complete it."

0416 The BBC's Tom Brook says: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - so far it's got three trophies. It seems to me this film, although a frontrunner, is not going to go home with many Oscar trophies. The feeling is there's a lot of goodwill towards Slumdog Millionaire tonight.

Everybody is waiting for the best actress category - Kate Winslet is tipped to win but she is up against Meryl Streep who has been nominated 15 times. People think it will go to Kate Winslet, but Meryl Streep may get it.

0415 A tribute to some of the leading film figures who have died recently, with musical backing by Queen Latifah. Playwright Harold Pinter, actors Paul Newman, Charlton Heston, Roy Scheider and Paul Schofield are among those remembered.

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0408 Best foreign language film time. The Oscar goes to Departures, a Japanese movie about an unemployed cellist who works in a mortuary.

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0403 The three nominations for best original song are played on stage. Or at least parts of each. This is the bit of the ceremony where Peter Gabriel would have performed Down to Earth from Wall-E, had he not pulled out in protest at too short a slot. Anyway, the best original song Oscar goes to AR Rahman - again - and Gulzar for Slumdog Millionaire's Jai Ho. Six for Slumdog. Can director Danny Boyle make it seven?

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0355 The Academy's orchestra plays excerpts from the best original score nominees. The Oscar goes to AR Rahman for Slumdog Millionaire. I make that five wins for this film. In the next category - best song - it has two out of three nominations.

0347 Eddie Murphy is on stage to present the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Jerry Lewis, the creator and star of the original The Nutty Professor. It marks his work to raise awareness of, and money to combat, muscular dystrophy.

comment from blogger
T L Stanley on Gold Rush says: Illusionist and daredevil Philippe Petit balanced the Oscar statue on his chin and did a magic trick after Man on Wire, the incredible film about his insane tightrope walk between the Twin Towers, won the Oscar for best documentary. Petit can't resist the spotlight, as anyone who's seen the compelling movie about his life and mind-boggling World Trade Center stunt can tell you. He's energized, delighted and fortified by it. Read more TL Stanley on Gold Rush

0340 It's not long now until the really big awards - best film, actor, actress, director. Slumdog Millionaire, Mickey Rourke, Kate Winslet and Danny Boyle have done pretty well during the long film awards season. This is the big one, though.

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0336 Next, the film editing Oscar. Smith is still on stage. The winner is Chris Dickens. It's another Slumdog slamdunk. It makes you proud to be British.

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0335 After a short instrumental burst of ELO's Mr Blue Sky, Smith presents the sound mixing award. The winner is Slumdog Millionaire. Another Indian-British victory. The recipients are quite breathless - are the stage steps so tiring? Director Danny Boyle looks delighted. And who can blame him.

Neil Smith

0334 The BBC's Neil Smith writes: As the first honoree to receive her award from five of her predecessors, how did Cruz feel the gimmick worked? "It was amazing to see all those women up there and hear all the beautiful things they said about us. It was a magical moment; I didn't know if I was going to survive it." She also said it was great for a European actress to forge a career in Hollywood. "We are all mixed together more and more every day and that has to be reflected in cinema. I'm happy that finally that door seems to be more open."

0332 The BBC 's Neil Smith writes: In her post-award press conference, best supporting actress winner Penelope Cruz revealed what she said in the Spanish part of her acceptance speech. "I said I wanted to dedicate my award to all the actors in my country and all the people who are now watching there who are feeling this also belongs to them." She also paid tribute to Woody Allen - "I adore him! He's so funny and charming, peculiar and unique" - and revealed how she'll celebrate later ("I want good music I can dance to").

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Ross Stevenson, Glasgow, says: Good on the Academy for giving the Oscar to Heath Ledger. It was well deserved whether he died or not. It would have been easy for them to pass him over but I'm very glad they didn't, I honestly think his performance as the Joker was the best of the past 12 months. Given the weight of his role in The Dark Knight it really should have been Best Actor though as opposed to Best Supporting Actor.

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0330 Smith gets a little tongue-tied as he lists the nominees for the sound editing Oscar. It goes to The Dark Knight's Richard King.

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0328 After a short film showcasing Hollywood's skill at special effects and action scenes, Will Smith - who is an Academy member - is on stage to talk about it. He presents the award for visual effects to the team who worked on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. This film is having a good night. It looks like it's Button vs Slumdog this year.

0323 We are more than halfway through this year's awards now. Will Jackman keep the ceremony to less than three-and-a-half hours?

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0320 The awards are churning out again. The Oscar for best short documentary goes to Smile Pinki, which deals with a five-year-old Indian girl's surgery on a cleft lip.

meickmeyer tweets: Kudos to the Ledger family for a solid, respectful acceptance. Don't know how they didn't cry. I didn't know him and I got teary. Read meickmeyer tweets

0318 Monsieur Petit appears on stage and balances the Oscar statuette on his chin. What a show.

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0317 Moving on, the Oscar for the best documentary feature goes to Man on Wire, about Phillippe Petit's wire-walk between New York's twin towers in 1974.

0316 Heath Ledger's mother, father and sister accept the Oscar on his behalf. His father describes it as "humbling". The award would have "validated" his son professionally, he adds. The actor's mother says it is time to celebrate his achievements. His sister says she wishes he was still here.

0312 The BBC's Neil Smith writes: Simon Beaufoy tells the press room it was "absolutely right" to bring the young stars of Slumdog Millionaire over for the Oscars. "We were so worried about bringing them over; we wondered, would it seem inappropriate? But they were completely cool about it, running around having a laugh. In the end it was absolutely the right thing to do."

The winner of the adapted screenplay award also said it was "a real shock" to have the Oscar, "this iconic image of cinema," in his hand. "For a while no one wanted Slumdog Millionaire; now it's going to be written on the walls of this place."

Beaufoy revealed the film-makers had "taken lot of flack for showing the slums in Mumbai, which Bollywood doesn't do. The fact we did and audiences in India are going to see it has opened up new cinematic pathways for Indian directors. Imagine if Hollywood and Bollywood combined - that would be incredibly exciting."

Heath Ledger
0307 Heath Ledger, who died last year, becomes only the second man to win an acting Oscar posthumously. The Australian's award is an emotionally charged affair. His family are in the auditorium.

0303 As with the best supporting actress award earlier, five previous winners of the best supporting actor statuette are on stage.

0301 And now it's almost time for the best supporting actor award. The late Heath Ledger has been widely touted for his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight.

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0258 It's quite a spectacular now. Dancers everywhere. Some old-fashioned glamour. Showbiz. "The musical is back," proclaims Jackman, to excited applause.

0255 Jackman has changed his clothes - white tie and top hat. In light of the success of Mamma Mia, it's time for a tribute to musicals. He's singing again - and dancing, cane in hand, up and down the steps. He's already sung lyrics from about seven films. Now it's Grease, with Beyonce. Then Sound of Music. Then Chicago. Eclectic, yes. Electric? Hmmmm.

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0247 Pineapple Express stars James Franco and Seth Rogan present the best live action short film award, which goes to Spielzeugland (Toyland).

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Trevor, Watford, says: Ben Stiller - genius - Joaquin Phoenix will never work in Hollywood again, and the meth lab joke at the Oscars - brilliant.

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Dhiraj, London, says: I would like to disagree with Bipin from Manhattan. I'm from the sub-continent too, but everyone I've spoken to loves Slumdog Millionaire, as it portrays a very real part of India. Not the entire part, sure, but a very real part nonetheless. Besides, I would love to see Indian filmmakers tackle slum life with as much realism as Danny Boyle did!

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0236 Comic actor Ben Stiller, sporting a large beard and dark glasses in homage to eccentric Joaquin Phoenix, appears alongside Star Wars actress Nathalie Portman. It's time for the cinematography award. It goes to Slumdog Millionaire's Anthony Dod Mantle. Another British award.

pixability tweets: I can't believe they gave the makeup #Oscar to a CGI movie - though must admit I didn't realize Benjamin Button was CGI when I first saw it.Read pixability tweets

0229 Now a short film showing how romance looked in the movies of 2008. Incongruous but diverting.

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0225 We are rattling through these awards. Next it's make-up. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button wins again. Make-up artist Greg Cannom reads out a list of tributes at pace.

0224 O'Connor thanks a whole list of people, saying Duchess star Keira Knightley is "one classy lady".

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0222 The previous winners ushered off stage with some haste, it's on to costume design. The award goes to Michael O'Connor for The Duchess. Another Brit.

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Bipin, Manhattan says: I am from the sub-continent and all of my friends that I have talked with say that there is nothing special about Slumdog Millionaire but what we are forgetting is that the sort of scenario the movie portrays is completely unknown to the people especially in the west. So I think that's the reason for its popularity.

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0219 Sex and the City's Sarah Jessica Parker and 007 Daniel Craig present the art direction statuette for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, for which Brad Pitt is nominated in the best actor category. We are a quarter of the way through tonight's 24 awards.

0215 The BBC's Neil Smith writes: The biggest laugh of the night so far in the press room came when they cut to Brad and Angelina during Jennifer Aniston's speech. Someone in the gallery has a sense of humour.
Sadly, our friends Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes missed out on the best animated short award. Thanks for the blog anyway guys.

MelissaCasillas tweets: I knew they couldn't resist cutting to Angelina Jolie while Jennifer Aniston was presenting.Read more MelissaCasillas tweets

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0210 The awards are coming thick and fast now. Best animated short film, as chosen by the Academy, is La Maison en Petits Cubes, pronounced a tad un-Frenchly by Black.

comment from blogger
Scott Feinberg on The Envelope: Beaufoy was previously nominated eleven years ago for "The Full Monty." Is this the beginning of the sweep? It's quite likely.Read more Scott Feinberg on The Envelope

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0207 Jack Black and Jennifer Aniston are up to present the best animated feature film, which is awarded to robot comedy Wall-E.

0204 Beaufoy says the crew and actors involved in Slumdog have changed his life, to warm applause.

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Colin Mathie, Glasgow, says: I'm not sure I'm liking this new method of reading out the nominees. Seems a bit long winded to me.

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0201 Now it's best adapted screenplay, which goes to Simon Beaufoy for Slumdog Millionaire. The first British award of the night.

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0200 The best screenplay award goes to Dustin Lance Black for Milk. He says it was not an easy film to make. He's getting tearful as he says gay men should get equal rights across the US.

Neil Smith
0159 The BBC's Neil Smith writes: Will every acting award have five presenters? That probably explains why there were so many previous winners on the red carpet this year.

0154 Former Oscars host Steve Martin and ace impersonator Tina Fey are on stage for the best original screenplay award.

0152 Well, that was a good start on the speech front - dignified and not too emotional.

0151 Penelope Cruz says it was a privilege to work on the film. Rather tearfully, she also pays tribute to Spanish director and mentor Pedro Almodovar. The Oscars ceremony is a "moment of unity for the world", she adds.

0150 The BBC's Neil Smith writes: Not quite the lavish opening number we'd been promised, though it still got a round of applause in the press room. Hugh Jackman's credit crunch gag - "Next year I'm starring in a movie called New Zealand" - also got a big laugh.

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0148 And the winner of the best supporting actress is Penelope Cruz for Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona. One award down, quite a few to go.

0145 It's time for the best supporting actress award.

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0142 The host pays tribute to Meryl Streep's 15 career Oscar nominations. He says one word comes into his mind: "Steroids." That sounds distinctly like the work of his gag-writing friend Ricky Gervais, flying the flag as always for British humour.

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0140 The 3,500-strong crowd seem to love the song and dance routine. Anne Hathaway gets some applause too. Jackman is shaking hands and sitting on Frank Langella's lap. The stage is unnervingly (for some of the stars) close to the seats.

0139 The host picks up (literally) best actress nominee Anne Hathaway and performances a duet with her based on Frost/Nixon. "Confess to me," he urges her. Baz Luhrmann's direction is irreverent, to say the least. Now there's a dance about The Reader. Would Billy Crystal or Bob Hope have done this?

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Grant Foster, Langley says: Mickey Rourke's white suit is a stroke of genius. He retains the rock 'n' roll look for the Oscars & deserves to get the nod tonight for a film I've only felt the need to see on five occasions. The Ram Rocks!

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Amir, London says: I think it's appalling how they've turned the Slumdog kids into a spectacle just to boost their chances of winning. Let's see them forgotten and re-remembered in five years time, just in time for the collector's edition DVD.

0133 Jackman sings a tribute to the Oscars. A Slumdog Millionaire reference. He looks into Kate Winslet's eyes and holds her hands as he talks of "human excrement". A weird start.

0131 The set is massive and sparkling. Here's Hugh. He praises Kate Winslet's "range". A clue?

0130 We are under way. Let the glamour begin.

0129 Almost there. What does X-Men star Hugh Jackman have in store for us? He's promised to keep the ceremony short but sweet, but these things have a habit of overrunning....

Neil Smith

0128 The BBC's Neil Smith writes: "So pleased we were able to bring so many people here," says Danny Boyle as he and the entire Slumdog team cram onto the same interview platform. "These are the real stars," says Dev Patel, hugging the kids from the movie. Mickey Rourke is almost in tears as he talks about his beloved Loki "falling asleep" in his arms. Robert Downey Jr says Sherlock Holmes will be "darn swell".

0125 Tomorrow's obvious tabloid puns? How about Kate Wins It, for starters. Or Kate Winless, if Ms Winslet loses. There have to be some Rourke/Wrestler and Slumdog Millionaire puns out there too.

0119 Hannah Montana star Miley Cyrus, who has caused quite a stir with her dress, describes Angelina Jolie as her "favourite person in history". Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Churchill, Joan of Arc, Abraham Lincoln et al don't even compare, it seems.

maydbs tweets: Wow, is it just me or Danny Boyle is looking like Morrissey? Read maydbs tweets

0116 Veteran UK broadcaster Sir David Frost, he of Frost/Nixon fame, is giving interviews, accompanied by director Ron Howard.

0115 As the final stars file into the Kodak Theatre, the anticipation is building. But it wasn't always like this. For a time the press were told in advance who had received awards, under strictest embargo. But, guess what. The embargo was broken, the Academy ended the arrangement and now broadcasters and writers are as much in the dark as everyone else.

Slumdog Millionaire cast
The Slumdog Millionaire cast have been enjoying their big night

0110 The BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan writes: The child stars of the film Slumdog Millionaire have been collecting autographs from the stars. 12-year-old Tanay Chheda showed us his book which included Daniel Craig, Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep.

comment from blogger
Xan Brooks blogs on The Guardian website: One of this year's key questions solved. Angelina Jolie is wearing a black dress, not a white one. Inevitably her arrival causes quite a stir. "The crowd behind me are literally going bonkers," claims excitable Fearne Cotton. Watch out, Fearne! They'll bum-rush the cordons and devour you whole; screaming, screaming all the while. Read more Xan Brooks on The Guardian

Kate Winslet
0103 Britain's Kate Winslet, nominated for best actress, is here - in a grey dress. She tells US broadcaster ABC her main concern is not to trip over her outfit.

0100 Brangelina is here. Angelina Jolie is decked out in a demure black number and Brad Pitt in conventional black tie. Mickey Rourke, by contrast, is wearing white, with a medallion showing his beloved pet dog Loki, who died recently. Will his erstwhile canine companion get a mention if Rourke has to give an acceptance speech? I wouldn't bet against it.

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Dom, London, UK says: It's all about Man On Wire for the documentary, surely? Saw it this morning for the first time - what a great story and so well told.

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Luke, York, UK, says: Currently third Year Film and Television student and utterly disgusted that the Oscars are not on terrestrial television. To be fair, I do have Sky but funnily enough, not Sky Movies. What am I studying again? Whoops.

Rajini Vaidyanathan

0057 The BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan writes: I've just been speaking to Indian composer A R Rahman, who could win India an Oscar this year. He's been nominated for his musical work on Slumdog Millionaire. Mr Rahman says he has low expectations about his chances of winning but if he did he has predicted India will go mad.

0055 The stars are out in force now. Meryl Streep and Robert Downey Jr are doing interviews.

0052 The BBC's Neil Smith writes: "James Bond is here," says one TV commentator excitedly as Daniel Craig turns up. Queen Latifah is here too, reportedly to sing I'll Be Seeing You during the death reel. Anne Hathaway and Evan Rachel Wood look like old-time movie stars in shiny white gowns. Amy Adams, though, is wearing a necklace that looks like something she made herself out of second-hand marbles.

0051 Spare a thought for Mike Myers. His film The Love Guru has won three Golden Raspberry Awards - a sort of anti-Academy Awards celebrating the worst offerings of the year. Sir Ben Kingsley, a previous Oscar winner, was among those "honoured" for his role alongside the former Wayne's World star. He's here on the red carpet, though, with pride seemingly intact.

Neil Smith

0047 The BBC's Neil Smith writes: Mamma Mia's Dominic Cooper is here; will he perform as has been mooted online? So is Natalie Portman in perky pink. Milk star James Franco looks dashing, though I think he's wearing the same suit from the Spirits. (Oddly, his director Gus Van Sant and Slumdog composer A R Rahman have gone for almost exactly the same shade of ivory tie.) Supporting actor candidate Josh Brolin is doing the rounds with his partner Diane Lane.

Hugh Jackman
0039 More on host Hugh Jackman. He has been using near-the-knuckle UK comedian Ricky Gervais - creator of The Office - to come up with gags. How blue can Hugh go, one wonders, without upsetting Hollywood sensibilities. Does the Oscars do David Brent-like embarrassed silences?

0034 What are you doing to celebrate Oscars night? Across the UK many people are holding all-night parties, with a devil-may-care attitude to work on Monday. Let us know what you are up to using the form in the top right-hand corner of this page.

Sean Penn
0030 Still no sign of Mickey Rourke or Kate Winslet. Will they have time for any interviews. Will Rourke feel like doing any? James Franco, star of Pineapple Express and the Spider-Man films is here. Sex and the City's Sarah Jessica Parker is here. Major nominee alert: Milk's Sean Penn is on the carpet.

0027 Slumdog Millionaire's Danny Boyle, nominated for best director, tells the BBC the film's success is really down to the actors. Will he let them go to the podium on his behalf if he wins, then?

0025 What kind of a show are we in for? Amid concern over falling viewing figures in recent years, there is speculation that we might be in for a little more pazazz. Host Hugh Jackman, no stranger to musical theatre, is reportedly planning to get things under way with a song-and-dance routine involving the efforts of Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann. Will a little bit of Australian stardust give the Oscars a lift?

0023 The BBC's Neil Smith writes: Said hi to best actress outsider Melissa Leo, who was so gracious at the Spirit Awards on Saturday I almost hope she wins. (She won't, of course. Even she wouldn't bet on herself.) Supporting actress hopeful Viola Davis, nominated for Doubt, is positively glowing in a golden gown. Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical fame have turned up together, which is sure to get the Twitterverse twittering. Oh, and there's best actor nominee Richard Jenkins looking distinguished.

0020 The BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan writes: We've been given a copy of the menu the stars will tuck into at the Governors Ball, the official Oscars after-party. It is lavish and includes lobster, sushi, poached shrimp, lobster tails, crab legs and mussels. 1500 guests are expected to attend.

0015 The red carpet is swarming. Sir Anthony Hopkins is meeting and greeting.

e-mail sent in by reader
Perry, Stevenage, UK, says: Oscar does like to shock people. Slumdog, Rourke, Winslet and Ledger may be clear favourites for major honours, but I'm pretty sure they won't all win. Slumdog will win the Screenplay award, as the "indie hits" always do.

0009 A Hollywood legend is here. Mickey Rooney is doing interviews, with the same aplomb as the days when he and Judy Garland were two of the biggest names in film.

0007 Does 2009 mark the 70th anniversary of the greatest ever Oscars? The year 1939 saw Gone With the Wind take best film, beating the likes of The Wizard of Oz, Wuthering Heights, Mr Smith Goes to Washington and Goodbye, Mr Chips. How does 2009 compare?

0001 One of the big nominees has arrived - The Visitor's Richard Jenkins, who is up for best actor. He's probably the least recognisable of all the main nominees.

Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus

tweet tweets: Miley Cyrus arrived wearing an ivory silk chiffon beaded V-neck ball gown from Zuhair Murad's Haute Couture Spring 2009 collection. Read tweets

thefashioncult tweets: Miley Cyrus looks like a sugar coated Disney character. Read thefashioncult tweets

Kate Winslet
2347 Will it finally be Kate Winslet's year? She has been nominated for awards five times in the past without once winning. If she ends up as a runner-up in the best actress category this time round she will enter the record books as a six-times loser, matched only by Deborah Kerr and Thelma Ritter. She must be a little nervous.

2347 The BBC's Neil Smith writes: And we're off. The Slumdog Millionaire crew have arrived, director Danny Boyle flanked by around 10 members of his cast and crew. (Rather delightfully, they include the film's young stars, who have been flown in specially from India.) Supporting actress hopeful Taraji P Henson is also here blowing kisses at the camera, as is Virginia Madsen in a red dress that matches the carpet. Milk actor Emile Hirsch is here, looking rather smarter than he did at the Spirits yesterday. And look, there's previous best actor winner Anthony Hopkins. Oh, I could murder a nice Chianti.

Rajini Vaidyanathan
2341 The BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan writes: Helicopters circling above here as celebs arrive on the red carpet. No sign of the credit crunch here as everyone here looks incredibly glamorous. The men from PricewaterhouseCoopers have walked past with two very important cases. The results are inside. Soon they'll be revealed.

Neil Smith
2340 The BBC's Neil Smith writes: Greetings from Hollywood! After several queues, three metal detectors and countless security checkpoints, I am at last ensconced back stage at the Kodak Theatre in what the powers that be call the press interview room. It's from here I'll be filing reports on this year's ceremony, peppered with quotes from the winners as they file through to face what I'm sure will be a grilling the Spanish Inquisition would be proud of. Outside on the red carpet, a sea of black jackets and glamorous gowns mill about expectantly waiting for the great and good to arrive. I'm sure it's very exciting down there, as my colleagues will no doubt attest. That said, we're the ones with the rolling buffet.

Fashion alert
2327 With almost two hours to go until the ceremony begins, the red carpet outside the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles is looking quite busy. But no major celebs spotted yet. The fashions also seem a little sombre - rather a lot of credit crunch-conscious black dresses. Is this to be the austerity Oscars?

2336 So who and what are the favourites for this year's big awards? The smart money seems to be on Britain's Kate Winslet for The Reader winning best actress and Mickey Rourke best actor for The Wrestler. Slumdog Millionaire is the pundits' favourite for best film. It would also be a major upset if the late Heath Ledger did not take best supporting, making him only the second dead actor to win an Oscar, following Peter Finch's honour for Network in 1977.

Peter Bowes
2334 The BBC's Peter Bowes writes: In a brave move by the organisers the tent over the Academy's red carpet has been removed. Brave because the dark clouds hovering over LA look ominous and it's already drizzling in parts of the city. The California sun will not be shining on Oscar this year.

Oscar statue
2330 Hello and welcome to our live text coverage of the 81st Academy Awards. We will be bringing you up-to-the minute coverage of the film world's glitziest night of the year - from arrivals on the famous red carpet right through to the post-ceremony parties. Join us for all the news, gossip and on-the-spot updates from the BBC's correspondents.

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