Kate Winslet asked her father to whistle so she could see him in the theatre
Winning the best actress Oscar was the realisation of a childhood dream, an emotional Kate Winslet revealed in her acceptance speech.
Winslet, 33, who won the award for her role as Hanna Schmitz in The Reader, said she had first practised her speech in the mirror aged eight.
Pointing to her Oscar, she said: "This would have been a shampoo bottle. Well it's not a shampoo bottle now."
She won an Oscar at the sixth attempt for her part in Stephen Daldry's film.
Previous nominations she failed to capitalise on included a best actress nod for Titanic in 1998.
Winslet continued: "I feel very fortunate to have made it all the way from there to here and I'd like to thank some of the people along the way who had faith in me - my friends and my family, especially my mum and dad who are in this room somewhere.
"Dad, whistle or something 'cos then I'll know where you are."
After her father whistled, she picked him out in the crowd and screamed: "Yeah! I love you."
She paid tribute to director Daldry and said there had been "no division between the cast and the crew on this film and that's what made it so special".
Winslet beat fellow nominees Meryl Streep for Doubt, Anne Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married, Angelina Jolie for Changeling and Melissa Leo for Frozen River.
"I want to acknowledge my fellow nominees, these goddesses," Winslet said.
"I think we all can't believe we are in the same category as Meryl Streep at all.
"I'm sorry Meryl but you have to just suck that up."
Winslet received a second Oscar nomination for 1997's Titanic
The actress also thanked her film director husband Sam Mendes and her two children "who let me do what I love and who love me just the way that I am".
Winslet received her first Oscar nomination in 1996 for supporting actress in period drama Sense and Sensibility.
She starred in Hollywood blockbuster Titanic, co-starring Leonardo DiCaprio, a year later.
She was last nominated two years ago for best actress for Little Children.