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Academy Awards embrace old-time style for new audience

The biggest night for movies is usually a dull and dry affair, full of actors stiffly walking down red carpets, filing into seats, giving simple thank-you speeches and clapping politely.
For the 81st Academy Awards, someone decided this idea just had to go.
Host Hugh Jackman went beyond simply handing out awards. He became a performer with one faux-shoddy musical performance at the outset of the show, as well as another ritzy Broadway performance half way through.
Although it may have been strange, awkward and difficult to watch at times, the musical performances were without a doubt one of the many contributors to an old-time show business vibe.
Five former winners, who each introduced one of the nominees, presented the acting awards.
This replaced the long-standing tradition of showing clips of the actors in their nominated roles. Oddities like Michael Douglas and the acting-coach vibe may have detracted from the new format, but it was a unique change of pace.
The big story of the night, however, was “Slumdog Millionaire,” a film focusing on a boy from Mumbai winning the Indian version of “Who Wants to be 
a Millionaire.”
The movie won eight of the 10 categories it was nominated for, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.
“Slumdog” won over the hearts of viewers and the Academy alike.  
One of the most contested awards of the night was whether Mickey Rourke or Sean Penn would take home the award for Best Actor.
Ultimately, Penn’s portrayal of gay politician and activist Harvey Milk in “Milk” won him the award.
Saluting both the cast as well as the competition, Penn’s speech voiced his hope for a future where all people will be regarded as equals, regardless of sexual orientation.
After five previous nominations, Kate Winslet won her first Oscar for her performance as an illiterate former Nazi guard in “The Reader.”
Penelope Cruz became the first Spanish woman to win an Academy Award when she received the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her work in Woody Allen’s film “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.”
Everyone saw Heath Ledger’s win coming for Best Supporting Actor for his role as the Joker in “The Dark Knight.” His family was there to accept his award.
For the first time in history, the ceremony closed showing commercials for films coming out in 2009.
Without a doubt, this year’s Academy Awards were intended to draw an audience with its famous glitz.
Even if it doesn’t stick, the glamour may remind people in the strapped economy of the idolized Hollywood age and all the fun the movies should be.
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