Winslet scoops Best Actress Oscar

Brits win big on Oscar night with Kate Winslet and Slumdog Millionaire sweeping the board

The Brits reigned supreme last night at the Oscars as Slumdog Millionaire swept the board, winning eight gongs, including the top awards for Best Picture and Best Director.

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But the success story didn’t stop there; Kate Winslet made it a hat trick winning a Best Actress award for her part in The Reader, after winning big at the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs this year.

The big surprise of the evening was Sean Penn’s Best Actor win for his portrayal of gay rights activist Harvey Milk. The gong was expected to go to Mickey Rourke (who was victorious at the BAFTAs two weeks ago) for his part in The Wrestler.

Meanwhile in the best supporting roles, Heath Ledger was bestowed with a posthumous Oscar for his menacing role as The Joker for The Dark Knight. The late Australian actor’s family were there in full at the Los Angeles ceremony to receive the award on behalf of Ledger who died in January 2008.

‘We have been truly overwhelmed by the honour and respect being bestowed upon him with this award,’ his mother told the audience.

Penelope Cruz took the first gong of the night for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Javier Bardem’s fiery ex-wife in Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

The night, however, belonged to Danny Boyle, who picked up the Best Director Oscar for his rags-to-riches tale, Slumdog Millionaire, and the entire cast who took to the stage to receive the Best Picture gong.

The child actors from the movie were whisked to the red carpet do in Hollywood from their Mumbai homes.

In his acceptance speech, Boyle paid tribute to everyone involved in making the film. ‘Just to say to Mumbai – unending, unseparable, unborn – all of you who helped us make the film and all of you who didn’t, thank you so much. You dwarf even this guy,’ said Boyle.

After criticism for her previous acceptance speeches, Kate Winslet remained strong and avoided a tearful address to her Hollywood fraternity.

The 33-year-old, who had been nominated five times before for an Academy Award, finally had her moment in the spotlight for playing a Nazi prison officer in The Reader.

Taking to the stage in a asymmetric gunmetal YSL dress, Winslet admitted: ‘I’d be lying if I hadn’t made a version of this speech. I think I was probably eight years old and staring into the bathroom mirror.’

She joked that in the place of an Oscar, Winslet had pretended with a shampoo bottle.

Hollywood’s golden couple, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, were both in attendance and up for gongs, but once more, the pair left empty-handed. Jolie, dressed in a sombre black strapless Elie Saab gown and stand-out emerald green Lorraine Schwartz earrings, lost out to Kate Winslet in the Best Actress category, while Pitt’s movie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, only took three Oscars home  – all in the less prestigious technical categories.

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SEE THE LIST OF WINNERS BELOW:

Best Picture – Slumdog Millionaire
Best Actor – Sean Penn, Milk
Best Actress – Kate Winslet, The Reader
Best Supporting Actor – Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Best Supporting Actress – Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Best Director – Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire
Best Foreign Film – Departures
Best Adapted Screenplay – Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire
Best Original Screenplay – Dustin Lance Black, Milk
Best Animated Feature Film – WALL-E
Best Art Direction – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Best Cinematography – Slumdog Millionaire

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