The rags-to-riches story was heavily favored to win the top award and it didn't disappoint. Another easy pick was the Best Supporting Actor statue which went to the late Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight, an award which was tearfully accepted by three family members.
Kate Winslet picked up her first Oscar, nabbing Best Actress for The Reader, beating out Meryl Streep, while Sean Penn won Best Actor for Milk, edging out fan favorite Mickey Rourke, who was nominated for The Wrestler. In the Best Supporting Actress category, Penelope Cruz won for her role in Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
Natch, Penn turned his acceptance speech into a lite political rant. "You commie-, homo-loving sons of guns! I did not expect this," Penn said. He also dogged California voters who overwhelmingly voted to ban gay marriage in the state, announcing that they should be living with "great shame. We've got to have equal rights for everyone."
Slumdog Millionaire won a total of eight Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director for Danny Boyle. It had received a total of 10 nominations. "WALL-E" won Best Animated Feature, as anticipated.
The long-winded and over-rated Brad Pitt flick, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," was the night's biggest loser. It had been nominated for 13 awards but came away with just 3 - all of them in technical categories.