81th Academy Awards
81th Academy Awards
The 81st Academy Awards ceremony was held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to honor its selection of the best films of 2008 on Sunday, February 22, 2009, at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, California. The ceremony was televised in the United States on ABC. Australian performer Hugh Jackman hosted the ceremony for the first time. Academy Award-nominated producer Laurence Mark has been tapped to produce and Academy Award-winning writer/director Bill Condon to executive-produce.
Slumdog Millionaire dominated by winning eight awards including Best Picture and Best Director (Danny Boyle). The Curious Case of Benjamin Button led the nominations with a total of thirteen while Slumdog Millionaire received ten, The Dark Knight and Milk received eight, and Doubt, The Reader, and Frost/Nixon each received five. The animated film WALL-E, the winner for Best Animated Feature, received six nominations, tying it with Beauty and The Beast for the most nominated animated film in Oscar history.
The Academy hoped to rework the ceremony through an entirely new production team sworn to secrecy. The ceremony received recent controversies prior to its broadcast, most notably the Academy's alleged snubbing of films such as The Dark Knight, Doubt, and WALL·E, threats from a possible Screen Actors Guild strike, and fear of the Oscar telecast's recent low viewership.
The nominees for the 81st Academy Awards were announced live on Thursday, January 22, 2009, at 5:38 a.m. PST (13:38 UTC) by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Sid Ganis and Oscar-winning actor Forest Whitaker at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in the Academy's Beverly Hills headquarters. The winners are to be announced during the awards ceremony scheduled to take place on February 22, 2009, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California. Jerry Lewis will be honored with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
The Academy Awards, commonly known as The Oscars, are the most prominent film awards in the United States and arguably the world. The Awards are granted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a professional honorary organization which as of 2003 had a voting membership of 5,816. Actors (with a membership of 1,311) make up the largest voting bloc. The most recent awards were the 77th Academy Awards.
The official name of the Oscar statuette is the "Academy Award of Merit." Made of gold-plated britannium, it is 13.5 inches (34 cm) tall and depicts a knight holding a crusader's sword standing on a reel of film. The root of the name oscar is contested. Some believe it comes from Academy librarian Margaret Herrick, who saw it on a table and said, "it looks just like my uncle Oscar!" Others claim that Bette Davis named it after her first husband. However it became, the nickname stuck and is used almost as commonly as Academy Award, even by the Academy itself.
The awards night itself is an elaborate extravaganza, with the invited guests walking up the red carpet in the creations of the most prominent fashion designers of the day. The ceremony and extravagant afterparties, including the Academy's Governors Ball, are televised around the world.
Today, according to Rules 2 and 3 of the official Academy Awards Rules, a film has to open in the previous calendar year (from midnight January 1 to midnight December 31) in Los Angeles County, California, to qualify.  Rule 2 states that a film must be "feature-length" (defined as 40 minutes) to qualify for an award (except for Short Subject awards, of course). It must also exist either on a 35mm or 70mm film print OR on a 24fps or 48fps progressive scan digital film print with a native resolution no lower than 1280x1024.
Past Academy Awards
80th Academy Awards | 79th Academy Awards | 78th Academy Awards