The 81st Annual Academy Awards (2009)

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Annual awards presentation honoring the best film achievements of 2008.

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Won 4 Primetime Emmys. Another 7 nominations. See more awards »
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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences celebrates the year's achievements in film.

Director: Hamish Hamilton
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Credited cast:
Himself - Host / Performer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Herself - Nominee: Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Herself - Presenter: Best Animated Film and Best Animated Short Film
Himself - Co-Presenter: Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Dancer - Luhrmann / Ashford
Julia Bantner ...
Eric Barba ...
Himself - Winner: Best Visual Effects
Himself - Winner: Best Visual Effects
Himself - Nominee: Best Film Editing
Himself - Winner: Best Adapted Screenplay
Kristine Bendul ...
Herself - Co-Presenter: Best Actress in a Leading Role
Herself - Presenter: Technical Awards
Himself - Winner: Best Original Screenplay
Himself - Co-Presenter: Best Animated Film and Best Animated Short Film


Annual awards presentation honoring the best film achievements of 2008.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Release Date:

22 February 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

81i teleti aponomis ton vraveion Oscar - Live  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Notable actors like Harvey Korman, Eartha Kitt, Robert Prosky, George Carlin, Patrick McGoohan, Anita Page, and Beverly Garland were not part of the "In Memoriam" segment. See more »


Just before the presentation of "Best Supporting Actress" the curtain that was supposed to open to reveal the presentation screens don't open. You can then hear a stagehand from backstage yell, "We're doing it. Steve open it!" (his voice was probably picked up through Hugh Jackman's lapel mic.) See more »


Hugh Jackman: In Tropic Thunder, Robert Downey, Jr., ladies and gentlemen. Robert, who's an American, played an Australian playing an African American, nominated. Whereas me, I'm an Australian who played an Australian in a movie called Australia.
See more »


Follows The 58th Annual Academy Awards (1986) See more »


Down to Earth
(from "WALL·E (2008)")
Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman
Lyrics by Peter Gabriel
Performed by John Legend
See more »

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User Reviews

Changed Eye
3 March 2009 | by (Virginia Beach) – See all my reviews

I'm interested in these awards, not because of who wins or why. Sure we all have our favorites, but the more we celebrate when someone we value is recognized, the more we endorse this notion of a competition. A competition in the arts?

No, I'm interested because I study introspection in film, and there is no more obvious and consistent event than this show about shows, this story about storymaking and the people involved. The entrance of the players has become a sort of performance in itself, only the actual awards seem to have escaped as we must suffer through each recipient's list of people they are obligated to mention. Its a puzzling phenomenon why this occurs: the persons judged by the world as the most able to convey stories that matter — and we end up with such dreary speeches, mostly.

But its the show, right? Well, this show really was something unusual. As Jackman said is more "Show" than "Business." I'm sure he was parroting a decision made by the Academy based on their plummeting ratings. Regardless of the reason, the retread was welcome by me.

There were three notable elements, four if you count the pretty wonderful Busby Berkeley inspired production number that Jackman led. Two of them had to do with the stage, the physical stage itself. Since spending time in the Globe and discovering the magic of stage geometry all over again, I appreciated these and am a bit in wonder at the sophistication of the designer, who I understand is Joe Celli.

He designed a massive halo curtain of glittering crystals. I have no idea what something like this costs and what happens to the crystals. It must have been really impressive in the physical space because of the multispectral quality of refracted light. Elsewhere, I've written of the quality of snow and early theater screens. They have this presentation of scintillating colors that appears white but has an inner life, an inner texture. I would have traveled to LA just to experience this, which probably was better without the celebrities.

The other thing they did spatially was to design a stage that repurposes the performance geometry on which the Globe theater was based, the "Globe" of religious performance that Michelangelo created in Saint Peter's Square (where the Pope does his celebrity performance — in fact this is also the origin of the red carpet).

There's a yet to be appreciated pentagonal quasicrystral structure there, something that is tied deeply to notions of presence and being. I'm certain that they did not integrate this design into other elements of the show except as mentioned below. But its a pretty extraordinary statement.

Where they did integrate this five-fold symmetry was in the most extraordinary design change in the actual award presentations. For each of the five nominees for important statues, they presented five previous winners, each of whom "presented" the nominee. They were placed on this floor-stage design in ALMOST a significant way. I think perhaps the designer had them where it mattered. But they were relocated so that the five large screens behind them could be captured better in the focal frame of the three sailing cameras. Something of shame. But the intent is amazingly, wonderfully, intelligently clear.

Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Australians! What else is there?

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.

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