Academy Awards winners 2009

'Slumdog' makes history, sweeps Oscars

(CNN) - Years from now it may be a trivia question on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."

Kate Winslet, who has six nominations all told, won the Oscar for best actress for

Dev Patel and Freida Pinto star in "Slumdog Millionaire, " which won eight Oscars, including best picture.

"What 2008 film based around a well-known game show, " the question may read, ominous music humming in the background, "won the Oscar for best picture?"

The answer - "Slumdog Millionaire" - is history. It is East meeting West, Bollywood meeting Hollywood, a film that was going nowhere winning the biggest prize in the movie business.

At Sunday's 81st annual Academy Awards, "Slumdog" won eight Oscars, including best picture, director and adapted screenplay, completing a joyful ride that had carried it to wins at the Golden Globes, Writers Guild, Directors Guild and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards.

"Most of all we had passion and we had belief, and our film shows if you have those two things, you have everything, " said producer Christian Colson, surrounded by members of the film's huge cast and crew. Gallery: See memorable moments from the ceremony

The film has been called "Dickensian" - and freely borrows from Indian film traditions, right down to its closing dance number.

It is the story of an orphaned, poverty-raised teaboy who goes on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" to connect with his lost love.

The film also overcame great challenges; it nearly went straight to DVD in America after its initial studio folded.

"Slumdog's" filmmakers were jubilant at the wins, which also included Oscars for best director (Danny Boyle), best adapted screenplay (Simon Beaufoy), score (A.R. Rahman), cinematography (Anthony Dod Mantle), song, sound mixing and film editing.

Boyle, better know for brash British films such as "Trainspotting, " jumped up and down as he accepted his award, saying he'd told his children that if he ever won, he'd bounce like Tigger from "Winnie-the-Pooh." List of winners, nominees

Rahman was equally appreciative.

"All my life I've had a choice between hate and love, and I chose love, and now I'm here, " he said.

"Slumdog's" main competition, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, " won just three Oscars, all in minor categories. The film had led the pack with 13 nominations.

The rest of the Oscar broadcast alternated between host Hugh Jackman's smooth song-and-dance numbers, some comic moments from Steve Martin, Tina Fey and Ben Stiller, and politics, generally focused on gay rights and California's anti-gay marriage Proposition 8.

But it was "Slumdog Millionaire" that carried the evening. At one point, Resul Pookutty, who won for sound mixing, seemed overwhelmed as he accepted his Oscar.

"I dedicate this award to my country, " he said. "Thank you, academy, this is not just a sound award, this is history being handed over to me."

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