During the pre-Oscar coverage, the director of the actual ceremony described the 1930s appeal he was hoping to present this year. The orchestra was freed from the upstage pit, and placed onstage for the duration of the ceremony. The 2009 Oscars were meant to be about including the audience in the celebration, and putting on a show with more performances and intimate interaction with the nominees.
The Dark Night's shining light came from Heath Ledger who won the posthumous Oscar for best actor in a supporting role for his portrayal of The Joker. Ledger is only the second person in history to win both a posthumous Golden Globe and Academy Award.
The award for best actor in a leading role went to Sean Penn, Milk, and best actress went to Kate Winslet, The Reader. Wall-E was named best animated picture of 2008, while the lesser-known category for best short animated film captured more humor than other acceptance speeches. The creator of Le Maison en Petits Cubes, Kunio Kato, gave a 'thank you' to his staff, producer and supporters. He then ended with, "Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto." Needless to say, his speech was the shortest and gathered a warm sense of soft laughter over the crowd.
On a bitter sweet note, the writer and winner of the original screenplay Milk, expressed the difficulty to not only write the story of gay rights activist Harvey Milk, but the difficulty to be himself. The Oscar-winner Dustin Lance Black sent a message to gay and lesbian people by including them in the inspiration of the film and that God loves them no matter what anyone says.
Lastly, something must be said about the fashions of the 81st Academy Awards because it would be a damn shame is we didn't take a stab at those million dollar threads.