Here are a few comments before I direct you to our Awards Watch for lots and lots of pics, commentary, and more pics. I know by now everyone's heard of Slumdog Millionaire, but it really was fantastic to see the kids from the movie up there onstage after the film's win for Best Picture.
It's been a long, hard journey from the almost direct-to-video heap to now several Oscar wins and nearly $100 million in the till. I hope those achievements make even more people seek it out. As the filmmakers said, it's all about hope and optimism, and that's a good thing.
Also, it was great to see the new Oscar producers (the guys behind Dreamgirls) keep their word to mix it up at this year's show. The personal tribute to each acting nominee from past winners was a moving touch, and new host Hugh Jackman, while not exactly knocking it out of the park, at least hit a solid double (the opening musical number, scaled down to cardboard cut-out backgrounds due to the 'recession,' was amusing).
More than anything, the show had a lot of genuinely emotional moments, from acting winners Kate Winslet's and Penelope Cruz's speeches (and no, they didn't faint), and a very dignified, graceful acceptance from the Ledger family on behalf of Heath.
Lastly, my vote for next year's host goes to Ben Stiller, who brought down the house with his take on Joaquin Phoenix's odd behavior. YouTube it. It's priceless.