Slumdog Millionaire racked up eight Academy Awards, including those for Best Picture and for its Director, Danny Boyle. Everyone was betting that Mickey Rourke (for The Wrestler) would take the Best Actor Oscar however, that honor went to Sean Penn, for Milk, in which he played 1970s gay activist Harvey Milk.
"I did not expect this, and I know how hard I make it to appreciate me, often," Penn said in his impassioned acceptance speech – in which he also acknowledged his fellow nominee, whose career had faded away in the ’90s. "Mickey Rourke rises again," said Penn, "and he is my brother."
Kate Winslet took home the honors for Best Actress for her role as a troubled woman with a Nazi past in The Reader. She confided to the audience in her acceptance speech that she first pretended to win an Oscar when she was 8 and looking in the bathroom mirror, holding a shampoo bottle. Only, Sunday night on the stage of Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre, she was holding a world-famous golden statuette. "Well," she said, "it’s not a shampoo bottle now."