Academy Awards Update

BY Arts Desk  February 23, 2009 at 11:07 AM EST

Over the last several weeks, we spoke with some people who were involved in one way or another in films nominated for an Oscar. We figured we should update you on how they did.

“Milk” took home two big prizes: Sean Penn won the Best Actor award and Dustin Lance Black won Best Original Screenplay. Black, who in his acceptance speech talked about growing up as a gay Mormon in a conservative community, thanked Cleve Jones, who worked for the real Harvey Milk and was a major force in getting the film made. Jeffrey Brown spoke with Jones back in December.

In perhaps a surprise victory for Best Foreign Film, “Departures” beat out “Waltz with Bashir,” the animated Israeli film about the 1982 Lebanon war, widely expected to take home the prize. Art Beat’s Zoe Pollock talked to Max Richter, who composed the musical score, earlier this month.

In the documentary category, “Man on Wire” took the Oscar, which Philippe Petit, the daredevil high-wire walker and subject of the film, balanced on his chin during the acceptance speech. The film’s producer, Simon Chin, talked to Art Beat last week.

One of the more rousing musical numbers of the evening included John Legend, Bollywood icon A.R. Rahman and the Soweto Gospel Choir performing songs from “Wall-E” and “Slumdog Millionaire.” Back in December, fresh off of a Grammy Award nomination for Best Traditional World Music Album, which they’ve now won twice in a row, members of the Soweto Gospel Choir talked to Art Beat’s Mike Melia.

But the evening truly belonged to “Slumdog Millionaire,” which won eight Oscars. Despite being criticized in India and even sparking protests in Mumbai for its portrayal of people in poverty, the British and Indian cast and crew won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Score, Best Song, Best Film Editing and Best Sound Mixing.