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Documentary: James Marsh (director) and Simon Chinn (producer), 'Man on Wire'

February 23, 2009

Though this was his first nomination for an Oscar, Mantle has been at the forefront of cinematography for more than a decade. Born in England, he has long lived in Denmark and, on films such as "The Celebration," was a key technician behind the Dogme 95 film movement, among the first to bring digital filmmaking to the fore. He has worked often with director Lars von Trier, as well as "Slumdog Millionaire" director Danny Boyle.

Mantle and Boyle have previously collaborated on such films as "28 Days Later," for which Mantle worked with converted consumer-grade cameras, and "Millions."

In the run-up to this year's Academy Awards, Mantle won a number of significant precursors, most notably the top award from the American Society of Cinematographers.

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Sound mixing

Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty

"Slumdog Millionaire"

The bold, boisterous sounds of a city teeming with life and the emotional music of Bollywood were brought together by the team of Tapp, Pryke and Pookutty with their sound-mixing work on "Slumdog Millionaire."

This was the first Academy Award nomination for all three.

Backstage after accepting the award, Pookutty expressed pride not only for himself but also for the prolific and immensely popular native film industry in India when he noted, "No Indian technician has been nominated. I am the first to win one. It is glory to me and for myself to win for my country."

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Sound editing

Richard King

"The Dark Knight"

The Batmobile's roar and the shattered glass of Gotham City skyscraper windows were but two auditory elements designed by sound editor King, who won for sound editing on "The Dark Knight."

Director Christopher Nolan's vision for the film was more gritty drama than superhero flick, but Batman's toys still had to sound commanding in the theaters. King told The Times in a recent interview that the Batmobile's sound was achieved by recording big race boat engines, adding in large animal roars and growls for emphasis.

King previously won an Oscar for "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" in 2004 and was nominated for "War of the Worlds" in 2006.

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Original screenplay

Dustin Lance Black

"Milk"

In accepting his award, "Milk" screenwriter Black dutifully dispatched with the thank-yous and then -- in keeping with the spirit of the film about gay rights activist Harvey Milk -- got personal and political.

Black recalled being raised in a Mormon home and hearing Milk's story around the time his family moved to California. "It gave me the hope one day I could live my life openly as who I am and then maybe even I could even fall in love and one day get married," said the first-time nominee and writer on HBO's "Big Love."

"I want to thank my mom, who has always loved me for who I am . . . ," he said. "But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he'd want me to say to all the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches, by the government or by their families that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures who have value. And that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you."

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Adapted screenplay

Simon Beaufoy

"Slumdog Millionaire"

A night of riches for "Slumdog Millionaire" began when Beaufoy won for adapted screenplay. Although the rags-to-riches story was heavily favored, he still seemed surprised by the moment.

"There are certain places in the universe you never imagine standing," said Beaufoy, who also was nominated for 1997's "The Full Monty." "For me, it's the moon, the South Pole and the Miss World podium and here. It's a tremendous honor."

After holding his golden statue for a few moments backstage, he added: "It's a real shock to have this in your hands. It's very heavy, and it's an iconic image of cinema. 'Slumdog Millionaire,' this little indie film that no one wanted, is in the hall of fame. It's written on the walls of this place, which is just extraordinary!"

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Live-action short

Jochen Alexander Freydank

"Spielzeugland"

The German movie, set in 1942, is about a young boy who believes his Jewish neighbors are going to "Toyland," which is the film's title translated into English.

"Whoa. This is almost a surreal moment for me because I grew up in East Germany, behind the wall, so West Germany was far away from me. Hollywood was really far away," said Freydank, who wrote and directed the film. "I spent four years of my life on this 14-minute movie. . . . I hope this bald head here," he said, referring to the Oscar statue, "is going to help all of us ["Spielzeug- land" collaborators] in our future career."

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Animated feature

Andrew Stanton

"Wall-E"

When it was released in the summer, the film about a lonely robot that yearned for love amid the deserted trash heap of a futuristic Earth initially prompted talk of a best picture nomination. Although its early buzz eventually fizzled by the fall, "Wall-E" surprised few by beating out the well-received "Bolt" and "Kung Fu Panda," and picking up the Oscar for animated feature.

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