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2009 Oscars Best Actress Winners Honor Nominees

The 2009 Academy Awards did many things different than in the past.  Aussie Hugh Jackman performed an opening musical number pulling Anne Hathaway out of the audience to sing with him.  Beyonce also performed and an dazzling array of "secret" presenters such as Jennifer Aniston and Jack Black were paraded out for the audience to experience.

One of the most surprising events was when the key award categories for Best Supporting Actress, Best Support Actor, Best Actress and Best Actor were presented by a group of esteem past winners.  Historically the previous year's winner presents the award to the winner.  Not so for 2009.

When it came time for the Best Actress category short clips were short of many of the greatest Best Actress winners throughout the history of the Academy.

After the clips were finished five previous Best Actress winners were introduced including: Shirley McClaine, Marion Cotillard, Halle Berry, Sophia Loren and Nicole Kidman.  Their individual blow up images dropped down to the stage and the five women glided out onto the stage together wearing formal attire.

The star studded crown gave a huge round of applause with many standing to honor the five award winning actresses.

Shirley MacLaine Honoring Anne Hathaway

Shirley McClaine wore a gorgeous black suit for her tribute.  She started with a tribute to the Rachel Getting Marrie star, Anne Hathaway.  Shirley said "Anne Hathaway, we loved you as a Princess, we love you in Prada and this year in Rachel Getting Married you fearlessly stepped into the shoes of someone struggling with addiction and grief."

Shirley paused briefly for effect and said "I think you're an amazing example for every young actress in this business.  Because you're not afraid, you're not afaird to show both your dark and your bright side.  This is your first nomination I feel there will be many more after this."

Pausing briefly again she said "and by the way, I think you have an extraordinary voice.  Keep singing to.  Bless you."

Anne Hathaway had tears in her eyes and mouthed to Shirley "I love you."

Marion Cotillard Honoring Kate Winslet

French actress Marion Cotillard was next and honored the lovely Kate.

She said "Kate Winslett, with each new role you continue to push the boundaries of what's possible your brilliant performance in The Reader encompasses all the qualities that have always drawn us to you, passion, vulnerability and extraordinary debt as your character moves through time, love and the most dire of circumstances, we as your audience Kate never lose a connection to you."

Marion continued "this is yet another unforgettable portrait from one of most gifted actresses and one of most most inspiring.  She put her hands together as if to pray and looked at Kate and said "Thank you."

Kate blew Marion a kiss.  She was obviously very touched.

Halle Berry Honoring Melissa Leo

Halle was the next presenter.  She said "I've been lucky enough to make a small independent film that then found its way to Global Recognition right here on this stage at the Oscars. How wonderful it is to see it happen again this year for Melissa Leo."

Halle continued "in Frozen River you played a woman who's lost everything, yet in the truest American sense still holds hope for a better day. Your authentic portrayal not only brought a star focus to those who are often left out.  It showed you Melissa Leo as one far too exceptional to be ignored. Congratulations."

Melissa nodded and smiled at Halle.

Sophia Loren Honoring Meryl Streep

Sophia looked regal as she addressed the audience.  She announced "it's hard to know where to begin with the next nominee.  Her name itself has come to represent a whole world of unmatched excellence.  So its probably best to simply start there. Meryl Streep."

She continued "In Doubt you gave us another of your singular creations a strict Catholic nun but you let us sense her struggle holding onto her moral beliefs while feeling the tide of time moving ever against her. For this record you have had 15 nominations. And we behold the astonishing, astonishing Meryl Streep."

Meryl had tears in her eyes and put her hands together and sent a thank you to Sophia.

Nicole Kidman Honoring Angelina Jolie

Nicole began her speech honoring Anelina by saying "a young mother in 1928 loses her only son and is forced to take part in a cover up by the police force investigating his disappearance.  Such was the lot for a woman of that time. That this role is played so authentically is due to the very modern gifts of Angelina Jolie.

The Aussie award winning actress finished by saying "in Changeling your search for justice and for the truth led with heartbreaking anguish steadfast determination reminded us of the endearing power of a mother's love. As one who would not let her son be forgotten Angelina Jolie.  You were unforgettable."

Angelina nodded and smiled.

And The Winner

Marion Cotillard opened the envelope and announced that the winner for Best Actress for 2009 was Kate Winslet.

The combination of the five esteemed previous winners with their speeches brought many in the audience to tears and reflection.

Although not everyone enjoyed the previous winners showing up to give little speeches, many found it a unique and moving touch to the newly revised awards ceremony.

What did you think?  Did you enjoy the return of the five previous Best Actress winners or think it was too long and overdone?

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