Hudson won the Academy Award for her performance as Effie White in the film "Dreamgirls," based on the Broadway musical of the same name. Hudson had previously won a host of awards for her work in the Bill Condon-directed film, including the Screen Actors Guild Award and the Golden Globe Award. In one of the most emotional speeches of the night, Hudson thanked her late grandmother, who "was my biggest inspiration for everything because she was a singer and she had the passion for it, but she never had the chance, and that was the thing that pushed me forward to continue.” In addition to her family, the cast and director of "Dreamgirls," Hudson also acknowledged Jennifer Holliday, who originated the role of Effie on Broadway.
Eddie Murphy, one of Hudson's "Dreamgirls" co-stars, had also been a favorite to win the Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar for his performance as the ill-fated James "Thunder" Early. The award, however, went to stage and screen star Alan Arkin — a Tony winner for his performance in 1963’s Enter Laughing — for his work as an unconventional grandfather in "Little Miss Sunshine."
"Dreamgirls," which received eight nominations — the most of any film of the season — also picked up an award for Achievement in Sound Mixing (Michael Minkler, Bob Beemer and Willie Burton).
The evening also included a medley of the three new (and Academy Award-nominated) songs penned for "Dreamgirls": "Listen," "Love You I Do" and "Patience." The segment, directed by Bill Condon, was performed by Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson and Anika Noni Rose. The Best Song Oscar, however, went to Melissa Etheridge for "I Need to Wake Up" from the "An Inconvenient Truth."
Like Jennifer Hudson, stage and screen star Helen Mirren, most recently on Broadway in Dance of Death, also followed her Golden Globe and SAG wins with an Academy Award. Mirren bested Meryl Streep, Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench and Kate Winslet for the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance as Queen Elizabeth II in "The Queen." The Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar went to Forest Whitaker for his work in "The Last King of Scotland." It was also a victorious night for veteran director Martin Scorsese, who picked up his first Academy Award for his direction of "The Departed." The Academy Award for Best Motion Picture of the Year also went to "The Departed."
For a complete list of winners, visit www.oscars.org.