Penelope Cruz

Heath Ledger's family accepted his best-supporting actor award on his behalf and up-from-the-streets sage Slumdog Millionaire led in early awards at Sunday's Academy Awards, which stressed fun, populist movies alongside artier ones.

Penelope Cruz scored best supporting actress for her role in Vicki Christina Barcelona; Ledger won for The Dark Knight. Slumdog's five early awards included best adapted screenplay for Simon Beaufoy.

Ledger's win was the night's emotional high point. The actor died Jan. 22, 2008, and was nominated a year to the day later.

"When he came home for Christmas a year ago, he had been sending me shots and bits and pieces of the film. He hadn't seen them, I hadn't seen them, no one had really seen them. He knew, when I said ... 'I have a feeling, this is it for you, you're going to get a nomination.' And he just looked at me and smiled."

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