Million Dollar Baby earned four Oscars, including one for best actress for Hilary Swank. She played a woman determined to become a boxing champion and played opposite Clint Eastwood, who starred in the film, as well as directing it.
Morgan Freeman earned an Oscar for his supporting role in the film. Backstage, he described what an Oscar means to him. "I think it's total acceptance is the best way I can explain an Oscar because so many people vote for you when you get it that you know you're part of a very small group of people," he said.
Director Eastwood won the top Oscars for best director and best motion picture, repeating a feat he accomplished with his 1992 film Unforgiven.
Jamie Foxx was named best actor for his starring role in Ray, playing legendary blues singer Ray Charles. In an emotional acceptance speech, he thanked his family and the late singer.
The Aviator, the epic story of billionaire Howard Hughes, won five awards, including honors for its art direction, cinematography, costumes and film editing. Costar Cate Blanchett was named best supporting actress. She plays the actress Katharine Hepburn in the film. She thanked director Martin Scorsese and the motion picture academy, which presents the Oscars.
"And thank you of course to Miss Hepburn. The longevity of her career I think is inspiring to everyone," she said. "But most important importantly and on behalf of everyone I know in The Aviator, thank you to Martin Scorsese. I hope my son will marry your daughter. Thank you."
Director Scorsese lost the race for best director for the fifth time in his career.
Sidney Lumet, who has directed more than 40 films, was honored for lifetime achievement. Still working at age 80, he has never won an Oscar, despite directing such classic films as the 1957 courtroom drama 12 Angry Men and the true-life police story Serpico. He thanked other Hollywood filmmakers for inspiring him.
"I'd like to thank the movies. I know that sounds general, but it's very real to me," said Mr. Lumet. "I've got the best job in the best profession in the world. So I'd just like to thank all of it."
Other awards included one for best foreign-language film for The Sea Inside. The film from Spain looks at the life of a quadriplegic former seaman who fights for 30 years for the right to die.