Former "American Idol" contestant Jennifer Hudson won the best supporting actress Oscar tonight (Feb. 25) for her role in the hit film "Dreamgirls." Hudson, who had never acted before, thanked her grandmother for inspiring her career. "She was a singer. She had the passion for it, but she never had the chance," she said, fighting back tears.

"Dreamgirls" also won for achievement in sound mixing, but the film's Eddie Murphy lost his bid for best supporting actor to Alan Arkin in "Little Miss Sunshine."

Melissa Etheridge's "I Need To Wake Up," from best documentary winner "An Inconvenient Truth," trumped three separate songs from "Dreamgirls" and Randy Newman's "Our Town" to win best original song.

"I have to thank Al Gore for inspiring us and showing that caring about the Earth is not Republican or Democrat," Etheridge said during her acceptance speech. "It’s not red or blue. We are all green. This is our job."

Gustavo Santaolalla won best original score for "Babel," and famed composer Ennio Morricone was recognized with an honorary award in a segment introduced by Clint Eastwood, who rose to fame starring in several "spaghetti" westerns featuring Morricone scores.

Afterward, Celine Dion sang a revamped version of "I Knew I Loved You," which appeared in instrumental form in the 1984 Morricone-scored film "Once Upon a Time in America."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz