A new blog series is here, brought to you by Jessica! I have decided to take a look at all of the Best Picture winners from the past 83 Academy Awards. This may take awhile… I decided after All About Eve to take a look at a more recent film. Slumdog Millionaire was a movie surrounded by a lot of hype, that managed to not only be a hit among the indie circuit, but had a widespread success as well.
Directed & Written by: Danny Boyle Starring: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, & Madhur Mittal
This movie has a very interesting and original story, following the main character Jamal as he explains away how he managed to know the answers to every question on the Indian version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”. Automatically it is assumed by the show that he must be cheating since he has had no substantial education and was raised in poverty. However, the story is told through a series of flashbacks as Jamal relays to his interrogator. His story is one of great heartache and mostly misfortune, and surrounds the life events dealing with his brother and soul mate Latika.

My Thoughts:
I loved this movie the first time I saw it and upon further viewings that love only grew. While “the feel-good movie of the decade” may make it sound a bit cheesy, it actually is a great description of how this film makes you feel. The story is definitely heartwarming, but doesn’t have a chance to get cheesy because of how incredible and visceral the story is. I only list the actors who play the adult versions of the characters, but each has two younger actors who portray different ages and all of these virtually inexperienced actors give amazing performances.

Other Academy Award nominations and wins:

Best Picture
Best Director – Danny Boyle
Best Adapted Screenplay – Simon Beaufoy
Best Cinematography – Anthony Dod Mantle
Best Original Score – A. R. Rahman,
Best Original Song – “Jai Ho”, A. R. Rahman and Gulzar (lyricist)
Best Film Editing – Chris Dickens
Best Sound Mixing – Resul Pookutty, Richard Pyke, and Ian Tapp
Best Original Song – “O…Saya”
Best Sound Editing – Tom Sayers

Fun Facts:
  • The celebrity in the film, Amitabh Bachchan, is actually a famous Indian actor playing himself. He was also the original host of India’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.  
  • Slumdog  was the first Best Picture Oscar winner since 1928 not to be shot on Kodak film. The majority of the film was shot digitally.
  • There has been controversy surrounding the fact that many of the child actors are living in poverty even after this film’s huge success, and may have been very underpaid. Boyle counters that they have received significant compensation, including trust funds and housing.
  • Slumdog has two things in common with the 1993 movie Schindler’s List: they both are the only films to have taken home best picture, director & screenplay at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, & BAFTAS; and they both feature a scene where a child falls into the waste under a toilet.
  • Danny Boyle claims that the word “slumdog” is meant to be a combination of “slum” and “underdog” to explain Jamal’s status.
The Other Guys:

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Drama about a man with an incurable condition that causes him to age backwards – Won Best Art Direction, Best Makeup, Best Visual Effects, Nominated for 9 other awards
  • Frost/Nixon – Dramatic rendition of the infamous interview – Nominated for 4 other awards
  • Milk – Biopic about the first elected gay politician, Harvey Milk – Won Best Leading Actor-Sean Penn, Best Original Screenplay, Nominated for 6 other awards
  • The Reader – Drama about a relationship from the past becoming a pivotal part of war crimes trial years later after the occupation of Nazi Germany – Won Best Lead Actress-Kate Winslet, Nominated for 3 other awards