The Oscar Results 2009

CLICK HERE for Oscar Results 2010

The film that defies all odds,  Slumdog Millionaire, was the big winner at the 81st Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in LA last night.  It won 8 Oscars:  Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Sound Mixing, Film Editing, Original Score, Original Song, Best director and Best Picture.

Its major rival, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which led the nominations with 13 nods, took only three golden statuettes, mainly in the technical categories.

Click here for the complete list of Oscar Winners.

Actually, the Academy Awards Show itself may well be the winner, thanks to a talented, Tony Award winning Hugh Jackman. After the slumping ratings in the past few years, the Oscars could well have been resuscitated last night.  Which previous Oscar host can sing and dance Broadway style so naturally, and bringing out the musical talent of Anne Hathaway at the opening gig, plus performing a tribute to previous musicals from West Side Story to Mamma Mia! with Beyoncé?  And, who says it takes a comedian to crack jokes?

Speaking of musical numbers, who could have thought the two songs of Slumdog Millionaire, with traditional Indian melodies, can be performed together with the other nominee, “Down To Earth” from the Sci Fi Animation Wall E.,  a collaboration of John Legend and A. R. Rahman.   It was a colorful post-modern rendition of musical fusion.

Entertainment aside, there are some moving moments that I’ve appreciated:

  • Penélope Cruz in her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress: “… art in any form has is and will always be our universal language and we should do everything we can to protect its survival.”
  • Heath Ledger’s posthumous award for Best Supporting Actor was accepted by his parents and sister who delivered some heartfelt words of thanks, ending with: “… we proudly accept this award on behalf of your beautiful Matilda.”
  • The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award was presented to Jerry Lewis, who began fundraising for muscular dystrophy since the 1950’s.
  • Kate Winslet paying tribute to Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack, two talented directors and producers who passed away last year, two months apart: “Anthony and Sydney, this is for you, this is for both of you.”
  • Previous winners in Acting categories came out together as a group to announce this year’s nominees.  Kudos to the writers for some moving intro narratives.  So, it was a night of gathering of veteran actors like Sophia Loren, Alan Arkin, Anthony Hopkins, Shirley MacLaine, Anjelica Huston and 85 year-old Eva Marie Saint, who won her Oscar in 1955 for On the Waterfront.
  • All the children who play major roles in Slumdog Millionaire came from India to attend the Awards and had the honor of winning an Oscar, no doubt a surreal experience for them.

A word about Slumdog Millionaire:  The two young actors Dev Patel and Frieda Pinto are the future stars to watch for.  They are poised, articulate, modest, and carry themselves marvellously in the limelight of fame and glamour.  I wish this Hollywood episode is the springboard to further career opportunities.  And for the children who still have to go back to the slums of Mumbai, I hope this experience would open doors for them to a better life in the days ahead.

*****

2009 Golden Globe Winners

If you’re looking for the 2010 Golden Globes, CLICK HERE.

slumdog-golden-globe Photo Source:  Irish Times

Click here for the list of the 2009 Golden Globe winners

Slumdog Millionaire is the big winner of the night, garnering the golden globe in four categories:  Best Original Score (A. R. Rahman),  Best Screenplay (Simon Beaufoy),  Best Director (Danny Boyle), and Best Motion Picture – Drama.  Good to see the underdog win.  Hopefully the bright road leads all the way to the Oscars.

Another big winner is Kate Winslet, surprising even herself by winning both Best Supporting Actress (The Reader) and Best Actress (Drama, Revolutionary Road).  Her emotion was spontaneous… She even said sorry to her fellow nominees Meryl  (Doubt),  Kristin (I’ve Loved You So Long), and who’s the other one?  Yes,  Angelina (Changeling).  But ooh, she forgot Anne (Rachel Getting Married), who got all the hype from being recognized as the winner due to an earlier glitch on the GG website.

kate-winslet-golden-globe-2009 Photo Source: CBC.ca

Sally Hawkins nabbed the Best Actress trophy  (Comedy, Happy-Go-Lucky), beating fellow Brit  Emma Thompson (Last Chance Harvey).

After waited for a whole year, Steven Spielberg finally received the Cecil B. DeMille Award which he won in 2008  but was not presented due to the cancellation of the GG Awards ceremony. Or was it 50 years that he waited?  It was in 1959 that Spielberg made his first film, an 8 min. short.  He was 13.

Heath Ledger won posthumously Best Supporting Actor for The Dark Knight.  Chris Nolan accepted it on his behalf: “He will be eternally missed, but he will never be forgotten.”

Wall-E took the Globe for Best Animated Feature Film, deservedly.

As for the TV division, John Adams garnered four Awards, seeing Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Paul Giamatti receiving their honors.

Overall, a big night for the Brits.

Click here to read CBC reporting.

Click here to see a clip of the highlights from BBC News.

*****

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

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Updates:

Feb. 22:  Slumdog Millionaire just won 8 Academy Awards. CLICK HERE for the Oscar Results 2009.

Feb. 8:  Slumdog Millionaire has just won 7 BAFTA Awards including Best Picture and Best Director tonight in London, England.

Jan. 25:  Slumdog Millionaire has just won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.

Jan. 22:  Slumdog Millionaire just nominated for 10 Oscars including Best Picture. Click here to go to my Oscar Nominations Post.

Jan. 12:  Slumdog Millionaire just won 4 Golden Globes for Best Original Score, Best Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Motion Picture – Drama.

***

A. O. Scott in his 2008 year-end article and podcast on the New York Times website gives credits to movies that explore the element of hope. How fitting it is to start the new year by watching ‘hopeful movies’. In this turbulent time of ours, ‘Hope’ might just be the word of the year for us all.

Slumdog Millionaire not only explores the idea of hope, it builds its whole momentum on this element, and its fuel is none other than ‘love’.  The movie is a modern day fairy tale, an exciting concoction bubbling with fantastic visuals and sounds, a post-modern alchemy of culture, language, and place. But what unifies is the aspiration of requited love and shattered souls redeemed.

Directed by Danny Boyle (28 Days Later, 2002, Trainspotting, 1996) and based on Vikas Swarup’s award winning novel Q & A, which has been translated into 36 languages, the film has garnered high acclaims in film festivals. Just four months into its limited release, Slumdog Millionaire has already won 20 awards, and is nominated for 4 Golden Globes including Best Picture, and 2  SAG Awards, and is a possible contender for the Oscars.

Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) grows up in the slums of Mumbai, India. He and his brother Salim watch their mother killed by mobs. The two boys have to fend for themselves living on the streets. They survive the deplorable conditions with tact, style and grace, until Salim falls for the gang. Jamal has a childhood sweetheart Latika (Freida Pinto). In a heart wrenching episode, she gets separated from the brothers. Her fate seems to be sealed as a young girl on the street.

Years pass but Jamal’s heart still yearns for Latika. One thing that unites all Indians seems to be the popular quiz show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”. With his heart firmly fixed on reaching out to his long lost love  somewhere out there in the mass populace of India, Jamal gets on the show, hoping Latika would see him. Latika at this time is in the firm grip of a gang lord, her hope of freedom is dismal.

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Yet, screenwriter Simon Beaufoy (Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, 2008 ) and director Danny Boyle gratify their viewers with some unexpected twists and turns, allowing us to savour an exhilarating end to the story. With their seamless, non-linear way of storytelling, framed by an upbeat musical score, they have turned what could be just another love story into a fresh and engrossing tale.

While the film features all Indian actors and some Bollywood stars, shot in Mumbai, many dialogues in Hindi with English subtitles, I don’t feel the cultural elements particularly stand out, drawing attention to themselves. Herein lies the success of the film. It has not led me to feel like I am watching something ‘foreign’ or ‘ethnic’, like some National Geographic features. The sense of place and subject matter, plus the amiable cast have all worked together effectively to transmit a universal appeal. The only Bollywood moment is when the end credits roll. Do stay for that.

Slumdog Millionaire evokes reminiscence of similar successful though lesser known titles like ‘Chop Shop’ (2007) and ‘Born into Brothels’ (2004), but on a grander scale, with an explicit message of hope and an unabashed resolution of requited love.

How satisfying! You’ll come out rejuvenated. The skeptic in you might say it’s only a movie, a fantasy too…  Mind you, not all fantasies end well. With some, the darkness can loom for days. Be good to yourself, start the year on a cheery note. Watch a ‘hopeful movie’. Love and Hope can sustain and triumph. As simple as that.

~ ~ ~½ Ripples


*****