Friday, January 23, 2009

Bookmaker William Hill has installed the feelgood film as 4/11 favourite to win best picture, beating The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, Milk and The Reader.

The British-made film about an orphan boy from the Mumbai slums who enters the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? is also shortlisted for best adapted screenplay - writer Simon Beaufoy’s story is based on the novel Q&A by writer Vikas Swarup.

The other nominations are for cinematography, film editing, sound editing, sound mixing, original score and original song (it has two nominations in the last category).

Its star, 18-year-old Londoner Dev Patel, missed out on a best actor nomination, but is thrilled at the prospect of attending the Los Angeles ceremony on February 22.

Patel said: “It’s just amazing. For Slumdog Millionaire to be included in the nominations for the Oscars is a huge honour. When we first began working on the film I don’t think any of us ever imagined that we might end up attending the Oscars ceremony as a result. I’m just so proud to be a part of this project and I have been overwhelmed by the positive reaction to the film. Thank you to everyone who has supported us. I truly feel blessed.

Beaufoy, whose previous credits include The Full Monty, said: “Secretly and sometimes not so secretly, this is the nomination that floats in every screenwriter’s dreams. I am fantastically happy and honoured - not just for myself but for Vikas Swarup’s wonderful novel without which I would have never started my journey to the world’s Maximum City, Mumbai.”

The heart-warming story won four Golden Globes earlier this month - for best picture, best director, best screenplay and best soundtrack - and has 11 Bafta nominations in total.

Although it is destined to be one of the biggest hits of the year, Slumdog Millionaire does have its detractors. Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan is among those who have criticised the film, suggesting that it “projects India as [a] Third World dirty underbelly developing nation and causes pain and disgust among nationalists and patriots”.
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