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The Aftermath of Oscars…

February 25, 2009

Feb 22, 2009: The day which will live in the memories of millions of Indians. Well, not that anyone really cares if I was born on that date 23 years ago, but this year on my 23rd Birthday “Slumdog Millionaire” won 8 Oscars and the icing on the cake was A.R.Rahman bagged 2 Oscars and Resul bagged one.

Over the next couple of days, almost every newspaper/website across the country managed to bring up everything and anything related to A.R.Rahman specifically right from his childhood; and of course the ranting of those who opined that they deserved an award too since they were a part of the whole hooplah. Some newschannels screened a myriad of different reactions from general public to those of celebrities, music directors and a whole lot from Film Fraternity. (More on this later).

At the end of that 4 hour show at Kodak Theatre in LA, the only thing I could say was, “Well, it was all so predictable! The only pleasant surprise was Sean Penn won the Oscar for Best Actor (He did deserve the award!)”. Here’s why I think so…

Here’s a list of the Oscar Winners:

Best Picture

Best Director

  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • Danny Boyle – Slumdog Millionaire

Best Actor

Best Actress

  • Sean Penn – Milk
  • Kate Winslet – The Reader

Best Supporting Actor

Best Supporting Actress

  • Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight
  • Penélope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Best Original Screenplay

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Milk – Dustin Lance Black
  • Slumdog Millionaire – Simon Beaufoy

Best Animated Feature

Best Foreign Language Film

  • WALL-E – Andrew Stanton
  • Departures (Japan) in Japanese – Yojiro Takita

Best Documentary Feature

Best Documentary Short

  • Man on Wire
  • Smile Pinki – Megan Mylan

Best Live Action Short

Best Animated Short

  • Toyland (Spielzeugland)
  • La Maison En Petits Cubes – Kunio Kato

Best Original Score

Best Original Song

  • Slumdog Millionaire – A. R. Rahman
  • “Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire – A. R. Rahman (music), Gulzar (lyrics)

Best Sound Editing

Best Sound Mixing

  • The Dark Knight – Richard King
  • Slumdog Millionaire – Resul Pookutty, Richard Pryke, Ian Tapp

Best Art Direction

Best Cinematography

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Donald Graham Burt, Victor J. Zolfo
  • Slumdog Millionaire – Anthony Dod Mantle

Best Makeup

Best Costume Design

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Greg Cannom
  • The Duchess – Michael O’Connor

Best Film Editing

Best Visual Effects

  • Slumdog Millionaire – Chris Dickens
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton, Craig Barron

Out of all these winners, the only pleasantly surprising one was Sean Penn winning the Best Actor Award. The rest of the major awards, well, flip through the Golden Globes, BAFTA, Screen Guild and every other XYZ awards, you could have a come up with your own list with over 80% accuracy.

Somehow, Slumdog Millionaire went on winning almost every other major award, so winning the next one didn’t make it very special. The last time I heard, it had won a total of 108 awards since it’s limited release in November, 2008. The number in itself is HUGE! Well, all’s well that end’s well. Now that the makes of the Slumdog Millionaire finally realise that there are no more awards to win, the only other thing remaining to do is to make as much money as possible with this film. It has already earned over $150 Million dollars over 10 times its production budget! What remains to be seen is how long is it going to take Danny Boyle to make another brilliant movie. I find it hard to believe that little known actors (read as Dev Patel, Frieda Pinto) have been hogging all the limelight, whereas the real star of the movie Anthony Dod Mantle (the cinematographer) was hardly seen. And yes, Rehman was brilliant, but seriously I don’t think this is his best work. Nevertheless, it still got him an Oscar. Not One, but Two!! Double Bonanza. Resul Pookutty broke down while accepting the award and summed up everything what he could have in those 3 minutes. I so wish, Gulzar was in LA, but sadly he couldn’t travel because of a shoulder injury.

Among other speeches I have heard this time, I find these two quotes by Sean Penn and Dustin Lance Black very effective and more than anything they chose the right forum to make their voices heard.

I heard the story of Harvey Milk and it gave me hope. It gave me the hope to live my life openly as who I am, and that one day I could even fall in love and get married.

“I want to thank my mom, who has always loved me for who I am even when there was pressure not to.

“But most of all, if Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he would want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches, or by the government, or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value, and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon I promise you, you will have equal rights federally across this great nation of ours.

“Thank you and thank you God for giving us Harvey Milk .”- Dustin Lance Black accepting the award for Best Original Screeplay for “Milk”.

I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support. We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone. And there are, and there are, these last two things. I’m very, very proud to live in a country that is willing to elect an elegant man president and a country who, for all its toughness, creates courageous artists.” – Sean Penn, upon accepting his Oscar for Best Actor in Milk, commenting on Proposition eight.

Back in India, the media forgot the hopelessness of our mundane lives for a day and dedicated all their energy and resources in praise of Slumdog Millionaire and A.R.Rahman, Resul and Gulzar. Most of the film fraternity reacted positively to the Rahman winning the Oscar, some even going to an extent of emotional breakdown and confessing that Rahman is like a brother to them. That was not all, papers splashed across reports of everyone and anyone even closely related to making of this movie, for eg: A full length interview of a gentleman who claims that he penned the two words “Jai Ho”!!! How rad is that?!?!…

Well, not that the Oscars are over, lets not forget couple of things here….

1. Slumdog Millionaire is NOT an Indian Movie. It’s almost equivalent to 1982 Richard Attenborough’s “Gandhi”. Co-incidentally even that flick won a total of 8 Academy Awards.

2. A.R.Rahman/Resul/Gulzar are not the first Indians to have won an Oscar. Satyajit Ray was awarded, Academy Honorary Award in 1992. The first Indian to have won an Oscar in an individual category is Bhanu Athaiya for “Costume Design” Category again for Gandhi in 1982.

At the end of the day, irrespective of what film/production an individual is associated with, his/her name will always be there in the annals of history as a recipient of an Oscar. With that hope of a glorious tomorrow, this is all I have to say.

“Slumdog Millionaire is Over. Move On. Find Another Movie.”

(The above line is adapted from the movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The original line in the movie is, “It’s like Sopranos. It’s Over. Find Another Show”)

P.S: The show was pretty good, some cool lines, wonderful segments and seriously what’s with Angelina! She looked as if she had just stepped out of the Madame Tussads.

P.P.S: Freida Pinto bags a role in Woody Allen’s next flick. Can someone get more lucky?! 😛

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 25, 2009 6:32 pm

    Technically Gud

    But Do you think Its Right thing to give Oscar for this?

    It doesnt even Deserve an oscar…Nominees even …

    There are more brilliant muvis this year like reader, Button Wall.e , Milk

    An artificial Mix up of Emotions, it will carry as I say Its a City of God + A desperate Love Story + A televison Show and surprisingly Ciy of God didn win any oscar although its nominated for 4

    Oscars are always snubs ..

    Do you know great muvis in the past went for Silly willy Muvis ..Some even didnt get nominated

    City Lights, Modern Times,Citizen Kane, The Great Dictator, It’s a Wonderful Life , 12 Angry men , The Shawshank Redemption , A clockwork Orange …They didn even Win in Oscars…

    They told SlumDog Elucidates Hope. Thats Y its Right Nominee.. Then Why not Wall.e,It’s a Wonderful Life or Shawshank ??

    Many Indian Muvis are technically brilliant than slumdog but they are not even getting a nod ..

    and do you think jaya-ho and O saaya are better than Down to Earth?

    The song in Wall.e is awesome and suits the theme

    Its my opinion that Milk or Button might have a go at oscars but not slumdog.

    Do see this

    http://vivblogs.blogspot.com/2009/02/proud-dog.html

  2. Hemanth permalink*
    February 25, 2009 6:40 pm

    Well, I would say, Slumdog was techincally brilliant…esp the Cinematography! Acting/Narration/Screenplay, well they had their own ups and downs. I totally agree with you, Reader & Milk were much better films in terms of the Theme. I can’t really say about the Music…I don’t think I appreciate it completely to comment on that! 😀

    I guess Slumdog has been too lucky so far! So lucky that it has won too many awards and raked in loads of money as well! But then, every dog has its day. And this year it was the Slumdog!..:P

    About the other movies you have mentioned, even I am shocked why most of them didn’t win an Oscar…but then, those movies weren’t actually an instant hit that year…they gradually went on to become cult movies..Esp Shawshank Redemption, Citizen Kane. Nobody could have done anything this year…Slumdog was just unstoppable!..:)

  3. February 25, 2009 7:18 pm

    my take on the 81st annual academy awards:
    1)kate winslet was amazing with her speech(i did read about the movie and i am very eager to watch that). her hardwork had actually paid off.she did arbit roles having to strip for various movies and finally she gets a top role to pull it off..Kudos.
    2)i loved how simple Mantle was(his speech was clear and simple) when he received the award for best cinematography.
    3)’O Saya’ performance on stage was way too bland.
    4)High-fives to SmilePinki.
    5)Hugh Jackman was awesome.
    and last but definitely never the least ‘Long Live Ledger’

    • Hemanth permalink*
      February 25, 2009 7:24 pm

      I have a theory:

      1. Interestingly, many of the Oscar nominees this year, die in their respective movies. For Kate Winslet to get nominated for Oscars, she has to die in the movies!
      2. A repetitive fuck in the movies(refer to The Reader) is equivalent to Art/Love and it’s NOT porn!

      And I agree with the rest of your points!..:). Rahman was mumbling throughout his speech and I thought something else kept him pre-occupied even though he had won this award! He wasn’t too excited as well!…Wonder why?!

  4. Srikanth permalink
    February 27, 2009 6:43 pm

    Nice post!
    Well, because of these two Indians, we will have better recognition for our efforts.

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