Monday, December 1, 2008

Awards Preview: "Slumdog Millionaire"

Each day between now and December 11 (when the Golden Globe nominations are announced), I'll be previewing the awards "mojo" of an Oscar contender.

Tonight, we start with the hot movie of the moment, Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire.

Since I have yet to actually see the movie, I'm going to start with what some of the web's cinephiles have to say about its Oscar chances. For Slumdog, I'm going to include the opinions of two highly informed movie buffs named David (obviously, this is the only reasonable way to gauge a film's prospects of winning an Academy Award). Here's Oscar guru Dave Karger at Entertainment Weekly:
I also found the important reviews to be terrific, though not so terrific that the film will be considered merely a critics' darling. Rather, as it was in Toronto, Slumdog should end up emerging as an audience film, building momentum among the public (and the Academy) as the next few weeks and months go by. As I said on Friday, it really is the only "little" film with a real shot at scoring a nomination.
Isn't it interesting that a film can be "so terrific" that it could only be a "critics' darling?" It's true. Let's remember, folks: Crash won Best Picture. That got some good reviews, but fuck Crash. The real critics' darling that year (2005) was Brokeback Mountain, and we all remember how that turned out (i.e. the gays get shunned again). And now here's the aforementioned other David, who is actually my friend david (intended to be lower-cased) over at All Things Fangirl:
slumdog millionaire appears to be the frontrunner at the moment despite relying on its fairy tale nature to deflect attention from its suffocatingly trite narrative turns and eye-poppingly obvious characterizations. i guess when you jazz up some third-world cinema with broad trappings, that just plays. it's a film with emotions that are as big as they are cavernously hollow... so it's pretty much a lock for a nod. sigh... and i LOVE danny boyle. sunshine was magical. alas...
Though I do know david personally, I do not share his sentiment that Sunshine was magical - I actually thought that the non-Chris Evans parts of the movie were pretty shitty (I usually think this about the non-Chris Evans parts of Chris Evans movies, because Chris Evans usually does shitty movies) - but I do respect his cinematic opinion more than almost anyone. A lock for a nod, it would seem. But any good? Is it worth the hype? Well, maybe:


The British Independent Film Awards are proud to announce the winners of their 11th annual awards.

Best British Independent Film
Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director of a British Independent Film
Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire

Okay, so, in all fairness to the BIFA (is that even what it is?), they aren't good predictors of the Academy Awards. But from what I've read and heard, it seems like Slumdog Millionaire is a lock to be at least a contender for some trophies. Buzzmeter over at the LA Times' The Envelope blog - a MUST-READ during awards season - currently has Slumdog at #2 in Best Picture "buzz" behind The Curious Case of Brad Pitt Still Being Hot Even Though He's Old. That being said, I highly doubt - and will continue to highly doubt, until a) I see the film or b) it wins something other than the BIFA - the feasibility of its prospects to win Best Picture, but it certainly seems like it's in the conversation.

Scratch that: it's definitely in the conversation.

I, admittedly, feel like a douchebag. How can I actually write an "awards preview" if I haven't even seen the fucking movie? Well, I probably can't. But I sure can link, can't I?

Yeah, I haven't seen it yet. That's true. But there's another thing you should know about me: if there's one thing I know, it's the Oscars. I'm kinda obsessed with them. So I do feel like my gut is liable to be pretty good... even when, yes, I haven't seen the freaking thing.

The buzz around this film seems to be that rare combination of an unexpected critical hit that audiences actually like and whose word-of-mouth keeps its box office going strong for months and months to come (like, if the director of Trainspotting had a bottle, and happened to catch the magic of Little Miss Sunshine in it... or something).

So I would expect it to be nominated for a couple Golden Globes next week (though the Globes are weird and stinky), and it will probably win more hardware between now and Oscar time (OMG, just wait for the Spirit Awards...). But Best Picture winner? I just feel like it can't and won't happen.

Though we now live in a country in which the Philadelphia Phillies are World Series champions, Oklahoma passed Texas in the BCS and Barack Hussein Obama is the president-elect. So I guess anything is possible.

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