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Category: Slumdog Millionaire

Tracking the Oscar race for best adapted screenplay

October 29, 2010 |  4:23 pm

Obviously, "The Social Network" is ahead in the Oscar race for best adapted screenplay, given its front-runner status as best picture and the vaunted reputation of Aaron Sorkin as master wordsmith. However, upsets are always possible at these quirkly Hollywood awards, of course.

Adapted screenplay oscar news-4

"127 Hours" or "True Grit" could quickly jump ahead if one of them wins best picture from the film critics' awards in early December, which is quite possible. The creators of both films have been honored by them in the past and they also previously won the Oscars for best picture and screenplay in the past for "Slumdog Millionaire," "No Country for Old Men."

There's an obvious link between those two Academy Award categories. Over the past 10 years, five best pictures won best adapted screenplay ("The Departed," "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King," "A Beautiful Mind" in addition to "Slumdog" and "No Country") and two won best original screenplay ("The Hurt Locker," "Crash").

This year's other major rival for best picture, "The King's Speech," is over in the category for original scripts, so this category for adapted fare may be turned into a consolation prize, as often happens ("Precious," "Brokeback Mountain," "Sideways").

There's a lot of love for "Toy Story 3," animated films are overdue to prevail and Michael Arndt is a past Oscar fave ("Little Miss Sunshine"). Beware: "Toy Story 3" may even become a threat in the best picture battle.

Forget "Rabbit Hole." Yeah, yeah, it won the Pulitzer Prize, but voters must've been drunk. The script didn't deserve it.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
(Favorites)
"127 Hours," Simon Beaufoy, Danny Boyle
"How to Train Your Dragon," William Davies, Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
"Love and Other Drugs," Marshall Herskovitz, Charles Randolph, Edward Zwick
"Rabbit Hole," David Lindsay Abaire
"The Social Network," Aaron Sorkin
"The Town," Ben Affleck, Peter Craig, Aaron Stockard
"Toy Story 3," Michael Arndt
"True Grit," Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
"Winter's Bone," Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini, Daniel Woodrell

Continue reading »

'The Hurt Locker' ranked lucky 13 on Rotten Tomatoes Oscars countdown

March 11, 2010 |  9:23 am

 "The Hurt Locker" comes in at No. 13 on the Rotten Tomatoes ranking of all 83 best picture winners at the Oscars. The inclusion of this year's critics' darling pushes last year's top pic -- "Slumdog Millionaire" -- down one spot to No. 32. All of the Oscar champs were "sorted by the strict and rigorous standards of Tomatometer science" into this overall list, which has some real head-scratchers.

Rotten Tomatoes Oscars "Casablanca" -- the last best picture winner chosen from 10 nominees -- rates only slot No. 14 while "Gone With the Wind" is one place above "The Hurt Locker" at No. 12. And ranking above "Slumdog Milliionaire" on the list are such overrated past champs as "All the King's Men" (No. 24 ) and "Unforgiven" (No. 22). The first best picture winner -- "Wings" -- landed at just No. 29 while "Sunrise" -- which that same year won the only Oscar ever given for "unique and artistic production" -- merited slot No. 17.

For the folks at Rotten Tomatoes, the top 10 Oscars best pictures, in descending order, are: "The Godfather," "All About Eve," "On the Waterfront," "Rebecca," "Marty," "The Lost Weekend," "Lawrence of Arabia," "The Godfather, Part II," "An American in Paris" and "The French Connection."

Overall this list is lacking. The introduction to the photo gallery suggests that the best picture winners are ranked according to critics' scores, but they're not. Below is a breakdown of the lowest-ranked best pix. The percentage number given is its RT score. Notice, for example, that "The Greatest Show on Earth" has an RT score of only 41%, but it's ranked above "Cimarron," which is in last place with a 54% score.

78.) "The Great Ziegfeld" (60%)
79.) "The Life of Emile Zola" (68%)
80.) "The Greatest Show on Earth" (41%)
81.) "Cavalcade" (62%)
82.) "Broadway Melody" (40%)
83.) "Cimarron" (54%)

And notice the obvious pattern to this list. The old flicks are all pushed to the bottom. Whatever happened to that familiar refrain, "They just don't make pictures like they used to!"?

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Top photo: "Gandhi" still. Credit: Columbia

Bottom left photo: "Titanic" still. Credit: Fox

Bottom right photo: "Forrest Gump" still. Credit: Paramount

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Curious Oscar theory: Best picture equals best title?

January 3, 2010 | 12:51 pm
While discussing the possibility that "Inglourious Basterds" might win best picture, I mentioned a theory enthusiastically endorsed by both me and my Oscarologist pal Tariq Khan, who's recently been predicting the Academy Awards for FoxNews.com. That is: a great title often helps a movie to win the top prize. That caused Tariq to look back over Oscar history and write up a special article just for us that examines these 10 examples of when having a winning title probably made a difference. Thanks for another 24-karat contribution to Gold Derby, Tariq!

What's in a name? Well … almost everything if you have a film vying for the Academy Award for best picture. Although people don't realize it, an attractive film title can sometimes make all the difference in a competitive Oscar race. Here are 10 examples of the top prize going to a movie whose name probably looked the best on the big marquee – and on the Oscar ballot.

Oscars best picture best title

"The Greatest Show on Earth" (1952) — Hardly the greatest movie of the year, by most accounts. It won only one other award, for best motion picture story. Yet somehow it eclipsed the far superior "High Noon" and "The Quiet Man," films with quieter titles. If the film had simply been called "The Circus," it would never have made it across the tightrope on Oscar night.

"Million Dollar Baby" (2004) — "Million Dollar Title" is more like it. Despite a bleak look and a very non-Hollywood, less-than-happy ending, it suddenly soared past initial front-runner "The Aviator" to take the best-picture Oscar. Had it been released under its working title, "Rope Burns," a million dollars says it would have been defeated in the awards boxing ring.

"A Beautiful Mind" (2001) — An enjoyable film, but did it really have the same amount of support as "Moulin Rouge" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"? Maybe not, but it did have a beautiful title. Replace that with something like "John Nash's Story" or "The Crazy Mathematician," and a best-picture winner is the last thing that comes to mind.

"An American in Paris" (1951) — In one of the great upsets in Oscar history, the flashy Gene Kelly love-musical danced over "A Place in the Sun" and "A Streetcar Named Desire" to claim victory. I suspect that the "American" in the title was more significant in 1951 than it would have been today … and the "Paris" added a bit of European intrigue. Add the two together and you got not only rhythm, but also Oscar.

"Shakespeare in Love" (1998) — Another of the great Oscar upsets … the title here was key. The "Shakespeare" was prestigious and adding "Love" was vivacious. In hindsight, it almost seems logical that "Saving Private Ryan" could not have been saved. Interestingly enough, if it hadn't been "Shakespeare," another lovely name – "Life Is Beautiful" – might have prevailed.

Continue reading »

MTV Movie Awards: Will 'Twilight' vampires devour Oscars fave 'Slumdog'?

May 4, 2009 | 11:55 am

Sure, "Slumdog Millionaire" was top dog at the Oscars, but it merely came in second place behind "Twilight" today when the MTV Movie Awards nominations were announced. "Twilight" reigned with seven nominations, including best picture, best breakthrough performance male (Robert Pattison and Taylor Lautner) and best female performance (Kristen Stewart).

MTV Movie Awards Nominations Twilight 3849152

"Slumdog Millionaire" reaped six nods, including best picture, competing, in addition to "Twilight," against "The Dark Knight," "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" and "Iron Man."

"Slumdog" star Dev Patel competes against Pattinson and Lautner for best breakthrough performance male along with Ben Barnes ("The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian") and Bobb'e J. Thompson ("Role Models"). Co-star Freida Pinto is up for best female breakthrough performance along with Ashley Tisdale and Vanessa Hudgens ("High School Musical 3: Senior Year"), Miley Cyrus ("Hannah Montana: The Movie"), Amanda Seyfried ("Mamma Mia!") and  Kat Dennings, ("Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist").

"Twilight" stars Pattinson and Stewart compete for best kiss opposite "Slumdog Millionaire" heartthrobs Patel and Pinto, as well as James Franco and Sean Penn ("Milk") and Paul Rudd and Thomas Lennon ("I Love You, Man").

"Twilight" and "Slumdog" will also square off in the new category for best song, in which Oscar champ "Jai Ho" from "Slumdog" takes on Paramore's "Decode" ("Twilight"), Bruce Springsteen's "The Wrestler," and Miley Cyrus' "The Climb" ("Hannah Montana: The Movie").

Another new category is "best WTF moment," which includes Amy Poehler peeing in the sink in "Baby Mama," Ben Stiller licking a decapitated head in "Tropic Thunder," young Jamal jumping into the outhouse excrement in "Slumdog Millionaire," Angelina Jolie killing all of her foes and herself with one curved bullet in "Wanted," and Jason Segel breaking up with Kristen Bell while naked in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall."

Continue reading »

Coming soon: 'Slumdog Millionaire' on DVD

March 29, 2009 |  2:06 pm

Perfect timing. Oscars' best-picture champ, "Slumdog Millionaire," just fell out of the top 10 of box-office draws at theaters, earning only $1.1 million this last weekend. Read the L.A. Times' full box-office report.

Overall, it's reaped $139 million in U.S. theaters. Globally, it's hit a jackpot of about $300 million.

This film that recently won eight chunks of Oscar gold seems to be running out of box-office gold at a fortuitous time. This week — on March 31 — "Slumdog Millionaire" aims for DVD gold when it's released on disc in the U.S.

Slumdog_millionaire_dvd

Photo: Fox Searchlight

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Gold Derby nuggets: Oscars' telecast earned only $71 million, but 'Slumdog Millionaire' hits the b.o. jackpot | Emmy champ 'Breaking Bad' returns

March 5, 2009 | 10:32 am

• Hey, Derbyites: Do you wonder how popular your favorite blog is? Check out the latest LATimes.com traffic report. Last month Gold Derby came in fourth place among the more than 50 blogs here at the Times, clocking 898,618 page views. Thanks for clicking! Oh, yeah, and please keep clicking! And clicking. READERS' REPRESENTATIVE

• Last year Showtime was the first TV network to put sample episodes online for Emmy voters to see. This year it's upping digital innovation by making episodes of "Dexter," "Weeds" and "United States of Tara" accessible via iPhone and iPodTouch. VARIETY

Bryan_cranston_breaking_bad2

• Looks like "Breaking Bad" will even be badder than ever when it returns to AMC Sunday night after pulling off a dramatic upset victory for Bryan Cranston as best drama actor at last year's Emmy Awards. "How rough can life get for Walt White, a quiet chemistry teacher with a pregnant wife and a handicapped son, who becomes a crystal meth dealer after discovering he is dying of lung cancer?" asks Reuters. "Much, much worse when 'Breaking Bad' begins its second season." TV show "Extra" covered the official premiere. REUTERS / EXTRA

• "'Slumdog Millionaire' is enjoying one of the best Oscar bounces on record," reports Variety. "'Slumdog Millionaire' has crossed the $200 million mark at the worldwide box office, joining an elite group of indie titles to do that kind of business." VARIETY

• The Oscars telecast generated only $72 million in ad sales for ABC — that's a big drop from the $81 million sold last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence. "The web sold 26 minutes of ad time during the kudocast. It filled six minutes and 20 seconds with network promos, the most since 2006," reports Variety. "The tough economy forced ABC to charge $1.4 million per 30-second spot in an effort to sell the inventory. That's comparably less than the $1.7 million it brought in last year per spot." VARIETY

• The poster and trailer to "Public Enemies" are out. Director Michael Mann's flick is due out this summer starring Christian Bale as a saintly FBI agent who hunts down John Dillinger (Johnny Depp). JOBLO

Public_enemies_2

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Truly rotten: 'Slumdog Millionaire' ranked below 'Unforgiven' on Oscars' list

March 3, 2009 |  4:23 pm

What an outrage! Poor "Slumdog Millionaire" comes out at only No. 31 on Rotten Tomatoes' ranking of the Oscars' 82 best-picture choices. Above "Slumdog Millioniare" on the list are such over-rated past champs as "The Best Years of Our Lives," "All the King's Men," "An American in Paris" and such outright junk as "Unforgiven."

Oscars_best_pictures

The top 10 Oscars best pictures, in descending order: "The Godfather," "All About Eve," "On the Waterfront," "Rebecca," "Marty," "Lawrence of Arabia," "The Godfather, Part II," "An American in Paris," "Annie Hall" and "The French Connection."

Here's what doesn't make sense about this list. The introduction to the photo gallery suggests that these are ranked according to critics' scores, but they're not. Below is a breakdown of the lowest-ranked best pix. The percentage number given is its RT score. Notice, for example, that "The Greatest Show on Earth" has a score of only 39%, but it's ranked above "Cimarron," which is in last place with 50% score.

77.) "The Life of Emile Zola" (70%)
78.) "The Great Ziegfeld" (59%)
79.) "Cavalcade" (62%)
80.) "The Greatest Show on Earth" (39%)
81.) "Broadway Melody" (40%)
82.) "Cimarron" (50%)

Notice an obvious pattern on this list. The old flicks are all pushed to the bottom. Whatever happened to that familiar whine, "They just don't make pictures like they used to!"?

Photos: "Forrest Gump" and "Titanic" (Paramount), "Gandhi" (Columbia)

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Will the 'Slumdog Millionaire' soundtrack be a winner too?

March 2, 2009 |  4:48 pm

Now that "Slumdog Millionaire" has run its course — or shall we say "romped"? — through the film awards derby, it's heading next into music races.

Slumdog_millionaire_soundtrack

Lots of previous winners of best picture at the Oscars went on to claim the Grammy Award for best film soundtrack, including "Tom Jones" (1964), "The  Godfather" (1973), "The Last Emperor" (1989), "Dances with Wolves" (1992), "Schindler's List" (1995), "The English Patient" (1998), "American Beauty" (2001) and "Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" (2005). Of course, "Slumdog Millionaire" also won best song ("Jai Ho"), and that champ sometimes repeats at the Grammys, like "If I Didn't Have To" ("Monsters, Inc.," 2003) and "My Heart Will Go On" ("Titanic," 1999). (Note: Years cited indicate dates of Grammy ceremony.) All in all, the overlap between the Grammy and Academy Awards is far less frequent than you might expect considering they're both industry peer-group awards.

Since the Grammy is largely determined by sales (the award uses a popular ballot to determine most nominees and winners), the "Slumdog Millionaire" soundtrack needs to prove itself as a winner on the charts. When the first post-Oscars chart rankings came out Wednesday, they included only one day when the Oscars' results were known. Nonetheless, "Slumdog Millionaire" rocketed up from No. 48 the previous week to No. 22.

"It's likely that most of the gain came from digital purchases made during ABC's broadcast of the Oscars or immediately after the show concluded," reported Reuters

When the newest charts are issued this Wednesday, "Slumdog Millionaire" is expected to be in the top five. Any rank less will be considered a huge disappointment after it swept up eight Oscars, including best picture.

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Gold Derby nuggets: Kate Winslet will keep her Oscar 'in the loo' | Jennifer Hudson names her dogs Oscar and Grammy

February 28, 2009 |  7:36 pm

• Now that she's back in the U.K., Kate Winslet ("The Reader") comes clean about where she plans to keep her Academy Award statuette — right next to the one won by her husband Sam Mendes for directing best picture "American Beauty": "The Oscar's going in the loo, next to Sam's." London Daily Mail

• Oscar's best actor Sean Penn wants President Barack Obama to see "Milk" soon: "Eventually we are hoping for a White House screening. I think this film will be one of the steps forward. It will be part of the dialog." Agence France-Presse

• Two early U.K. investors in "Slumdog Millionaire" — Film4 and Celador — won't get a huge chunk of profits after its Oscar success, according a Brit newspaper. It claims biggest payoffs will go to theaters, distributors, Fox Searchlight and Pathe. London Independent

• A London tabloid reports that the joyous spirit of "Slumdog Millionaire's" Oscars victory didn't last long when one of the young stars returned India. The Sun

Chris Brown and Rihanna are reportedly back together after that nasty clash following a pre-Grammy party. Dish Rag

• A two-time past winner of the Venice Film Festival's Golden Lion will head the fest's next jury: Ang Lee. Associated Press

Jennifer Hudson told Oprah Winfrey on Friday that she's named two of her dogs Oscar and Grammy! She also revealed how wowed she was to receive the Grammy for best R&B album recently from presenter Whitney Houston. "As soon as she stepped out on the stage, I lost it," Jennifer Hudson said. "That's when I got emotional." Chicago Tribune

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Gold Derby nuggets: Fury over Oscarcast snub of Eartha Kitt | Jane Fonda Twittered the Oscars away | Is Mickey Rourke a sore loser?

February 25, 2009 |  7:05 pm

• The former publicist of late actress/singer Eartha Kitt is outraged that Kitt wasn't included in the Oscars' tribute to recently deceased stars. She died on Christmas of colon cancer at age 81. "The producers are either 12 or have been living under a rock for the past 60 years," he fumed to the New York Post. "It's clear that they thought that publicist Warren Cowan was more of a household name. Go figure." NEW YORK POST

Kate_winslet_golden_globes_oscars

Kate Winslet doesn't care that some of her fellow countrymen are upset that she lost her cool British reserve while accepting awards this derby season. According to the London Telegraph: "Asked about the less-than-fawning reaction of the British press to her hyperventilating disaster of an acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, she said: 'I really don't care and, quite frankly, I'm sad that my country can't be pleased with the successes of their own kind, as the U.S. does.' " LONDON TELEGRAPH

• "Slumdog Millionaire" will be playing on more than 2,800 screens across the country this coming Friday. The eight-time Oscar winner just crossed the $100-million mark domestically, and has already made an additional $65 million worldwide. All signs point to it being one of the few indie films to top $200 million worldwide. VARIETY

• The impoverished kids depicted in "Slumdog Millionaire" not only got a free trip to the Oscars and even to Disneyland, but housing authorities in Mumbai plan to give each of their families a free apartment too. After filming concluded last year, director Danny Boyle set up trust funds for them and enrolled them in local school, and now he promises to do more. LONDON DAILY MAIL

• More financial assistance may be ahead for all poor Mumbai kids if these plans pan out. Because Tony Award-winning shows "Frost/Nixon" and "Doubt" were top Oscars players, why shouldn't an Academy Awards champ head to the Broadway stage in pursuit of possible Tonys? The Hindustan Times reports that "Slumdog Millionaire" producers plan a musical stage adaptation to raise money for the needy children of Mumbai. HINDUSTAN TIMES

Joey Fatone says he and Lisa Rinna had a few drinks before hosting the TV Guide Channel preshow and were "kinda drunk" during the show itself. TMZ

• Looks like Mickey Rourke is off his best behavior now that he lost the lead actor Oscar to Sean Penn. TMZ even calls him a sore loser for flipping the bird to paparazzi. TMZ

Roger_eberts_oscars

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times takes on the "snarky" bashers of the Oscarcast, citing the review of L.A. Times scribe Patrick Goldstein, harrumphing, "Say what?" He then complimented Goldstein's coworker: "It was left to my friend Ken Turan, the L.A.Times' film critic, to strike a note of sanity." Bottom line: Ebert asserts that the Oscarcast was "the best I've seen. So that's what I think, and if you don't agree, you can go snark yourself." CHICAGO SUN-TIMES

• Two-time lead actress Oscar winner Jane Fonda ("Klute," "Coming Home") twittered the Oscar night away. On "The View," she confessed, "I did something I've never done before. I Twittered from my bed. I Twittered the Oscars. People really enjoyed the fact that, having won two Oscars, I'm at home Twittering. ... I liked the show and everything I voted for won." JANEFONDA.COM

• Memo to that ace Oscarologist and devilish scribe David Carr, who I greatly admire: You're nuts. The New York Times Carpetbagger suggests that the Oscars attempt an even-more-radical overhaul ahead: "Next year, the Academy might consider a generational update instead of transplanting this or that young star. There are plenty of young producers who may not have the demonstrated chops of Bill Condon and Laurence Mark, but could begin to integrate digital culture and contemporary music in more than token ways. What if Beck or Spike Jonze were given a chunk to program, or, if you're looking for more theatrical DNA, Stew of 'Passing Strange'?" CARPETBAGGER

• Let the next derby begin! Kris Tapley takes an early look at ponies that may be in top races at the next Oscars. IN CONTENTION

Jonas_brothers_grammy

• Just weeks after losing best new artist at the Grammys to Adele, the Jonas Brothers — who seem to have it all, as the saying goes — admit that there are a few things they still desire: "We want to play a stadium in America. And we want a Grammy. It didn't quite happen this year, but that's OK." CONTACT MUSIC

Robert Plant and Allison Krauss got a nice big sales bounce after going undefeated in five Grammy races, including album and record of the year. The week after their performance on the kudocast, "Raising Sand" shot up to No. 2 on the Billboard charts, it topped Amazon's music sales list, and it landed in the top five on iTunes. ALTSOUNDS

Photos: Associated Press, Suntimes.com, L.A. Times

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Oscars censored in 53 Asian nations

February 25, 2009 |  3:48 pm

The day after the Oscars, Keith Olbermann exulted in the bold expressions of free speech on the kudocast. He said on MSNBC, "If last night had been the 2003 Oscars, Dustin Lance Black, Bill Maher and Sean Penn probably would have spent the day raked over the coals by the yapping toadies of the media-government complex. Screw the toadies. They lost and free speech won!"

Oscars_censor_academy_awards_keith_

But not so on TV seen on the other side of the world.

Much of India was tuned in to the Oscars to see the victories by "Slumdog Millionaire," but they didn't get the whole telecast.

Asian satellite TV network STAR, owned by Rupert Murdoch, admits that it censored the acceptance speeches of "Milk" writer Dustin Lance Black and star Sean Penn in re-broadcasts, eliminating sound when the words "gay" or "lesbian" were spoken, because it had "a responsibility to take the sensitivities and guidelines of all our markets into consideration," spokeswoman Jannie Poon told the Associated Press. STAR reaches more than 300 million viewers in 53 nations.

However, a tipster tells Defamer.com that the words were also edited out of live broadcasts in India, but he doesn't identify the offending TV network.

Pang Khee Teik, a prominent Malaysian arts commentator, wrote a letter of protest to several media organizations, according to the AP. He said the gagging "sent a message ... that gays and lesbians are still shameful things to be censored from the public's ears."

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'Slumdog Millionaire' looked like a strong Oscars' filly right out of the gate

February 24, 2009 | 12:36 pm

Please indulge me and Jeff Wells of Hollywood-Elsewhere.com in claiming some bragging rights. Just moments after we saw "Slumdog Millionaire" at the Toronto Film Festival, we did this video chat out in the lobby of the Varsity 8 Theater, sizing up its Oscars potential. As you can see here, we not only note that it's a strong contender for a best-picture nomination, but we say it could even win.

   

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