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October 23, 2008

'Slumdog,' 'Wall-E' rise, fall


As much as we'd like to brag that we were the first to single out "Slumdog Millionaire" as an Oscar contender for best picture, we can't, in all honesty. But we were among the first to do so, all official-like. How's that for literal?

We plucked Danny Boyle's mostly-English-language rags-to-riches "Slumdog" from the festival circuit, via its rave reviews, and included it along with "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Doubt," "Milk," and "The Dark Knight" in our Too Early for Real Oscar Predictions list via Gold Derby.

Rolling Stone's Peter Travers and InContention's Kris Tapley agreed, sharp guys that they are. Travers, meanwhile, was the only other prognosticator to side with us on "Dark Knight."

But today it seems that others are now copying off our papers. Cheaters!

Look here to see who's following the leaders.

And go here for a sneak at the Fox Searchlight one sheet, which latches onto the love story as the film's salable hook. Well, you didn't think it was going to be the torture scenes, did you? Maybe the Bollywood song-and-dance numbers, which will figure heavily into the media campaign, but certainly not the beat down scenes.

Good call!


While one star rises, another seems to fade. Excitement about "Wall-E," the Pixar/Disney not-just-for-families flick, was all the rage this summer, when awards season was far, far away. And it wasn't just bandied about for best animated picture, but best picture.

Gold Rush readers were all for it.

Haven't heard a peep about its chances for the top prize lately, though. It's not on our list, but we think it's already a lock for best animated pic. That'll have to do, and that ain't bad.

Recognizing the Oscar-winning creative mind behind "Wall-E" and a long line of Pixar mega-blockbusters, THR has given John Lasseter the new title, King of the World! Actually, it's Innovator of the Year, whose epiphany came in high school when he stumbled across "The Art of Animation" book:

"It dawned on me that people actually make cartoons for a living."

Learn how Lasseter's doodling in church, devastating heave-ho from Disney back in the day, and fortuitous meet up with LucasFilms set the stage for some of the most eye-popping, pathos-packing animated fare any of us has ever seen.

We fully expect to see him, gold-laden, on Oscar night.


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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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