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January 11, 2009

'Slumdog' vs. 'Button'

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While a polite, darling and completely accommodating Peninsula employee named Scott found a power cord for our laptop -- bless you, dear sir, we're sure you're not getting paid to crawl around the floor of the Veranda Room for our benefit -- we pondered the "Slumdog Millionaire" vs. "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" conundrum.

We didn't really see it as a conundrum until tonight.

Now that the power's back on -- huzzah! -- we'll wax on for just a bit about this. (Please realize we've hit the slider bar a couple times during our "break" and the Peninsula barkeeps are awfully generous with their pours).

We've had some indication, even before Thursday at the "Critics Choice Awards," that the tide had turned. Critics have all loved it. No surprise there. So did we. Momentum is a powerful thing, and "Slumdog" seems to be the movie with all the good will. It was, after all, in danger of languishing in distribution purgatory until Fox Searchlight rescued it. It is, in itself, a story of triumph over adversity. It's charming, it's sweet, it's tragic, it's violent, it's ultimately life affirming.

Is it Oscar?

No one would be happier than your resident Gold Rusher to see Danny Boyle, Freida Pinto, Dev Patel, A. H. Rahman and the rest doing a Bollywood victory dance on the stage of the Kodak next month. Will it happen? 

Or will the rather stolid Academy pick the more "American" film and give "Benjamin Button" the top prize. Thoughts? Anybody?

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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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