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February 08, 2009

Rain-soaked red carpet at the BAFTAs

Winslet_bafta By Mimi Turner

LONDON -- Driving rain and sleet befell stars struggling up the increasingly sodden red carpet Sunday at the 63rd Orange British Academy Film Awards.

Stars including Brad Pitt, Dev Patel, Frieda Pinto, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Penelope Cruz, Michael Sheen and directors Ron Howard and Danny Boyle braved the elements to greet fans and cameras outside the ceremony at London's Royal Opera House, but it was the male actors and directors who put in a noticeably longer run than the actresses, whose wilting blooms were ushered into the Opera House beneath a flotilla of umbrellas bearing the sponsor's logo.

"He's a fantastic person and a great director -- he is the most humble and most down to earth person," Pinto said of Boyle, whose film "Slumdog Millionaire" is hotly tipped to run away with the evening, fielding 11 nominations, including best picture.

"I'm 18 and I'm here. Danny Boyle's daughter saw me in 'Skins,' and look, I'm here," said an excited Dev Patel. "It seems a bit like destiny, a bit like the film. All my friends are texting me to tease me about my enormous ears."

"It feels pretty nice -- nice to get something like this," Boyle said. "I'm delighted for the actors, they're the ones who are up in the screen. I thought I'd never want to do a film about a game show."

(photo by Getty Images)

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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.

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  • 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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