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February 08, 2009

'Slumdog Millionaire' hears ka-ching at BAFTAs

By Mimi Turner

LONDON -- It was "Slumdog Millionaire's" night from the starting pistol at this year's Orange British Academy Film Awards, with the favorite picking up three of the first four awards handed out Sunday night including best music, best editing and and best sound. Perhaps the only reason it missed out on the fourth was that it was the award for short animation.

Young stars Dev Patel and Freida Pinto earned a huge roar shortly afterwards when they took to the podium to hand the best costume design award to "The Duchess."

By the time Danny Boyle arrived at the podium to collect the best director award from Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, the audience in the Royal Opera House were on their feet, Boyle played tribute to his family and said he had been amazed by the experience making the film in India.

Rourke_baf "We are hugely indebted to the people of Mumbai, especially all the young actors."

"What a night!" said "Slumdog" producer Christian Coulson after accepting the coveted best film award. " 'Slumdog' was dragged kicking and screaming into the world against the advice of many. Danny Boyle dreamed the dream 24 hours a day, seven days a week for two and half years. I'd like to share this film with the people of Mumbai," Coulson added.

Virtually hyperventilating, but staving off the tears many had predicted, best actress winner Kate Winslet dedicated her gong to Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack.

"You are much missed today and you will be missed for many days to come," said Winslet. "This is for you."

Garnering perhaps the biggest cheer of the night, Mickey Rourke was roared to the rafters when he collected the best actor award. "It's a pretty statue," he said, and proceeded to thank Fox Searchlight, co-star Marisa Tomei and director Darren Aronofsky. "He gave me second change after fucking up my career for seven years. I want to thank David Unger for putting his career on the line for representing me. It is such a pleasure to be here after years in the darkness. Did I thank everybody? My memory's not as good as it used to be."

In other highlights, veteran British journalist David Frost and "Michael Sheen took to the podium to present the original screenplay award, earning laughter for Frost's impromptu interview of the actor. "What are you doing next?" he asked Sheen. "Frost/Nixon the Musical" came the answer. Possible song and dance numbers, suggested Frost, included "Who's Kissinger Now."

(photo by Getty Images)


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debt relief

I don't think he's going to take the gold.

Digger Derrick Trucks

Slumdog did much better at the box office after it swept the Oscars.

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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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