Oscars beckon as ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ sweeps BAFTA awards (Second Lead)

February 9th, 2009 - 5:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Benjamin ButtonLondon, Feb 9 (IANS) “Slumdog Millionaire”, the feelgood movie charting the rags-to-riches tale of a boy born in the slums of Mumbai, swept the pre-Oscars BAFTA awards in London Sunday night with seven wins, including best film. The makers dedicated the prestigious best film award - it beat “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, “Frost/Nixon”, “Milk” and “The Reader” - to the “people of Mumbai.”

“Slumdog was dragged kicking and screaming into the world by the passion, talent and dedication of the people who made it,” said co-producer Christian Colson.

“The insistence of the film on the healing power on courage, resilience and hope is inspired by the people of one of the great cities. We share it with the people of Mumbai.”

The film, based on a novel by Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup, picked up six other awards at a gala ceremony in London’s Royal Opera House - an annual event that is watched closely in the runup to the Oscars.

“Slumdog Millionaire” won the best director award for Danny Boyle, racing ahead of Clint Eastwood for “Changeling”, David Fincher for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, Ron Howard for “Frost/Nixon” and Stephen Daldry for “The Reader”. The film also won awards for the best adapted screenplay, music (A.R. Rahman), editing, cinematography and sound, as it continued its march to the Academy Awards in Los Angeles later this month.

Boyle, in his acceptance speech, said he was “hugely indebted to the people of Mumbai, especially the actors.”

Sunday night’s accomplishments, following on from four Golden Globes awards last month, reinforced Slumdog Millionaire’s pole position in the Oscars, where it has won 10 nominations.

Other winners at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts ceremony included:

Best actress: Kate Winslet for her role in “The Reader,”

Best actor: Mickey Rourke for his portrayal of a comeback fighter in “The Wrestler”,

Best supporting actress: Penelope Cruz for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”,

Best supporting actor: Heath Ledger (posthumous) for “The Dark Knight”, and

Best foreign film: “I’ve Loved You So Long” (France).

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, the Brad Pitt-starrer about a man who ages backwards, won three awards - for production design, special effects and hair and make-up.

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