Best picture Oscar nominees

February 20th, 2009 - 9:39 am ICT by IANS  

Los Angeles, Feb 20 (DPA) The Oscars will be announced here Sunday night (Monday morning in India). The following have been nominated for the best picture Oscar:
“Slumdog Millionaire”: A British film based in Mumbai, India, that tells the searing tale of an Indian pauper who reaches the final of the Indian game show, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Suspicious that the uneducated youth must be cheating, police interrogate him and he reveals how a series of childhood events gave him the answers to the quiz questions.

Based on a book by Indian author and diplomat Vikas Swarup, the movie stars previously little-known actors Dev Patel and Freida Pinto. It is directed by Danny Boyle (”Trainspotting”) and written by Simon Beaufoy (”The Full Monty”). Made for just $15 million, much of the film is in Hindi with English subtitles and initially had difficulty finding a distributor in the US. It has already won numerous awards, including four Golden Globes.

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”: Adapted from a 1921 short story by US literary legend F. Scott Fitzgerald, the movie stars Brad Pitt born in 1918 with the physical appearance of an old man and the ability to speak. He proceeds to age in reverse, enjoying a wonderful romance for a few years when he is roughly the same age as his wife, building a fortune, before he ends his life as a baby.

Directed by David Fincher (”The Zodiac”) and written by Eric Roth (”Forest Gump”, “Munich”), the movie deviates from Fitzgerald’s original story and is based on flashbacks set around New Orleans at the time of Hurricane Katrina. It also stars Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton. It cost some $150 million to make, has a running time of 166 minutes and was released Dec 25, 2008.

“Milk”: A biographical film about the life of Harvey Milk who came out of the closet in 1970 and moved from New York to San Francisco to become the first openly gay politician in the US. In the eight years before he was murdered by a bitter political rival, Milk transformed sexual politics in the US and helped establish San Francisco as a bastion of gay politics.

Directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Sean Penn, “Milk” was written by Dustin Lance Black and made for $15 million. It has a running time of 128 minutes and was released Nov 28, 2008.

“Frost/Nixon”: Can the story behind an interview series between a corrupt former president and a dogged journalist really make riveting cinema? It can if it’s directed by Ron Howard, is written by Peter Morgan based on his prize-winning play and features top actors.

The movie tells how British interviewer David Frost managed to bag a series of interviews with former US president Richard Nixon, and how the two men battled wits as Nixon attempted to vindicate his actions and Frost tried to uncover the president’s devious manipulations.

“The Reader”: A high school student in Germany in the 1950s reads countless books to his secret older lover - who disappears mysteriously after getting a job promotion. He finds her again years later when he is a law student and she is on trial for war crimes. She is convicted and eventually commits suicide even though her former lover discovers that she could not have committed the crimes she was accused of.

The movie is based on an award-winning German book by law professor and judge Bernhard Schlink whose work dealt with the difficulty facing subsequent generations of Germans to comprehend the Holocaust.

Oscar bet: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” may have the most nominations, but all the passion is for “Slumdog Millionaire”, which has beaten its rival in most competitions so far.

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