‘Slumdog’ kids shine as stars arrive for big Oscar night

February 23rd, 2009 - 7:33 am ICT by IANS  

Slumdog MillionaireLos Angeles, Feb 23 (DPA) Hollywood’s stars turned out Sunday for the movie industry’s biggest night of the year, strolling into a glittering Oscar ceremony that aimed to lift the economic gloom hanging over the film industry.
The stars started rolling up more than an hour before the late afternoon ceremony, with Australian actor Hugh Jackman as host.

Despite all the big names strutting down the most famous red carpet in the world, it was the young stars of Oscar favourite “Slumdog Millionaire”, led by Dev Patel and Freida Pinto, who made the strongest impact.

The movie’s producers only decided to fly in the youngest actors after earlier worries that the contrast between the glamorous event and their everyday surroundings in the slums of Bombay would be too wrenching.

Other stars who showed up early for the red carpet walk were best actress nominee Melissa Leo, best actor nominee Richard Jenkins, singers Madonna and John Legend, teen stars Vanessa Hudgens, Miley Cyrus and Zac Efron and actress Sarah Jessica Parker.

Producers have promised to shake up the usual Oscar conventions with a number of surprises - meant to halt the show’s steady slide in ratings and lack of interest among younger viewers who are the lifeblood of the movie industry.

The film sector has also been badly hit by a sharp decline in purchases of DVDs, which in recent years have contributed more to studio revenues than box-office receipts.

Among the changes being introduced to the Oscars is the transformation of the Kodak Theatre to a “dream nightclub” and the exclusion of some of the highest-profile stars from the closely watched entrance, to preserve their fashion secrets for the Oscar telecast itself.

Though the economic downturn is expected to lead to more restrained fashion statements and less lavish parties than usual, the glitz and glamour on show will contrast sharply with the Oscar favourite, “Slumdog Millionaire”, about the rise of a slum-dwelling

Mumbai orphan to the final of India’s most popular quiz show.

The movie, directed by Danny Boyle, has ten nominations compared to the leading 13 nominations for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”. However, the Brad Pitt star vehicle is not expected to win as many of the major prizes as the India-based movie.

Besides those two films, the other contenders for best picture are “Frost/Nixon”, “Milk” and “The Reader”.

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