Monday, January 26, 2009

Millionaire Dollar Prizes

At the risk of alienating my fellow desis, especially in light of my first blog posting, I need to get something off my chest. Last night, I caught the Screen Actors Guild Awards on TV. And Slumdog was awarded the most coveted prize of the night, best cast.

Since it's an event that recognizes actors and not the film as a whole, there's no best film, just best ensemble in a movie. While I agree with Slumdog as a choice for best film, or best director, or best score., I can't let my homeland pride blind me to the fact that the acting in the film was just average - at least from the adults.

The kids in Slumdog were amazing. What's even more amazing is that some of those children were actually picked out of the slums. That they were able to act so intelligently, to speak English so well is telling of their talent. I love that the people behind Slumdog set up a trust fund for the kids, so they could get a real education and get out of the slums one day, with less trouble than Jamal had.

The adults were OK. Not great. Any one could have been in Anil Kapoor's role. And the female character mostly was just there as eye candy. And Jamal is a bit goofy looking. It's speaks volumes that Dev Patel was nominated as in the supporting actor category, rather than lead actor.

Honestly, I have to say the cast of Benjamin Button deserved it. Individually, they all gave incredibly touching performances. I'll admit it, I cried when Ben's mama died. And the actors from Dark Knight should have at least got a nod.

It's been said that Slumdog's gaining so much recognition because it neatly fits into Western notions about Eastern culture. Could it be that critics and Academy members are indulging in a bit of Oriental fetishism? Or you do disagree with my opinions about the movie? Let us know.
- De


Lijo said...

I agree. The older kids were not great, but the young ones carried most of the weight. Also, Freida Pinto is hot. Okay, I know that doesn't add to the discussion, but it should be stated.

Anywhoo, I thought Slumdog was just a staple Indian movie, except in English, but to my surprise, its dominating everything at these award shows. And I have no idea why.

Christine said...

Well I think that's it Lijo. It's an English film in English.. but its setting, characters, and the plot (a little too fabricated for me) are exotic and there's a happy happy ending. Indians love it because it's Indian enough and they boast about it because it's palatable to non-Indians (no dance scenes in the Swiss Alps and predictable love triangle).

When I watched it a second time, it was not as impressive.

HOWEVER. I do think one of the strongest films of the year, even over Benjamin Button. One of the best films? definitely not.

Christine said...

ewww I also don't want Saggy Maggy to be getting a nod.

divadiv said...

Saggy Maggie, forgot about her. Well, I like the other actors in the movie. You know you love Morgan Freeman!