Slumdog Millionaire scoops up 10 Oscar nominations

slumdog2Last night in Hollywood this year’s Oscar nominations were announced, with several British films coming up trumps.

Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire, a rags-to riches story set in Mumbai about an impoverished orphan who wins the TV quiz show Who Wants to be a Millionaire, met with great success, picking up 10 nominations including best picture. The film’s star, 18-year-old Londoner Dev Patel, missed out on a best actor nomination but said he was thrilled at attending the ceremony in LA with the cast and crew.

“It’s just amazing!” he said. “For Slumdog Millionaire to be included in the nominations for the Oscars is a huge honour. When we first began working on the film I don’t think any of us ever imagined that we might end up attending the Oscars ceremony as a result.”

The four other films competing in the best picture category are The Reader, about a literary tram conductor on trial for war crimes in post-war Germany; Frost/Nixon, the dramatisation of Sir David Frost’s televised showdown with former US President Richard Nixon; Milk, the true story of America’s first openly gay politician; and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, an F Scott Fitzgerald adaptation starring Brad Pitt as a man who ages backwards.

The latter topped this list of Oscar nominations last night, ringing in a total of 13. These included best film, best director, best actor and best supporting actress.

Pitt will be accompanied to the ceremony by his wife Angelina Jolie who is also in the running for the best actress gong for her role as a bereaved mother in Changeling. Other contenders for the award are Meryl Streep in Doubt, Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married, Kate Winslett in The Reader, and, unexpectedly, Melissa Leo in Frozen River.

Winslett had already been tipped by critics to receive a nomination for best actress, but for her role in Revolutionary Road. However, the Sam Mendes directed film was poorly received by Oscar voters with just one nomination. The Reader on the other hand met with great success, receiving nominations for best film, director, actress, screenplay and cinematography. This will be the third nomination for British director Stephen Daldry after Billy Elliot (2000) and The Hours (2002).

The Dark Knight received eight nominations, including a nod to Heath Ledger as best supporting actor for his performance as the Joker, one year after his death. Gus Van Sant’s biopic of the gay rights campaigner Harvey Milk starring Sean Penn also managed to pick up eight nominations, including best film, director, actor and supporting actor.

Other films up for the hotly-contested Oscar statuettes include The Class from France, Japanese movie Departures and Israel’s Waltz With Bashir in the best foreign film category, and WALL-E for best original screenplay.

The Oscars ceremony takes place on 22nd February in Los Angeles, and will be hosted this year by the Australian actor Hugh Jackman.

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