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High hopes for Hugh at Sunday’s Oscars

February 20, 2009

The choice of Hugh Jackman to host the Oscars on Sunday has generated plenty of talk, because he is no comedian and Hollywood is wondering how a song-and-dance man like Jackman will fare at the high-pressure job, which usually goes to funny men and women such as Billy Crystal, Jon Stewart or Whoopi Goldberg.hugh-jackman1

But average folks on the Web think the Australian actor will do just fine. In a poll on celebrity news site, 85 percent of respondents think he will do either “great” or “OK”. Only 15 percent of the 31,000 respondents expect Jackman will be “terrible” at hosting the Oscars.

Jackman, who stars in the upcoming film “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, and who has hosted Broadway’s Tony awards, was chosen after last year’s Oscar broadcast, hosted by television’s “The Daily Show” star Stewart, hit a record low of 32 million U.S. viewers, compared to 39.9 million in 2007. 

Oscar show producers are expected to bring a fresh look to the ceremony on Sunday, and have dropped the traditional comic opening monologue.

 Web site also conducted a poll and found that “Slumdog Millionaire” is the clear favorite to win the best picture Oscar.

 A whopping 83 percent of respondents wanted the late Heath Ledger to win best supporting actor for his role as Joker in Batman movie “The Dark Knight,”  while Kate Winslet was picked to win best actress for “The Reader” and Mickey Rourke to win best actor for  “The Wrestler.”


Does the Oscar deserve our time and attention?

These are the facts: knight-snub-unforgivable-because/2566564 9

Posted by Fernanda Gómez | Report as abusive

I wrote this review about 3 months ago as I wanted to share my opinion and analysis of Slumdog Millionaire with a friend of mine after she had finally watched the movie and loved it too. She had initially refused to continue watching it, just a few minutes into in, as soon as Jamal jumps into the ditch full of s… Of course, upon my insistence she watched it and was very glad that she did. However, nearly three months later, and after the Oscars, this review/analysis can still hold its own. Read on…

Slumdog Millionaire is indeed a fantastic movie and it opens you up on so many fronts and addresses so many issues that any society, particularly India, grapples with, on a daily basis. These scenarios glare us in the face, yet we choose to believe that they do not exist. Then, we try to find comfort in the fact that as long as they do not affect us and our loved ones directly, we do not need to deal with them. It is really a good study in people’s perception of self.

To begin with, it’s a bold-faced study of India-in your face! Dirty, poverty-sticken, vibrant, and yes! Bollywood-crazy! Then you see the slums which have a life of their own. There is an order in that chaos. But, if you try to break that order, the consequences are immense! Then there is the plight of millions of poverty-stricken children who have to fend for themselves. And then there are various goons, at every corner, trying to take advantage of every situation and everybody-as is seen under the guise of orphanage in this movie.

The issue of organized-begging is addressed beautifully. How children are tortured and intentionally maimed in order to help the bigger cause of organized crime (begging is a multi-billion dollar industry in India).

Then there is the focus on the struggles of life in general and yet the addiction of “living life” keeps driving us all to live. Along the way, we care for each other in times of crises and struggles and we find out who our friends are. How some make it while others fall through the cracks! How we feel sorry for them and we just move on with our lives! How certain questions are left unanswered and how commitments are left at bay. How most of the relationships are not adhered to! How most of the promises are not kept!

Then there is the vibrancy of life. Full of color! No two people wear the same colored clothes in India, particularly the women. I love this aspect of India and Indians. Then there is the delicate balance of religions, which can rear its ugly head at the drop of a hat, as is evident by the beautiful capture of the communal riots at the start of the movie. All this and we have not even tried to scratch the surface of the theme of the movie – you can dream as big as your imagination! And, then some beyond!

I do not want to touch the Millionaire aspect of the movie – which really was all about mistrust and fame and money, which seem to be the values of any modern-day society. On the other hand the realities of life and the real-life experiences have prepared Jamal for one of the biggest challenges of his young life, yet the “powers that be” refuse to acknowledge the fact that this person may, just may, have the right answers to those questions, as is made apparent in the movie time and time again. In fact, that is the only aspect of the movie that I thought was overdone! My take was – I get it! He has been through all these situations in his life as part of his life-experiences, I get it, can we move on?

The most heart-warming moment for me was when Jamal is about to appear on the last day of Millionaire and how the entire India comes to a standstill! That sent goosebumps down my spine. It was so beautifully captured by the Director of the movie. People, irrespective of religious beliefs, in homes, shops, in the middle of the streets, etc, glued to TV and radio to see and hear what would happen to this boy from such a humble background. In him, the whole of India saw a little bit of themselves; a bit of hope; for themselves; for their own kids. Jamal was a feel-good story. He was the boy next-door. And, this all was captured beautifully by the Director and, of course, actors, etc.

But, how could you make a Bollywood movie without a song-and-dance number. It would not even be classified as an India movie. So, there it was – a colorful and melodious array of beats by A. R. Rahman at the Bombay V. T. railway station, with the hero and heroine (as they say it in India), in tow with hundreds of Indians (Bombayites), dancing to the beats. I thought it was quite cute. A. R. Rahman is turning into quite a genius!

I am so glad that such movies, with substance, have come out of India or with Indian themes recently. For me, it all started with “Lagaan”. Then, there was “Black”. Earlier this year, there was “Taare Zameen Pe” and now “Slumdog Millionaire”.

I hope Slumdog Millionaire wins big at the Oscars this coming year. I think Hollywood is moving toward breaking down barriers of language and culture. So, who knows, one of these days, a through-and-through Indian movie, of substance, just might do it! I will be happy.

I can understand the Oscar buzz surrounding Slumdog Millionaire but then there are other fantastic movies like Milk, Doubt, The Reader, Benjamin Button, etc. I hope Slumdog Millionaire wins big. I will be watching and rooting for it.

Posted by Shariq Sherwani | Report as abusive

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