Monday, February 23, 2009

‘Slumdog Millionaire’ Is This Year’s ‘The Last Emperor’

“Slumdog Millionaire” won the Oscar for best picture tonight, following in the footsteps of 1987 winner “The Last Emperor.”
Both films hold the distinction of winning the top prize at the Academy Awards without having any of their actors nominated. Voters in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences apparently couldn’t tell if the acting was any good because they hadn’t seen the actors before. For all they knew, the Indians in “Slumdog Millionaire” were playing themselves.
It’s easier to pick English actress Kate Winslet doing a German accent for "The Reader." That’s ACTING!, as Jon Lovitz’s Master Thespian character on SNL would shout.
As usual the comedic actors stole the show at the 81st Academy Awards.
Ben Stiller riffed on actor Joaquin Phoenix’s recent bizarre appearance on the “Late Show with David Letterman.” Stiller wore a shaggy, unkempt beard and sunglasses and acted dazed and confused while co-presenting an award with Natalie Portman.
Steve Martin and Tina Fey were quite funny presenting the screenwriting awards.
And James Franco and Seth Rogen reprised their stoner roles from the movie “Pineapple Express” in a bit co-written by Judd Apatow. The segment was meant to spotlight comedy movies from 2008, but showed the guys sitting on a couch, laughing uproariously to serious films like “The Reader” and “Doubt.” Very funny.
Director Baz Luhrmann really needs to make another musical. After bombing with the epic drama “Australia” last year, he created a nifty musical and dance montage for the Oscars featuring Hugh Jackman and Beyonce Knowles. Luhrmann directed the modern musical masterpiece “Moulin Rouge!” (2001).
Speaking of musical numbers, the performances of two Bollywood songs from “Slumdog Millionaire” on the Oscar telecast were spectacular.

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