1501 PT: By the way, coverage of the Oscars starts at 1700 PT/2000 ET on ABC. E! has live ongoing coverage from the red carpet.
1540 PT: I must say, this one's particularly bittersweet as a Bollywood fan. The only Bollywood movie that had a shot at an Award -- India's official entry for the Best Foreign Film category, Taare Zameen Par (2007), was snubbed. Slumdog Millionaire is obviously *not* a Bollywood movie. These words aren't mine alone. Director Danny Boyle was pretty clear in his statements. Sample this from a NY Times piece: Mr. Boyle, for his part, does not think he has made an Indian movie. “No, no, no, it’s not a Bollywood film. It’s a good story. It’s a narrative.”
Really, Danny? Really? For all the trash talk Bollywood receives for some of its escapist cinema, is it not ironic that the media darling today is none other than a film involving a slum dweller in Mumbai, a chai wala, speaking English in a quasi-British accent and answering questions involving Shakespeare? Perhaps Taare Zameen Par was too real, too thought-provoking, for the Oscars? Such a double standard. Tsk-tsk. Of course, if he wins, we might hear a very different Boyle tonight. Diplomacy in the mass media, and that's okay, it's part of showbiz.
Here's what bugs me some more. From a Times of India interview with Oscar jury member Krishna Shah: "The main thing is that Indian films are not world class. Oscars jury thinks differently and Indian filmmakers also think differently before making a film. And the second thing is that there no one has the time to watch an entire 4 to 5 minutes long song sequence." No wonder our better than world class Hindi films have only been nominated thrice in 81 years! (Those would be Mother India (1957), Salaam Bombay (1988), and the greatest film ever made, Lagaan (2001).)
1545 PT: Tanay Chheda and the kids on E! These kids are smart. And cute, and adorable. For them alone, I might root for the film. Truth is, they made it tick. No? Tanay Chheda, you might recall, also starred in Taare Zameen Par. Also saw glimpses of Irrfan Khan and Anil Kapoor. Oh, they're talking to them now! Irrfan says it's in "the style of the film," that it's "the Hindi film elements Danny has used very intelligently. It's a masala movie, and there's so much going with it." Oh, wait. I thought Danny said this wasn't Bollywood? A sum of all parts? Anil Kapoor is "really overwhelmed". Anil is HYPED, man. "Fantastic," he says, "it's not three, it's TEN!"
1550 PT: Now talking to Dev Patel and Freida Pinto. Anil Kapoor says, "India we love you, and the Indian film industry!"
1552 PT: It would be nice if Freida talked like a lady. She sounds so...naive. Besides, kuch kuch nahin hota hai yaaron. Someone call Katrina Kaif here!
1553 PT: Must say, Anil's representing. Good stuff! Which leads me to why I'm live blogging today. I'm usually the last to talk of Awards. And this movie in particular is hardly the ideal channel in my opinion, but living in Southern California, I know it's made my job pitching Bollywood to non-Indians easier. Besides, at least the people at work now know I'm not a nut for having framed Lagaan memorabilia in my office ;)
1558 PT: Danny Boyle was speaking. A. R. RAHMAN and a lady in a salwar kameez in the backdrop! Someone speak to him, dammit!
1600 PT: One hour away.
1603 PT: Hema Malini's reactions on the film and the Oscars. Agreed! And here's a cool picture (from here):
1613 PT: A. R. Rahman has three nominations tonight. For music (score), music (song, "Jai Ho"), and Music (song, "O Saaya"). I agree with his stance, as Indian Express notes.
1620 PT: Here's the complete list of nominations. Among those I'd like to see win are Penelope Cruz and Kate Winslet.
1650 PT: See 1545 update above for accompanying sighting. Here are the kids from about an hour ago, from this Times of India gallery.
(Front left to right): Azharuddin Mohammed Ismail, Rubina Ali, Ayush Mahesh Khedekar; (Back left): Ashutosh Lobo Gajiwala, Tanvi Ganesh Lonkar and Tanay Hemant Chheda.
1710 PT: There's this really good shot of the cast. Dev Patel talks sense when proclaiming the kids "the real stars". He can do a lot better than Freida, take it from a guy. =)
1720 PT: Unrelated thoughts. My 'gorgeous women' awards go to: Penelope Cruz, Kate Winslet (okay, I'm biased), Amy Adams and Anne Hathaway. More to follow, surely.
1731 PT: Disappointed at no discussion with A. R. Rahman. They spoke to the music director for Wall-E. I'm wondering if they even realized the humble Rahman's who he is! He's with some beautiful and beautifully dressed lady, I'm guessing his wife :) Hugh Jackman the host is on. Here we go.
1734 PT: "Just a humble slumdog, sitting in a chair...I'm only here so I can phone a friend. The Slumdog Millionaire just needs some Milk." We'll hear about this bit with the milk, in the Indian papers by someone. LOVE the Frost/Nixon bit. Anne Hathaway! Dare I say...haaye Allah! No, that's property of Juhi Chawla, of course. :)
1741 PT: A shout-out to Kramer vs Kramer for Meryl Streep, means a shout-out's in order for its Bollywood remake, Akele Hum Akele Tum (1995).
1753 PT: Rahman's featuring in the Oscar trophy pose (well, close enough, just the hands out of position any way). From the TOI link in the 1650 update.
1801 PT: +1 for Slumdog Millionaire (SM) and Simon Beaufoy, for the Best Adapted Screenplay Award. Vikas Swaroop's the author of the book.
1833 PT: +2 and 2 for 2 for SM. Anthony Dod Mantle for Best Cinematography. Expected.
1840 PT: Still no signs of A. R. Rahman. Either they haven't done their research, or they don't care.
1845 PT: Random thought... The Love Guru (2008) won big at the Razzies last night. I wonder if Partner (2007) starring Salman Khan and Govinda would have done better here. :o)
1853 PT: Someone tell the ethnocentric Krishna Shah (see 1540 update) that musicals are alive and well at the Oscars :P
1917 PT: Best Documentary Short Film goes to Megan Mylan for Smile Pinki! From here: Pinki, a girl in rural India whose cleft lip has made her a social outcast, has a chance for a new life when she meets a dedicated social worker. The theme is evident, folks.
1925 PT: Will Smith reiterates what I've always been saying. "Action movies don't always get the respect they deserve." That's a cool way to describe the response in some segments to Ghajini (2008)! Oh, wait, it was the highest grossing film of all time, it would be unfair to complain. :)
1929 PT: Best Sound Editing does not go to Slumdog. Sound mixing nominees being announced. Resul Pookutty from A. R. Rahman's team wins!!! Rasul dedicates the Award to his country. No thanks to Rahman? More on him here.
1935 PT: It's 4 of 5 now for SM. Chris Dickens wins for Best Editing.
1944 PT: It's great to see Jerry Lewis! A well-deserved award for his humanitarian efforts. Quite the gentleman, too.
1953 PT: Time for Best Original Score. GO RAHMAN! And the winner is...YES, it's him!!!! The crowd goes wild. There is a God! :)
1954 PT: Mere Paas Maa Hai (I have mom), he says (it's from Deewaar (1975)), thanks his mother. Gulzar, Blaze. God is great! (Added later, picture source: Times of India.)
1956 PT: Oh, Rahman's singing! Woo hoo! O Saaya! Lovely choreography. For some reason, I just had a weird flashback to a dancer in Michael Jackson's Black or White. And Jai Ho!
2000 PT: Best Original Song goes to: A. R. Rahman and Gulzar for Jai Ho! Awwrrright! The essence of the film, which is the power of hope in our lives. The two choices are hate and love, and he chose love, he says.
2005 PT: For Best Foreign Language film...let out the boo birds. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.
Aside: I'll have a Taare Zameen Par update soon, I promise.
*Sorry, I know I'm not in a sports arena, but you get the point.*
2020 PT: 7 of 8 for SM. Danny Boyle wins for Best Editor. A shout-out to Tigger from Winnie the Pooh? *Yawn* Oh well, Tigger is my favorite character from the series any way. Yeth, iths true.
2030 PT: Pray tell me it's Kate Winslet. And it is! It is ABOUT time.
2047 PT: One of Ashutosh Gowariker's favorites Steven Spielberg is on. Tom Hanks rules!
2052 PT: Best Picture (what a formality) about to be announced...goes to...
2054 PT: SM!!! The kids are on stage!!! A. R. Rahman, Irrfan Khan, Anil Kapoor, and Azharuddin Mohammad in the front row. This is quite extraordinary. Warner Brothers, eat your heart out! Someone let Anil speak!
2058 PT: Okay, so hardly any surprises here. 8 Oscars in all for SM. Historic? Absolutely. Was it well-deserved? You tell me.
2102 PT: I'm off to an after party for a bit. I'll end with this: A. R. Rahman and his greatness do not mean any more to me tonight than they did about 15 years ago with their Bollywood debut with Rangeela (1994). Yet, it's about time a Lagaaniite held an Oscar in his hand! Peace!
0730 PT (2/23): Note to self (like one of them Ghajini notes on my desk) -- partying until late on Sunday night is not the recommended approach. Gee, I thought I'd learned that my Freshman year in college, but I guess not. Some links this morning:
- Aamir Khan has a congratulatory note to Resul, Rahman, Gulzar.
- Bhargav has a list of all winners from the show.
- Darshit has compiled links to A. R. Rahman resources.
- Nicki has a list of the Oscars prizes SM received.
- Pitu has some awards to hand out!
- Shweta's giving new meaning to the infamous Lagaan dialogue -- "Chhoti chhoti aankhen, aur bade bade sapne?" (small eyes and big dreams?) -- with her pick as India's entry to the Oscars for next year. :P