February 6, 2009 / 3:38 PM / 10 years ago

"Slumdog" heads for UK's BAFTA film awards crown

LONDON (Reuters) - Low-budget Indian drama “Slumdog Millionaire” goes into Britain’s top film awards on Sunday with 11 nominations and hopes of building on its Golden Globes success to get another boost ahead of the Oscars later this month.

A boy walks past publicity posters of Golden Globe award-winning film "Slumdog Millionaire" in Mumbai January 22, 2009. REUTERS/Arko Datta

It is tied at the top with “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” starring Brad Pitt, followed by Batman blockbuster “The Dark Knight” which won nine BAFTA nominations and the drama “Changeling,” which won eight.

“Frost/Nixon” has six nominations, “The Reader” five and “In Bruges,” “Milk” and “Revolutionary Road” four apiece.

“Slumdog Millionaire”, a British picture about a young man from the slums of Mumbai who seeks to rise from rags to riches by winning a Hindi TV game show, triumphed at the Golden Globes last month with four honors including best drama.

At the BAFTAs, which will be handed out on in London on Sunday, it was shortlisted for best film, while director Danny Boyle, who made the acclaimed “Trainspotting” in 1996, is in the running for the best director award.

The movie’s international success has been tempered by objections in India to the name, which some slum dwellers find offensive, its depiction of the lives of impoverished Indians and the treatment of the cast.

Boyle, who has faced accusations from some parts of the Indian media that his film is “poverty porn,” has said he was trying to capture Mumbai’s “lust for life.”

Eighteen-year-old “Slumdog” star Dev Patel is also vying for best leading actor when the BAFTAs are handed out at a gala event at the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden.

The televised ceremony will be hosted by controversial presenter Jonathan Ross, who was recently suspended without pay from the BBC for his participation in obscene prank calls made to actor Andrew Sachs.


“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” in which Pitt’s character gets younger with time, is also in the running for best film and best director.

Pitt won two nominations — best actor for Benjamin Button and best supporting actor for his role in the Coen brothers’ comedy “Burn After Reading.”

The late Heath Ledger is nominated in the supporting actor category for his performance as the villainous Joker in Batman picture “The Dark Knight.”

The Australian actor, who died last year aged 28 of an accidental prescription drugs overdose, won the same category at the Golden Globes and is many tipsters’ favorite to win an Academy Award.

Kate Winslet, a double Golden Globe winner, competes against herself in the best actress category for “The Reader” and “Revolutionary Road,” and is up against Angelina Jolie playing a mother desperately searching for her son in “Changeling.”

Winslet has received two best actress BAFTA nominations in the same year before. In 2005, she was shortlisted for “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “Finding Neverland.”

(Editing by Paul Casciato)

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