February 20, 2009 / 10:25 PM / 10 years ago

"Slumdog" kids to walk Oscar red carpet

Rubina Ali, who acted as young Latika in the film "Slumdog Millionaire" shows mehndi painted on her hands in the slum she resides in, prior to leaving for airport to fly to Los Angeles to attend the 81st Academy Awards, in Mumbai February 20, 2009. REUTERS/Arko Datta

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The “Slumdog Millionaire” child actors from the slums of Mumbai will be joining hundreds of movie stars on the red carpet at Sunday’s Oscar ceremony in Hollywood, the studio behind the film said on Friday.

Fox Searchlight said it was paying the bill for visas, travel and accommodations for nine children to fly to Los Angeles for the Oscars, where the rags-to-riches story is favorite for a best picture Oscar.

The studio said the children, who play the younger and teen versions of the characters portrayed by adults Dev Patel, Freida Pinto and Madhur Mittal, will appear on the red carpet and attend the February 22 awards ceremony at the Kodak Theater.

The film makers were accused last month of exploiting the children. British director Danny Boyle and producer Christian Colson have rejected the charge, saying the children were paid above local Indian wages for their work and that the film’s makers were also paying for their education.

“Slumdog Millionaire” is nominated for 10 Oscars — the industry’s highest honors — including best picture and best director. It already has won at the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild, and the British BAFTA awards.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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