Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Shock horror...Slumdog wouldn't get my Oscar

Sunday is of course Oscar day and all the talk is that Slumdog Millionaire will walk away with the big prizes (unless that rather dreary looking Benji Button film beats it).

Well, it wouldn't get my vote from the available choices and I sense that is almost heretical at the moment in some quarters in the UK.

Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the Indian feast that is the Millionaire movie...but I just thought there were better movies last year.

For those who haven’t seen the movie yet, Slumdog is billed as a 'feel-good' film but I just don't get that at all as it features torture, child poverty, abuse, murder and many dark moments. Just because something has a happy ending and a few laughs on the way, doesn’t mean it is a feel-good film.

The reason we love this film is because it takes you, literally and metaphorically, to a different place. And that is the escapism we all crave in Credit Crunch City.

For the record, however, I would argue that one of the other big winners at the BAFTAs, The Reader, is an even better film. Kate Winslet is absolutely wonderful in this challenging film and it is worth the entry fee alone to see her wrestle with her conscience as it is revealed that she has a horrible Nazi past.

It is up against Millionaire and Benji and others for the top gong so it won't win sadly but let us hope the Academy see sense and resist Angelina Jolie's charms to give 'Dame' Kate (only a matter of time!!) the actress award she deserves.

As it happens, although not nominated for the top Oscars, I also thoroughly enjoyed three other films last year in what may just have been a vintage year.

I loved Batman movie The Dark Knight (I don't normally rave about superhero flicks but this was outstanding), The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas (a film which made my entire family cry) and In Bruges which was a fantastic black comedy and a real cult movie in the making.

Oh and even though not many others did, I want to reserve my last praises for Valkyrie, the story of the 1944 plot to kill Hitler. That is a cracking movie which didn't get the credit it deserved because of the bizarre anti-Tom Cruise feeling that abounds in some quarters. A real shame that because he, and the rest of the cast (especially the extraordinary Bill Nighy) really made this great story come alive.

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