I took this photograph of Danny Boyle at the start of the whole long process: The Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day Weekend. The movie was the hit of the fest. Everyone knew it was a winner. Slumdog went on to score at the Golden Globes, the Producers Guild, Screen Actors Guild, best director at the LA Film Critics, and Saturday night, the Directors Guild. Multiple Oscars are in Slumdog’s sights.
Who would have thought that this movie developed by the originators of Who Wants to be A Millionaire, Celador, and funded by Film Four, would end up getting this far? By the way, Warners isn’t crying in its beer about losing bragging rights to this Oscar contender. First, the studio did acquire Slumdog through Warner Independent, but shuttered the label before Slumdog’s scheduled Telluride launch. Warners tried to figure out a way for outgoing Picturehouse exec Bob Berney to distribute it, but it was financially impossible to hang onto his staff for the release. And WIP’s Polly Cohen persuaded her bosses to do what was best for the filmmaker, and let him take the film to his frequent home, Fox Searchlight.
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“I should start by curiously thanking Warner Bros. for actually having the grace to do the right thing, when I think it would have been a lot easier to do the wrong thing, and pass the film on to Fox Searchlight, who are an extraordinary bunch of people,” said Boyle, according to the A.P.
It’s still a close race for picture with Slumdog vying with Milk and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. But most of the time the DGA winner is the Oscar winner. So best director is Boyle’s to lose.