22 Feb : As the 81st Academy Awards ceremony are going to take place on Sunday night, expectation are high among Indians that music maestro A R Rahman, who has bagged three nominations for "Slumdog Millionaire", will bring home the coveted trophy.
Stars and movie makers have already arrived in Los Angeles for the 81st Academy Awards.Year’s biggest and most glittering entertainment event will be watched by billions of people all around the world. Let’s have a look at the preparations for the glittering ceremony.
It will be a tough contest among the world’s best flicks to get the coveted Oscars award on Sunday night.Expectation are high among Indians that music maestro A R Rahman, who has bagged three nominations for "Slumdog Millionaire", will bring home the coveted trophy.
"Smile Pinki" and "The final Inch" are two other films with strong Indian connections vying for the Academy glory.The 43-year-old, who has already pocketed a Golden Globe and BAFTA, is nominated for Best Original Score and Best Original Song for his numbers "Jai ho" and "O saya".
In the original score category, Rahman faces competition from Alexandre Desplat ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"), James Newton Howard ("Defiance"), Danny Elfman ("Milk") and Thomas Newman ("WALL-E").The Indian composer is pitted against Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman ("Down to earth" from "WALL-E") in the original song category. Gulzar has penned the lyrics of "Jai ho" and Mathangi ‘Maya’ Arulpragasam aka M.I.A. for "O saya".
It is also a tryst with destiny for Indian sound technician Resul Pookutty, who is vying for an Oscar with his colleagues Ian Tapp and Richard Pryke for sound mixing in ‘Slumdog Millionaire".Pookutty faces challenge from "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", "The Dark Knight", "WALL-E and "Wanted".
The Indian technician recently won a BAFTA and Cinema Audio Society (CAS) awards for best sound mixing. He is the first Indian to win the CAS award.
Indian entry "Slumdog Millionaire" has been voted as the number one film people would most like to claim the Best Picture trophy at the 81 Academy awards.
The story of a Mumbai slumdweller, who wins against all odds has already won many awards worldwide including seven Baftas and four Golden Globes and is the favourite to claim the top prize.
Boyle’s Mumbai-based saga about a slumdweller’s journey to fame and fortune, is generating equal hype in India with its predominant Indian cast and crew.
Other than Rahman and Pookutty, the film is fighting in six categories including the Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.With 13 nominations, Brad Pitt starrer drama "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" is the biggest threat to the film.
Boyle and "Slumdog Millionaire" are the favourite at the Oscars to win the Best Film and the Best Director trophy.The film is pitted against "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", "Frost/Nixon", "Milk" and "The Reader" in the Best Picture category.
While the British director will have to fight it out with David Fincher "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", Ron Howard "Frost/Nixon", Gus Van Sant "Milk" and Stephen Daldry "The Reader".
However, Indian enthusiasm is not just limited to "Slumdog Millionaire", two documentaries "Smile Pinki" and "The Final Inch", are also in the Oscar race in Documentary (Short) category.
"Smile Pinki" is a 40-minute documentary that depicts the story of Pinki Sonkar, an eight-year-old girl from Mirzapur whose face cleft lip made her a social outcast.Made in Bhojpuri and Hindi, the film has been directed by Emmy-nominated producer Megan Mylan.
Oscars host Jackman chosen for his ‘sense of occasion’Australian actor Hugh Jackman, host of the 81st Academy Awards, was chosen for the big night for his "style, elegance and a sense of occasion".
"Hugh Jackman is a consummate entertainer and an internationally renowned movie star," said the awards telecast producer Laurence Mark and executive producer Bill Condon in a joint statement.
"He also has style, elegance and a sense of occasion. Hugh is the ideal choice to host a celebration of the year’s movies – and to have fun doing it," the statement said.
This will be Jackman’s first time centre stage at the Oscar show, although he has previously been a presenter.