Slumdog makes it to top dog

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Finally, Slumdog Millionaire got its fairytale ending. The rags-to-riches love story, about an orphan from the slums of Mumbai who hits the big-time on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? completed a remarkable journey to global acclaim when it spearheaded a triumphant British invasion of last night's Academy Awards in Los Angeles.

The low-budget epic, which was thrust from obscurity to complete an extraordinary clean sweep of the film industry's award season, won eight of the ten prizes it was nominated for at Sunday's 81st Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director for its creator, Danny Boyle.

It marked a fitting tribute to the infectiously-vibrant film, which mixes its feel-good storyline with a powerful social message that has captured the spirit of the age across several continents, making international stars of several members of its previously unknown cast.

Slumdog's victory was applauded from the streets of Mumbai to the Hollywood hills, but nowhere was the wave of goodwill more keenly felt than in the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, where Boyle bounded to the stage before jumping up and down excitedly on the spot.

"My kids are too old to remember this now, but when they were much younger, I swore to them that if this miracle ever happened that I would receive it in the spirit of Tigger from Winnie-the-Pooh." He explained. "So that's what I'm going to do. I don't know what this all looks like on television, everybody, but here in the room, where I'm standing, it feels bloody wonderful."

The success felt like a family affair. Boyle turned up at the event with several of the young stars from the film, who had been flown over from Mumbai for the occasion. The youngsters were a huge hit with both the enormous crowds and the hundreds of stars of stage and screen who were in the audience.

"We were so worried about bringing them over," said Simon Beaufoy, who won the Oscar for Best Screenwriter. "It seemed incredibly inappropriate to bring them from where they lived to this lavish ceremony. But actually, they're not thinking about it. We're all worried but they're running around having a laugh."

Later, Boyle joked that he was glad he didn't have to put the chaotic menagerie of children to bed: while he was discussing the victory at a backstage press conference, they had apparently adjourned en masse to the Governor's Ball.

The story of Slumdog Mililonaire, which was made on a budget of just £7 million, but has now generated almost $100m at the US box office alone, is all the more remarkable since just six months ago it looked destined to miss out on a cinema release.

Its distributor, Warner, decided to shut down its independent film arm, seemingly condemning the film, made in 2006, to a straight-to-DVD release. However the film was eventually picked up by Fox Searchlight, and quickly became the subject of heated buzz on the film festival circuit.

"When we started out, we had no stars, we had no power or muscle, we didn't have enough money really to do what we wanted to do," said producer Christian Colson, accepting the Best Picture Award. "But what we had was a script that inspired mad love in everyone who read it. ... Most of all, we had passion and we had belief and our film shows that if you have those two things, truly anything is possible."

It was also a triumph for India, whose A. R. Rahman won two Oscars, for Best Original Song and Best Original Score. In the slums of Mumbai, where much of Slunmdog was set, its victory was watched by jubliant crowds clustered around TV sets in scenes reminiscent of the film's colourful ending.

Elsewhere at the event, which began in the early hours of this morning, London time, Kate Winslet justified strong favouritism when she was named Best Actress for her role as the Nazi war criminal Hannah Schmitz in the Holocaust drama The Reader.

"I'd be lying if I said I haven't made a version of this speech before, when I was eight years old and staring into bathroom mirror," joked Winslet, who had previously been unsuccessfully nominated for five Oscars.

"This [pointing to her microphone] would have been a shampoo bottle. Well, it's not shampoo bottle now! I feel very fortunate to have made it all way there to here."

The speech was touchingly well constructed compared to Winslet's tearful previous appearances on the winner's podium this awards season. Clutching her trophy, the 33-year-old actress was asked backstage what she thought of homegrown criticism of her previous performances.

"I really don't care, quite honestly, and I just feel sad if it's the case my own country can't feel joyful for the successes of their own kind," she replied. "I just seems sad to me."

The night's other big winner was Milk, the story of Harvey Milk, America's first openly gay elected politician. It won best screenplay for Lance Dustin Black, and Best Actor for Sean Penn, who delivered a tub-thumping speech in which he joyfully described the Academy as "commie, homo-loving sons of guns" before criticising California's ban on gay marriage.

Noting that an anti-gay demonstration had been orgainsed by religious protesters outside the Kodak Theatre before the event, Penn dedicated his award to: "those who saw the signs of hatred as our cars drove in tonight".

"It's a good time for those who voted for the ban on gay marriage to look into their minds and anticipate their great shame in eyes of their grandchildren. We've got to have equal rights for everyone."

Heath Ledger, who died over a year ago, justified heavy odds-on favouritism to win the prize for Best Supporting Actor with The Dark Knight. In an emotional scene, his mother, father and sister appeared onstage to accept the award on behalf of his daughter, Matilda.

"This award tonight would have humbly validated Heath's quiet determination to be accepted by you all here, his peers, within an industry he loved," said his father, Kim.

The documentary makers James Marsh and Simon Chinn completed a dream night for Britain, when they won Best Documentary Feature award for Man on a Wire, the story of Philippe Petit, a tightrope walker who illegally crossed between the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York in 1974.

The victory meant that the UK won ten of the 24 awards handed out. In one of the "moments" of the evening, Petit performed a magic trick on the winner's podium, making a coin disappear before balancing Marsh and Chinn's trophy on his forehead.

It was a typically lively highlight to a vibrant and seemingly successful ceremony that had been given a dramatic facelift in a bid to reverse years of declining audiences.

The re-vamped occasion saw host Hugh Jackman perform a series of song-and-dance routines. He repeatedly made light of some of the criticisms of the event, which once again overlooked major studio films in favour of smaller independent titles. Pictures like Batman and Benjamin Button were restricted to victory in the technical categories.

Awards were presented by teams of previous winners, and (although several major stars pulled out) appeared to excite the audience. In a bid to capture TV viewers early on, one of the major gongs, Best Supporting Actress – won by Penelope Cruz for Vicki Christina Barcelona – was handed out at the start of the evening.

Arts and Entertainment
Don’t send in the clowns: masks and make-up conceal true facial expressions, thwarting our instinct to read people’s minds through their faces, as seen in ‘It’
Arts and Entertainment
Go figure: Matt Parker, wearing the binary code scarf knitted by his mother
comedy Mathematician is using comedy nights to teach and preach sums
Arts and Entertainment
Ryan Gosling in 'Drive'
filmReview: Ryan Gosling is still there, but it's a very different film
Arts and Entertainment
Urban explorer: Rose Rouse has documented her walks around Harlesden, and the people that she’s encountered along the way
books Rouse's new book discusses her four-year tour of Harlesden
Arts and Entertainment
Shock of the news: Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Nightcrawler’
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Franco Zeffirelli's production of 'Aida' at Milan's famed La Scala opera house
operaLegendary opera director in battle with theatre over sale of one of his 'greatest' productions
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Juergen Wolf won the Young Masters Art Prize 2014 with his mixed media painting on wood, 'Untitled'
Arts and Entertainment
Iron Man and Captain America in a scene from
filmThe upcoming 'Black Panther' film will feature a solo black male lead, while a female superhero will take centre stage in 'Captain Marvel'
Arts and Entertainment
The Imperial War Museum, pictured, has campaigned to display copyrighted works during the First World War centenary
Arts and Entertainment
American Horror Story veteran Sarah Paulson plays conjoined twins Dot and Bette Tattler
tvReview: Yes, it’s depraved for the most part but strangely enough it has heart to it
Arts and Entertainment
The mind behind Game of Thrones George R. R. Martin

Will explain back story to fictional kingdom Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Dorothy in Return to Oz

film Unintentionally terrifying children's movies to get you howling (in fear, tears or laughter)
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Robert James-Collier as under-butler Thomas

TVLady Edith and Thomas show sad signs of the time
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
The Dad's Army cast hit the big screen

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning?
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'

Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
music review
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
    The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

    Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

    Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
    Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

    What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

    Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
    A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

    Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

    Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
    Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

    'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

    A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

    Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

    The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
    Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

    Paul Scholes column

    Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
    Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

    Frank Warren column

    Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
    Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

    Adrian Heath's American dream...

    Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
    Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

    A Syrian general speaks

    A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
    How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

    Turn your mobile phone into easy money

    There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes