Bollywood-Inspired Drama & Swedish 'Twilight' Top Film Critics Awards + Kate Winslet vs. Anne Hathaway

Bollywood inspired Slumdog Millionaire Dev Patel Anil Kapoor. Critics Best Film?Slumdog Millionaire with Dev Patel and Anil Kapoor. Danny Boyle's Bollywood-inspired drama seems to be on its way to becoming this awards season's top Best Film pick among U.S.-based critics groups. Dev Patel stars as a former Mumbai slum dweller who may succeed in becoming a millionaire – see image with game show host Anil Kapoor – and getting the girl (Freida Pinto). But has he cheated? And will that change everything?

Bollywood-inspired drama on the road to becoming North American critics groups' top awards season pick?

Back in 2007, the indisputable Best Picture favorite was Joel and Ethan Coen's violent thriller No Country for Old Men. So far this awards season, things seem to slowly been going the way of Danny Boyle's Bollywood-inspired sleeper hit Slumdog Millionaire – even though U.S. (and the Toronto) film critics groups' Best Film choices have been notably varied.

These range from Kelly Reichardt's low-budget indie Wendy and Lucy and Gus Van Sant's gay-centered biopic Milk to Christopher Nolan's Batman movie The Dark Knight and Pixar's Andrew Stanton-directed animated blockbuster WALL-E – which, unsurprisingly, has been the overwhelming Best Animated Feature pick.

From 'WALL-E' to 'Wendy and Lucy'

Of the ten U.S.-based critics groups' listed in this post, the Chicago Film Critics Association selected WALL-E, while the St. Louis Film Critics Association opted for David Fincher's reverse-aging drama The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

The Las Vegas Film Critics Society, for their part, went for Ron Howard's Frost/Nixon, starring Michael Sheen as U.S.-based British television journalist David Frost and Frank Langella as disgraced former U.S. President Richard Nixon.

There's more: the Toronto Film Critics Association's choice was Wendy and Lucy; the Austin Film Critics Association picked The Dark Knight; and the Southeastern Film Critics Association and the San Francisco Film Critics Circle went for Milk, about the life and murder of openly gay San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Harvey Milk.

Bollywood-inspired mix of romance & social conscience wins

As for Slumdog Millionaire, the Bollywood-inspired thrill ride was the top choice of three critics groups listed below: the San Diego Film Critics Society, the Florida Film Critics Circle, and the Alliance of Women Film Journalists. Besides, the multilingual Mumbai-set drama was the St. Louis Film Critics' Best Foreign Language Film.

Slumdog Millionaire received more critical love by way of its director and its screenwriter. Danny Boyle topped no less than six of the 10 critics groups, while Simon Beaufoy's adaptation of Vikas Swarup's novel was the year's Best Adapted Screenplay/Best Screenplay according to four of them.

'Slumdog Millionaire' cast

The story of a Mumbai teenager who, after being accused of cheating on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, recalls his childhood in a local slum, the Bollywood-ish Slumdog Millionaire features the following:

Dev Patel. Freida Pinto. Anil Kapoor. Irrfan Khan.

Sanchita Choudhary. Ayush Mahesh Khedekar. Madhur Mittal. Feroze Khan (as Amitabh Bachchan).

Let the Right One In Lina Leandersson Kåre Hedebrant. US Critics Best Foreign Language FilmLet the Right One In with Lina Leandersson and Kåre Hedebrant. U.S. film critics groups' top Best Foreign Language Film, Let the Right One In chronicles the relationship that develops between a bullied 12-year-old (Kåre Hedebrant) and a school companion (Lina Leandersson) who turns out to be a vampire. Tomas Alfredson directed this unusual entry in the vampire genre, from a screenplay by John Ajvide Lindqvist, based on his own 2004 novel.

More critics' favorites: Swedish 'Twilight' cousin easily tops Best Foreign Language Film category

Besides the Bollywood-ish Slumdog Millionaire, among the other North American critics groups' favorites this 2008/2009 awards season are:

  • Tomas Alfredson's Swedish-made Let the Right One In / Låt den rätte komma in, the year's Best Foreign Language Film according to seven critics groups. This mix of psychological drama, horror, and vampire romance/friendship was written by John Ajvide Lindqvist, from his own novel. Kåre Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson star. Curiously, Let the Right One In came out in the U.S. in the same year that Catherine Hardwicke's Twilight, based on Stephenie Meyer's bestselling novel, became a surprise blockbuster. In the less well-received but much more commercially successful Hollywood film, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star as a teenager and a teenage-looking centenarian vampire in love.
  • Unlike last year, which had two obvious favorites – veteran Julie Christie for Away from Her and Marion Cotillard for La Vie en Rose – the 2008 Best Actress competition remains wide open. The lists found below feature the following Best Actress picks: Kate Winslet for Revolutionary Road or The Reader or both (four wins, including a tie), Anne Hathaway for Rachel Getting Married (three wins), Sally Hawkins for Happy-Go-Lucky (twice, including a tie), Melissa Leo for Frozen River, and Michelle Williams for Wendy and Lucy. Besides, Winslet was the Chicago Film Critics' Best Supporting Actress for The Reader.
  • Best Actors Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke – with five wins each, including a tie with one another – as, respectively, the title characters in Milk and in Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler. The Las Vegas Film Critics were the one exception, opting instead for Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon.
  • Best Supporting Actress Marisa Tomei, with four wins for her performance as a pole dancer in The Wrestler. Tomei was followed by Viola Davis, with two wins for John Patrick Shanley's Doubt.
  • Best Supporting Actor Heath Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Knight. Ledger, who died from an accidental prescription drug overdose last January, topped all ten critics groups and is already the clear Oscar favorite.
  • James Marsh's Best Documentary Man on Wire was the top choice nine times, including one tie with Tia Lessin and Carl Deal's Hurricane Katrina-related Trouble the Water. The sole exception was the San Francisco Film Critics Circle, which went for Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg. Man on Wire tells the story behind Philippe Petit's 1974 high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of New York City's World Trade Center.

See below the list of winners of the critics groups mentioned further up, in addition to this year's Top Ten Canadian feature and short films, and the AFI Awards' Top Ten film choices.

See also: “Academy Award Predictions: Meryl Streep & Clint Eastwood + Posthumous Best Supporting Actor Nomination” & “Predictions Part II: Cinderella Tale + Slain Gay Politician & Veteran Jan Troell Returns.”

Man on Wire Philippe Petit. Is that David Bowie? No that's critics Best DocumentaryMan on Wire with Philippe Petit. Is that David Bowie trying to get from one World Trade Center tower to the other? No, that's actually high-wire artist Philippe Petit, the subject of James Marsh's Man on Wire, U.S. film critics groups' top Best Documentary choice and the odds-on favorite for the 2009 Best Documentary Feature Academy Award.

AFI Awards

Bear in mind that widely praised 2008 releases such as the (mostly) Anglo-Indian Bollywood-like Slumdog Millionaire, the Swedish Let the Right One In, and the British Happy-Go-Lucky are not American films; therefore, they are ineligible for the AFI Awards in the Feature Films category.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
The Dark Knight.
Frost/Nixon.
Frozen River.
Gran Torino.
Iron Man.
Milk.
WALL-E.
Wendy and Lucy.
The Wrestler.

 

San Diego Film Critics winners

Best Film: Slumdog Millionaire.

Best Foreign Language Film: Let the Right One In.

Best Actress: Kate Winslet, The Reader.

Best Actor: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler.

Best Supporting Actress: Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler.

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight.

Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire.

Best Original Screenplay: Tom McCarthyThe Visitor.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire.

Best Cinematography: Anthony Dod MantleSlumdog Millionaire.

Best Animated Film: WALL-E.

Best Documentary: Man on Wire.

Best Production Design: Donald Graham Burt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Best Editing: Chris Dickens, Slumdog Millionaire.

Best Score: A.R. Rahman, Slumdog Millionaire.

Best Ensemble Performance: Frost/Nixon.

Body of Work for 2008: Richard Jenkins for The VisitorBurn After ReadingStep Brothers, and The Tale of Despereaux.

Kyle Counts Award: The film program at the San Diego Central Library “for its outstanding contribution to film education and its commitment to eclectic and excellent free public film programs.”

 

San Francisco Film Critics winners

Best Picture: Milk.

Best Foreign Language Film: Let the Right One In.

Best Director: Gus Van Sant, Milk.

Best Actress: Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky.

Best Actor (tie): Sean Penn, Milk, and Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler.

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight.

Best Supporting Actress: Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler.

Best Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black, Milk.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Peter Morgan, Frost/Nixon.

Best Cinematography: Wally Pfister, The Dark Knight.

Best Documentary: My Winnipeg.

Marlon Riggs Award “for courage & vision in the Bay Area film community”: Rob Nilsson, filmmaker, in recognition of his 9@NIGHT series of films.

 

Southeastern Film Critics awards

Best Picture: Milk.

Best Foreign Language Film: Let the Right One In.

Best Actress: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married.

Best Actor: Sean Penn, Milk.

Best Supporting Actress: Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight.

Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire.

Best Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black, Milk.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire.

Best Documentary: Man on Wire.

Best Animated Feature: WALL-E.

Wyatt Award for the film that best captures the “spirit of the South”: Shotgun Stories.

 

Toronto Film Critics winners

Best Picture: Wendy and Lucy.

Best Foreign Language Film: Let the Right One In.

Best Canadian Film: My Winnipeg, dir.: Guy Maddin.

Best Director: Jonathan DemmeRachel Getting Married.

Best Actress: Michelle Williams, Wendy and Lucy.

Best Actor: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler.

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight.

Best Supporting Actress: Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married.

Best Screenplay: Jenny Lumet, Rachel Getting Married.

Best Documentary Feature: Man on Wire.

Best First Feature: Ballast, dir.: Lance Hammer.

Best Animated Feature: WALL-E.

 

Austin Film Critics winners

Best Picture: The Dark Knight.

Best Foreign Language Film: Let the Right One In.

Best Director: Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight.

Best Actress: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married.

Best Actor: Sean Penn, Milk.

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight.

Best Supporting Actress: Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Best Original Screenplay: Synecdoche, New York, Charlie Kaufman.

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Dark Knight, Jonathan Nolan & Christopher Nolan.

Best Cinematography: The Fall, Colin Watkinson.

Best Animated Feature: WALL-E.

Best Documentary Film: Man on Wire.

Best Original Score: The Dark Knight, James Newton Howard & Hans Zimmer.

Breakthrough Artist Award: Danny McBride for Pineapple Express, The Foot Fist Way, Tropic Thunder.

First Film: Timecrimes / Los Cronocrímenes, Nacho Vigalondo.

Austin Film: Crawford.

 

St. Louis Film Critics winners

Best Film: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Best Foreign Language Film: Slumdog Millionaire.

Best Actress: Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road.

Best Actor: Sean Penn, Milk.

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight.

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, Doubt.

Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire.

Best Screenwriter: Peter Morgan, Frost/Nixon.

Best Cinematography: Mandy Walker, Australia.

Best Documentary: Man on Wire.

Best Animated Film: WALL-E.

Best Music (Soundtrack or Score, Original or Adapted): The Visitor.

Best Visual/Special Effects: The Dark Knight.

Most Original/Innovative Film: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Best Comedy: Burn After Reading.

 

Chicago Film Critics winners

Best Film: WALL-E.

Best Foreign Language Film: Let the Right One In.

Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire.

Best Actress: Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married.

Best Actor: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler.

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight.

Best Supporting Actress: Kate Winslet, The Reader.

Best Original Screenplay: WALL-E, Andrew Stanton & Jim Reardon.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Slumdog Millionaire, Simon Beaufoy.

Best Documentary: Man on Wire.

Best Animated Feature: WALL-E.

Best Cinematography: The Dark Knight, Wally Pfister.

Best Original Score: WALL-E, Thomas Newman.

Most Promising Performer: Dev Patel, Slumdog Millionaire.

Most Promising Filmmaker: Tomas Alfredson, Let the Right One In.

 

Las Vegas Film Critics winners

Best Picture: Frost/Nixon.

Best Foreign Language Film: Mongol.

Best Actress: Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road & The Reader.

Best Actor: Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon.

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight.

Best Supporting Actress: Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler.

Best Director: Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon.

Best Screenplay: Peter Morgan, Frost/Nixon.

Best Cinematography: Claudio Miranda, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Best Film Editing: Daniel P. Hanley & Mike Hill, Frost/Nixon.

Best Documentary: Man on Wire.

Best Animated Film: WALL-E.

Best Score: James Newton Howard, Defiance.

Best Song: “Another Way to Die,” Quantum of Solace.

Best Art Direction: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Best Costume Design: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Best Visual Effects: Iron Man.

Best Youth in Film: David Kross, The Reader.

Best Family Film: The Spiderwick Chronicles.

William Holden Lifetime Achievement Award: Frank Langella.

 

Florida Film Critics winners

Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire.

Best Foreign Language Film: Let The Right One In.

Best Actress: Melissa Leo, Frozen River.

Best Actor: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler.

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight.

Best Supporting Actress: Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler.

Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire.

Best Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy, Slumdog Millionaire.

Best Cinematography: Wally Pfister, The Dark Knight.

Best Documentary: Man on Wire.

Best Animated Feature: WALL-E.

Pauline Kael Breakout Award: Martin McDonagh, writer/director of In Bruges.

Golden Orange Award: Dick Morris of the Sarasota Film Society.

 

Women Film Journalists winners (partial list)

Best Film: Slumdog Millionaire.

Best Foreign Film: Tell No One.

Best Documentary (tie): Man on Wire + Trouble the Water.

Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire.

Best Actress (tie): Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky + Kate Winslet, The Reader & Revolutionary Road.

Best Actor: Sean Penn, Milk.

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight.

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, Doubt.

Best Ensemble Cast: Rachel Getting Married.

Best Original Screenplay: WALL-E, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter & Jim Reardon.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Frost/Nixon, Peter Morgan.

Best Editing: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Kirk Baxter & Angus Wall.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Catherine Deneuve.

AWFJ Award for Humanitarian Activism: The women in Pray the Devil Back to Hell.

 

Top Ten Canadian Feature Films

Established by the Toronto International Film Festival Group in 2001, the annual selection of the Top Ten Canadian features and shorts is made by two panels of filmmakers, festival programmers, journalists, academics, and industry professionals throughout Canada.

The Top Ten Canadian feature films of 2008 are listed below in alphabetical order. Curiously, some of them will be released only in 2009.

Adoration – Atom Egoyan.
Before Tomorrow – Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Madeline Piujuq Ivalu.
The Necessities of Life / Ce qu'il faut pour vivre – Benoît Pilon.
It's Not Me, I Swear! / Cest pas moi, je le jure! – Philippe Falardeau.
Fifty Dead Men Walking – Kari Skogland.
Heaven on Earth – Deepa Mehta.
Lost Song – Rodrigue Jean.
Mommy Is at the Hairdresser's / Maman est chez le coiffeur – Léa Pool.
The Memories of Angels / La Mémoire des anges – Luc Bourdon.
Pontypool – Bruce McDonald.

Top Ten Canadian Short Films

The Top Ten Canadian shorts are listed below in alphabetical order.

La Battue – Guy Édoin.
Block B – Chris Chong Chan Fui.
Drux Flux – Theodore Ushev.
Ghosts and Gravel Roads – Michael Rollo.
Green Door – Semi Chellas.
Next FloorDenis Villeneuve.
Nikamowin (Song) – Kevin Lee Burton.
Passages – Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre.
Princess Margaret Blvd – Kazik Radwanski.
Mon nom est Victor Gazon – Patrick Gazé.

 

San Diego Film Critics Society website.

San Francisco Film Critics Circle website.

Image of Anil Kapoor and Dev Patel in the Bollywood-inspired Slumdog Millionaire: Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Lina Leandersson and Kåre Hedebrant Let the Right One In image: EFTI / Filmpool Nord.

Philippe Petit Man on Wire image: Red Box Films.

“Bollywood-Inspired Drama & Swedish Twilight Top Film Critics Awards + Kate Winslet vs. Anne Hathaway” last updated in August 2018.

Bollywood-Inspired Drama & Swedish 'Twilight' Top Film Critics Awards + Kate Winslet vs. Anne Hathaway © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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