Slumdog Millionaire has been in news for long, primarily because of its wins in eight categories at the Oscars. Yes, it’s been the toast of tinsel town and considering the fact that this was the very film that had no one to give it a theatrical release makes its victory even more interesting. However, there is more to an Oscar win than meets the eye.

The recession seems to have shaken everyone and show business seems to be affected too. Big movie studios are facing the heat and are closing down. Consider this; Warner Independent Pictures was supposed to be the original distributor of Slumdog Millionaire, but Warner Bros. closed down this division along with another of its specialty film divisions – Picture house. It was not the only one closing down divisions. Paramount Studios closed down their Paramount Vantage unit. Add to this “Think film”, a leading distributor of non-fiction films – which packed its bag-n-baggage and disappeared totally. With so much of upheaval all around, Slumdog Millionaire was practically left with nowhere to go. Then a tiny cog from Rupert Murdoch’s conglomerate News Corp, named Fox Searchlight, picked up the film, marketed it well and “Slumdog”, which was faced with the prospect of going for a DVD release rather than a big screen, landed up marking thirteen times the amount its makers had invested in the film. Slumdog Millionaire reached places it never expected to go, a sentiment very aptly described by its screenplay writer Simon Beaufoy during his Oscar acceptance speech. He said he never expected to be in certain places – “The moon, the south pole, the Miss World podium and here – at the Oscars.”

Now that’s not the “happy ending” of a story. In fact, it’s the beginning. Yes, traditionally, Oscars have been the places for final coronation of a film after its successful victory run at the box-office, and after it has won the praise and accolades of audiences and critics alike. Think of movies like Titanic and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, et al. They created box-office records before the “Golden Lady” came their way. Today, the rules of the game have changed. The Oscars are now a part of the marketing plan for most production houses. Production houses are making movies especially for the Oscars. They are purposely timing the release around the Oscars, because its not so much about the wining; even a nomination at the Oscars is enough to increase the sales of the movie.

Oscars Not very different from Oprah

It’s said that anything Oprah touches turns to gold – look at what she did to Barack Obama! In places where he had no hold; a word from Oprah and people came in the droves to support Obama. Many say the Oscars are like “Oprah’s Book Club”. Any book featured on it becomes a best seller. Similarly, any movie which gets nominated or wins at the Oscars gets a lot of financial success after the accolades that the “award season” bestows on them. Look at Slumdog Millionaire. It didn’t generate much interest in India, yet, after its Oscar victory, there was an increased demand from multiplexes. In US, it became the top grosser after the Oscars. In Argentina, Australia, Mexico, Chile; everywhere its box-office revenues increased tremendously and Fox Searchlight sure must have seen itself smiling right till the bank!     Read More....

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