When Slumdog Millionaire ended and the lights came up in the theater, I turned to my wife and asked her what she thought. She said "yeah." Allow me to clarify. It wasn't a "YEAH" like "SHIT YEAH." It was like "yeah?" Now, she will deny this as she has done so since we saw it, but it was there and I heard every bit of it. And what's more, I agreed. She might as well had said "meh." It's about the same thing. And that's Slumdog Millionaire in a nutshell and I would say most of this year's Oscar picks. Everything should have worked, but it didn't.
Slumdog has taken the top prize at the Golden Globes and more recently at the SAG Awards. In conjunction, news channels have been running stories about the slums of Mumbai as if we never knew there were slums there before. There is a feel good factor working here and it has nothing to do with great filmmaking.
A great picture is the result of everything working together. Everything. And while Slumdog provides us with a few positives, the most obvious being the story structure, it's lacking in several categories. But right now that doesn't seem to matter. What seems to matter is that Slumdog Millionaire is making the world a better place by exposing its ugly parts. We've seen this happen before with Crash. And the hangover from that has yet to go away, all these years later.
Feeling good about a movie is not a bad thing. But it can't be the only thing. Everyone is so caught up in the story on and off the screen that they're not realizing this film is seriously lacking in the best picture department.
I guess we will see come Oscar night.