If you look at the year thus far, it sucks. It sucks as our personal lives are concerned. The market sucks. The job market sucks. Unemployment is the highest it's been in 17 years. No one trusts financial institutions. Etc, etc, etc. So if you use the temperature of the society to help select this year's best picture then Slumdog Millionaire makes perfect sense: an underdog who rises above everything to make a slew of money and save the love of his life.
I have been harsh on this film in the past. And I have been judged harshly because of it. And I'm not necessarily saying that it has somehow turned a corner for me, but I am saying that it's not wrong for people to love this film. Especially now.
First and foremost, a movie should provide escape. During times of great sorrow (the Great Depression, World Wars) people have turned to movies to make everything okay. Or at least feel okay. It is during these times that movies wield their greatest power. They make people feel normal during extraordinary times. Better yet, they make people feel empowered.
While I still believe and will continue to believe that the Oscars should be judged objectively, I will not dismiss the idea that our outside lives rule our decisions. And come Sunday, if it makes the country feel better that the Academy has awarded an underdog story, so be it. If Slumdog becomes our modern-day Seabiscuit, and mentalities are somehow changed because of it, you'll get no gripe from me.
Is it a lot to think that one movie can do all that? Yes. It it wrong to hope that a movie can do all that? No way. Right now, we need all the help we can get.