Slumdog Millionaire is an uplifting drama about an orphan from the Mumbai slums who appears on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. It picked up the Golden Globe for Best Picture, Drama, and many other honors. In Slumdog Millionaire Jamal is the winner of a popular TV quiz show, only to be accused of cheating. Jamal (played by Dev Patel) recounts his story, explaining how he was able to answer each and every question. Life, it seems, teaches more than textbooks.
At the 66th Golden Globe Awards, held January 11, 2009, Danny Boyle's film won four awards (Best Drama, Best Director, Screenplay, and Score). It went on to win eight Academy Awards and the hit song “Jai Ho” became the infectious motif of the year. The other dramas nominated at the Globes were Frost/ Nixon, The Reader, Revolutionary Road (for which Kate Winslet won as Best Actress) and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Mickey Rourke won for Best Actor Drama for The Wrestler. Heath Ledger won that year as Best Supporting Actor for The Dark Knight: sadly, the award was given posthumously (he died in New York on January 22, 2008): Dark Knight's director Chris Nolan accepted the award on Ledger's behalf.
For Slumdog's director Danny Boyle, best known for his cult 1996 film Trainspotting as well as The Beach and 28 Days Later (and later the acclaimed 127 Hours), this was his first Golden Globe. As of today, Slumdog and Schindler's List (1993) are the only films to win Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay both at the Golden Globes and the Oscars. Slumdog was also the last movie to win the Golden Globe and Oscar for Best Picture without receiving a single acting nomination.
Boyle originally wanted Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan – who had hosted the final season of the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire – to play the game show host, but the actor was not available. The actor who plays the host in the film, Anil Kapoor, was a guest on the show and won 5,000,000 Rupees. The film was shot entirely in Mumbai, India.
The international press embraced the movie without any hesitation: American critic Joe Morgenstern refers to Slumdog Millionaire as "the film world's first globalized masterpiece” while Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post wrote that "this modern-day 'rags-to-rajah' fable... plays like Charles Dickens for the 21st century.” In India, however, Slumdog Millionaire was not as praised. Some film critics contested Jamal's use of British English as anachronistic and “anti-Indian”, while author Salman Rushdie argued that the story itself was "a patently ridiculous conceit.” No matter, audiences worldwide fell in love with the film, giving total priority to emotions over political sociology.