From Skins to Slums: Dev Patel Rules the Oscars. Plus: Winslet Slams Britain

A year ago, he was known to a small group of fans as horny Muslim teenager Anwar on Skins. Fast-forward to 2009, and Dev Patel is the face of the biggest film on the planet. Slumdog Millionaire took home eight Oscars last night, including Best Picture.

It has been one of Oscar season’s pleasures to view Slumdog‘s success through the eyes of Dev Patel. He seemed to regard all of the hullabaloo surrounding the film with an infectious, wide-eyed sense of joy, innocence, and wonder. And he’s handled his newfound notoriety with surprising poise. He makes it very easy to root for him, and what more do you want from a star?


Dev Patel and Freida Pinto interviewed by Ryan Seacrest


The cast of Slumdog Millionaire on the red carpet

The Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw praises Slumdog‘s win: “At a time when consumers of commercial cinema are offered romcoms that look like all the other romcoms, thrillers that look like all the other thrillers, classy period dramas that look like all the other classy period dramas, Slumdog Millionaire really did deliver the shock of the new.”

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I’ll be damned if she didn’t want it. Bad. But Kate Winslet finally, after five unsuccessful tries, took home the old Golden Boy last night, receiving a standing ovation from her peers. Winslet didn’t gush nor did she whisper “Gather” to herself, but she was easily the most emotional winner of the night.

Apparently, this Oscar season, Winslet made the criminal mistake of wanting to win and showing it. Sure, everyone wants an Oscar – studios pay millions just to promote their films to the Academy – but Winslet seemed unusually determined in her quest for victory. At least she was honest about it, which unfortunately, made her a target of the British press. In the press room after her win, Kate took her home nation to task for not supporting her:

I really don’t care. I really don’t care. And, quite honestly, it makes me very sad that my own country can’t be pleased for the successes of their own kind in the way that America really seems to be able to be. So I really don’t care.

Winslet’s candor got her rave reviews from the press. The Hollywood Reporter‘s Steven Zeitchik says, “There’s something refreshing about her whole [press room] performance; it’s schmaltzy, sure but with none of the awards-season poses we’re used to seeing in this kind of venue.”

Here’s video of Winslet backstage after winning her Oscar:

The Reader was dreadful, and this was totally an Al Pacino Scent of a Woman make-up Oscar, but wasn’t she gorgeous?

In other news:

  • Get ready for a recession-fueled “summer of rage” in the UK.(Guardian)
  • Madonna appears to have sorted out her jowls. OK, I’ll admit it: she looks good. Although, The Daily Mail suggests there is some Benjamin Button-esque CGI trickery going on here, which I wouldn’t put past her.
  • Plastics make it possible: Victoria Beckham and Jordan at Elton John‘s Oscar party.(The Sun)
  • Newlywed Jade Goody is preparing for her death. “Find another when I’m gone,” she told new husband Jack Tweed. The Sun has photos from the couple’s weekend nuptials.
  • Jade intends to keep her maiden name even after death: “I still want everyone to remember me as Jade Goody. That’s who I am. I know it’s morbid, but I’ve told everyone that’s what I want on my headstone.”(The Sun)
  • Slumdog Millionaire‘s Freida Pinto dares to bare her legs.(The Sun)
  • Former Father Ted star Ardal O’Hanlon gets naked for Skins.(The Sun)
  • Will Guy Ritchie‘s new Sherlock Holmes film (starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law) feature some good old-fashioned buggery between Sherlock and his dear Watson? “The fictional him-vestigator is seen SHARING A BED with his dear, dear, Dr Watson and also enjoying some man-to-man wrestling with his close chum.”(News of the World)
  • Little Britain‘s David Walliams admits “self-destructive thoughts,” and he doesn’t seem to have sorted out that whole sexual orientation thing. “If I fell in love with a man, I wouldn’t say that could never happen. Because I am effeminate, I think ‘Am I gay?’. But I so love being with women, and so love women’s bodies I think, ‘well, no, I can’t be’. But sometimes I think it would be simpler if I was [gay] because everyone thinks I am, because I’m quite camp. But no, I don’t think I am.”(Daily Mail)
  • Ladies Love Big James: Gavin & Stacey star James Corden says his weight has never gotten in the way of lovin’: “My weight was never a concern for me. I wasn’t teased about it and it didn’t harm my chances with the opposite sex.”(The Sun)
  • The lovely (and quite nice) Emily Blunt is profiled in The Times.
  • A “secret Brit actor” will star in a U.S. hospital drama. Isn’t everyone on U.S. TV British these days?(The Sun)
  • The Stage‘s April Lydon says Britain should try harder to keep American actors in the country: “Unless your American accent is utterly superb (again, a momentary pause to bow down to Hugh Laurie), then American actors should be employed to take on American roles. Unfortunately, when those roles are in this country, it seems that Britain makes this very difficult. Just take a look at the information on British visas, and then compare this with the more straight-forward information on gaining an American visa. Apparently this country intends to train American citizens at its drama schools, but then make it as difficult as possible for them to understand how to go about staying in the country.”
  • The UK’s Law & Order – featuring Ben Daniels, Freema Agyeman, and Jamie Bamber – premieres tonight in Britain. The BBC and The Daily Telegraph have interviews with the leads, and YouTube has clips here and here.
  • A gay online TV and radio channel called “Fruit TV” (!) will launch in the UK later this year.(The Stage)
  • What has Ricky Gervais learned from doing The Office? He tells The Times: “I think The Office taught me that the struggle is the best bit. I couldn’t have been prouder of it, even if it had never won an award. I’ve never had the feeling of achievement like writing The Office. That was because it was a late chance. I liked learning the struggle. I was always good at something the first time and there wasn’t a second. I’m as good at playing the guitar now as when I learnt it, same with golf. And I’ve really tried to get good at writing stand-up. The pleasure is the journey, looking back and seeing how hard it was.”
  • Bruce Springsteen is headlining Glastonbury. I’m sure Noel Gallagher would approve.(NME)
  • Morrissey gives a suitably tart interview with People Magazine. Yes, that People magazine. Choice quote: when asked what his favorite Smiths and solo songs are, he responds, “‘That’s How People Grow Up’ and ‘Girlfriend in a Coma.’ I love most of them. They’re like lice-ridden WWII evacuee children to me: all they ask is to be loved.”
  • Melanie Chisolm a.k.a. Sporty Spice has given birth to a daughter, Scarlet Starr.(Daily Mail)
  • Lily Allen‘s “The Fear” is No. 1 in the UK for a third straight week.

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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