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Could Skins fans see resident horndog Anwar Kharral walk up to the podium when the Academy Awards air next February? It could happen, folks: Danny Boyle‘s Mumbai-set saga Slumdog Millionaire has become the year’s breakout indie hit, and its star, Skins actor Dev Patel, has reaped much of the film’s acclaim. How funny is it that Slumdog is only the 18-year-old Patel’s second acting gig, Skins being the first? Critics and prognosticators alike are singing Patel’s praises and say his chances for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination are strong.

Entertainment Weekly‘s Dave Karger writes, “The feature-film rookie delivers a very matter-of-fact, non-showy performance, but a Slumdog sweep could end up including him.”

Cinemablend says, “It’s pretty sneaky for Fox Searchlight is putting him in the supporting category, since he’s the main character of the movie and gets the most screentime of any actor. But it’s probably a smart choice – this is a less crowded field than Best Actor, and his movie seems poised to break out big. Patel is charming and disarmingly youthful in person, which will serve him well as he makes the publicity rounds this winter. His chances?: Pretty solid.”

The Los Angeles Times‘ awards site The Envelope lists Patel as one of the ten front-runners for a supporting actor nod, alongside the late Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Doubt), Robert Downey, Jr. (Tropic Thunder), and Milk boys Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch, and James Franco. The LA Times’ Scott Feinberg says: “I suspect [Slumdog] is going to catch on like Little Miss Sunshine. If and when it does, Patel has to hope that the attendant publicity enables him to overcome his no-name status and pick up a supporting nod, just as it did for young Abigail Breslin.”

Kristopher Tapley adds, “Some were up-in-arms at the notion of Fox Searchlight campaigning Dev Patel as a supporting actor here, but the fact remains, his character is portrayed by three actors across the landscape of Danny Boyle’s vision. And he sticks the landing.”

Here’s the Slumdog Millionaire trailer for those who haven’t seen it:

In other news:

  • Paterson Joseph tells BBC NEWS that “any actor would love the challenge” of playing Doctor Who: “His [the Doctor’s] parameters are so vast. I don’t see why he can’t have more regenerations than the 13 that those who know think a Time Lord can have,” says Joseph, responding to questions that he could be the first black Doctor.

  • At the BBC Archive site, you can view documents from the early 1960s about the conception of Doctor Who. These papers reveal the BBC’s initial misgivings about putting the sci-fi series on the air. BBC archivist Jim Sangster tells BBC NEWS: “Even having done something as massive as Quatermass, they didn’t have confidence in sci-fi. It was seen as niche and American. After Star Wars, we have a different view of course, and we see it as hugely entertaining and successful. But they were nervous – it wasn’t a Western or a period drama. It was something really obscure and they had to do research into it.”
  • Eddie Izzard intends to make a feature film version of the cancelled TV series, The Riches, and he looks to our President-Elect for inspiration: “We’ve had the meeting and the writers are going to go off and slam out a story. We’re going to raise money like Barack Obama through the internet, and we’re going to shoot it guerilla-style.” (BBC)
  • Guy Ritchie decided not to rob his wife Madonna ‘s coffers in their divorce. A source tells the London Times: “It will all be over by the end of the month. Ritchie has done exactly what Billie Piper did when she divorced Chris Evans. She walked away without any of his money, much to her credit. He has done the same.”
  • Madonna‘s top 10 fashion disasters.(Mirror)
  • Winona Ryder‘s “illness” on that British Airways flight to London has been attributed to an overdose of tranquilizers, reports say. “It is thought the 37-year-old mistakenly took too many Xanax pills – used to treat anxiety – to combat her fear of flying.” She has been released from the hospital.(Telegraph)
  • Is the new Take That song, “How Did It Come To This?” – which talks about “a girl in Camden town” – about Amy Winehouse? (The Sun)
  • Amy Winehouse has thrown her support behind an X Factor contestant. (The Sun)
  • BBC’s Top of the Pops Christmas special was off – now it’s back on.(The Sun)
  • Sting and Elvis Costello are interviewed together by The Daily Telegraph‘s Neil McCormick about the opera they are doing.
  • Actor Pete Postlethwaite responds to the scathing reviews of his stage production of King Lear: the critics were right.(BBC)
  • While Aussie hunk Hugh Jackman is this year’s Sexiest Man Alive, Brits dominate the list of People’s runners-up: Jackman barely beat out Daniel Craig, and as The Mirror notes, “Further down the ranks of the poll are Simon Cowell, Lewis Hamilton, David Beckham, as well as actors Gerard Butler and Christian Bale.They’re joined by fellow fine examples of British brawn singer Seal, Twilight star Robert Pattinson, Jonny Lee Miller, TV adventurer Bear Grylls, Gordon Ramsay, and Prince Harry.”
  • Where no Pussycat Doll has gone before: Racer Lewis Hamilton plans to take his girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger into outer space via Richard Branson‘s Virgin Galactic airline. “With tickets costing £125,000 each, Lewis will be splashing out £625,000 on tickets for himself, Nicole, his father Anthony,stepmother Linda, and half-brother Nicholas.”(Evening Standard)
  • Liam Gallagher looks happy on a night out, Sophie Anderton and tennis sensation Andy Murray considerably less so.
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By Kevin Wicks
Kevin Wicks is the founding editor of Anglophenia.