Slumdog Millionaire continues Oscar momentum with Scripter Win

MUMBAI: The writers of Slumdog Millionaire took top honors at the USC Libraries Scripter Award ceremony. Based on Vikas Swarup’s bestseller Q&A, the film edged fellow Oscar contenders The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Iron Man, The Reader, and Revolutionary Road.

The gala, sponsored by the Friends of the USC Libraries, drew a crowd of more than 300 to the University of Southern California’s Doheny Library on 30 January. Award-winning actress and children’s author Jamie Lee Curtis served as emcee for the evening, as the literary, film, and academic communities gathered to honor the winning writers.

"So much of the writing in this year’s Scripter-finalist books and films is in one way or another, about words. The characters of Q & A [and] Slumdog Millionaire fall under the sway of stories, of literature and films. The high romance embodied by movie stars and the classic creed of The Three Musketeers—"all for one and one for all," said Curtis.

Simon Beaufoy, who accepted the award from Curtis, selection committee chairman Naomi Foner, and Friends of the USC Libraries president Glenn Sonnenberg said, "There’s nothing like this in Britain to honor the writers. This event is wonderful because it takes the contributions of screenwriters seriously."

Of the experience of adapting Swarup’s novel, he said, "It changed the way I wrote, and it changed my life by bringing me back to India… a country I’d last visited when I was 18."

Directed by Danny Boyle, Slumdog tells the story of a chai wallah from the Dharavi slums of Mumbai who captivates all of India with his improbable string of correct answers – all based on his life experiences – on the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Slumdog has so far garnered four Golden Globe Awards, 10 Oscar nominations, and 11 BAFTA nominations.