Which Oscar favourite almost went straight-to-DVD?

source: theplaylist.blogspot.com

The nominations for the 81st Academy Awards are only around the corner, with several films poised to grab a position in the Best Picture category.

While researching some of the major contenders, I was shocked to discover that one was originally headed straight-to-DVD!

So which film was it?

OK, so The Dark Knight and WALL-E are out. They were always going to head to cinema screens, and you would be a fool to think otherwise.

Was it David Fincher‘s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – a $150 million epic starring Brad Pitt? That’s pretty unlikely too.

Could it have been Woody Allen‘s Vicky Cristina Barcelona? Or the film adaptation of the play Doubt? Or Darren Aronofsky‘s The Wrestler?

Surely it wasn’t the film that won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Score at this year’s Golden Globes ceremony?

Well … it was.

Slumdog Millionaire, one of the best films of the year, was originally headed straight-to-DVD. So how did this all happen?

The film originally belonged to Warner Independent Pictures, which was shut down by its parent company Warner Bros just as filming on Slumdog wrapped.

Warner Bros attempted to sell off WIP’s remaining pictures, which included Rock N Rolla, Pride and Glory, and Danny Boyle‘s Slumdog Millionaire.

After failing to find suitable distributors, Warner Bros decided to put out Rock N Rolla and Pride and Glory themselves. However, Slumdog Millionaire was not so lucky. It was headed straight to video stores. I guess they didn’t see the potential. That is baffling.

Thankfully, Fox Searchlight came to the rescue and purchased the distribution rights for Slumdog Millionaire. Searchlight brought the film to Telluride and the Toronto Internation Film Festival where it was met with rapturous adulation.

The critics swooned, the audiences followed. It is now the safest bet for Best Picture come February.

So what have we learnt? Well, maybe some of those other straight-to-DVD films are worth checking out? Maybe there are some other hidden gems that could’ve been Oscar contenders if their studio’s had some foresight.

Does this mean Steven Seagal‘s upcoming video release Against the Dark (in which he plays a character called Commander Tao) could have been a legitimate Oscar contender? That’s exactly what I’m saying.

Go see Slumdog Millionaire. Read my review here.

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