In honor of the Academy Awards, here’s a song from the odds-on favorite to win Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire.

I’ve had somewhat mixed feelings about the movie itself. I enjoyed it immensely while I was watching it (how could you not?). Later I read a bunch of grumpy backlash — it’s manipulative; it romanticizes poverty; the female character is inert; etc. — and found myself revising my original assessment. And later still, I said to myself, you know what? Screw you grumpy backlashers. It was a fairy tale, an effort to marry the exuberance of Bollywood with independent American filmmaking; social realism wasn’t the point. It was a celebration of life and transcendence amidst suffering, and I’m by-god going to trust my gut and love it.

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(Yes, I’m extremely neurotic.)

Slumdog MillionaireOne thing was never in doubt, though: the music is awesome. It is absolutely an essential character in the movie, as much a polyglot, life-affirming mess as the film itself. It’s easily one of the best soundtracks of the last five years, and one of my favorite albums of the year. Incidentally, the producer, A.R. Rahman, is an enormous international celebrity — but no one in America knows his name. Hopefully this album will change that.

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While we’re at it, we might as well use this thread for Oscar thoughts and predictions. Who are you rooting for/against? What are your predictions? Did you see any of the movies this year?