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15. "Slumdog Millionaire"
Director: Danny Boyle
Starring: Dev Patel, Anil Kapoor, Freida Pinto, Irrfan Khan
Why: After years of flirting with the big prize, Searchlight finally won a Best Picture Oscar for Danny Boyle's vibrant India-set odyssey "Slumdog Millionaire." But it was nearly a movie set for the DVD bin in the wake of the disintegration of Warner Independent Pictures. When the film was transferred to the more bottom line-focused parent Warner Bros., the studio wasn't hopeful for its commercial prospects and sought out a partnership. Searchlight stepped in and ran with it, obviously seeing something in the film (and with a healthy relationship with Boyle already established). It was quintessential Boyle, really, yet an unfortunate victim of instant revisionism in the hipper-than-thou set. It remains an amazing, rousing piece of work nonetheless.
- Kristopher Tapley