There could be frequent screams and squeals of joy at a Mississauga, Ont., home this Sunday as the Academy Awards air live from Los Angeles.
Freida Pinto, who made her film debut in the multiple Oscar contender “Slumdog Millionaire,” has relatives there who say they’ll be watching the Hollywood film bash on TV together, with “eyes wide open, waiting for Freida” to appear.
Although Pinto is not up for an award herself, “Slumdog Millionaire” has 10 nominations, including best picture, best director, cinematography, original score and adapted screenplay.
“I just hope and pray that the movie takes all the awards,” Janet D’Souza, one of Pinto’s aunts who live in the city west of Toronto, said in a recent interview.
“In whatever category it was nominated, we hope it wins.”
D’Souza and Lydia Monteiro are sisters of Pinto’s mother, Sylvia, who lives in Mumbai where the 24-year-old model-turned-actress was raised and still resides.
The two aunts say they’ve enjoyed watching from the sidelines as “Slumdog” wins over hearts worldwide with its compelling tale of a poor Mumbai teen (Dev Patel) who appears on a game show to win over his soulmate (Pinto).
“We’re very proud of Freida herself, but we let her have the limelight,” said D’Souza.
“For us here there has been no change. . . . Freida deserves this limelight and all of the whirlwind that is associated with the movie. She has worked very hard for it, so to us she is just our niece. Nothing different.”
“Slumdog Millionaire” has been the low-budget underdog of awards season, dominating at the Golden Globes and the British version of the Oscars (BAFTAs), where it won best picture. For the same award at the Oscars it’s up against “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” which has a leading 13 nominations, as well as “Frost/Nixon,” “Milk” and “The Reader.”
D’Souza and Monteiro saw “Slumdog” twice when it screened last September at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it won the People’s Choice Award and first gained its global buzz. They also got to meet the director, Danny Boyle.
“I actually enjoyed it better the second time,” said D’Souza.
“I think the first time I was just waiting to see Freida so I wasn’t really paying attention to the movie itself. But the second time is when I really enjoyed it and saw the message of the movie.”
Some critics in India have said recently that “Slumdog Millionaire” is not an accurate depiction of Mumbai, but Pinto’s aunts disagree.
“We lived in India through most of our lives so we know what goes on there,” said D’Souza.
“It’s an accurate … portrayal of one side of Mumbai,” added Monteiro.