When indie drama "Slumdog Millionaire" took home eight golden statuettes at Sunday night's Academy Awards, the movie's young castmembers completed a journey as unlikely as the one depicted in the film, in which a boy named Jamal rockets from destitute orphan-hood to game-show riches. The group of actors, including children from the actual Indian slums depicted in the film, went from total obscurity to worldwide attention and Oscar glory — not that any of them has gotten used to the fame just yet.
When MTV News caught up with the cast on the red carpet, the actors were still starry-eyed in the face of what is surely the most surreal experience of the lives.
"I haven't met Brad," said star Dev Patel, who plays Jamal, when asked if he's been hobnobbing with the Hollywood elite. "I met Angelina briefly, and I didn't do much talking. I was just like [he falls into shocked silence]." What did she have to say to the tongue-tied 18-year-old? "I don't know," Patel confessed. "It's all a blur."
Patel should practice playing it cool in front of A-listers, because it seems like he has a long Hollywood career ahead of him. First up is a starring role in M. Night Shyamalan's fantastical martial-arts flick "The Last Airbender." The director cast the British-born actor after seeing him in the "Slumdog" role.
During Oscar weekend, Patel wasn't the only "Slumdog" star acting less than smooth in front of celebrities. "There was a party last night, and I spilled wine all over Matthew Perry!" said Madhur Mittal, who plays Jamal's brother, the gangster Salim. "He was cool about it, because I'm his biggest fan."
"Slumdog" became just the 11th film in Oscar history to be nominated for a Best Picture award and not receive a single nomination in any actor category. The entire group did, however, win the Screen Actors Guild award for outstanding performance by a cast.
Many of the youngest actors were plucked by director Danny Boyle directly from the Mumbai slums and had never boarded a plane before zipping across the globe and landing outside the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. As they shuffled up to MTV Movies Editor Josh Horowitz, the kids were ecstatic.
"It's unbelievable!" said Tanay Chheda, who plays Jamal when he's an adolescent. "It's still not sunk in. We're on the red carpet. It's our first awards ceremony, and it's the Oscars."
"All we can see is lights flashing!" one of his co-stars added.
The giggling youngsters were so excited that at one point, they almost toppled off the red carpet and into the nearby shrubbery. When they were asked which star they were hoping to see, the actors popped off with names as if they were just kids watching the celebrity craziness at home.
"Brad Pitt or Tom Hanks!"
"Tom Cruise!" Ever met him? "I've seen him only in movies." And what would you say to Tom if you met him? "Hi, I'm your biggest fan!"
Check out everything we've got on "Slumdog Millionaire."
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