It's a rags-to-riches story, one that snatches victory from the jaws of defeat and teeters from the brink of tragedy to barrel back toward triumph. While that's an accurate description of the story told in the movie "Slumdog Millionaire," it is also the behind-the-scenes story of the film itself. When the film's initial distributor, Warner Independent Pictures, was shut down by corporate parent Warner Bros. last spring, the fate of the film became uncertain, with the possibility of it even going straight to video. Directed by an Englishman, set in Mumbai and partly in a foreign language with no American stars, the film is at first glance a tough sell. But Fox Searchlight stepped in and has carefully directed the film to widespread acclaim and growing awards heat. The success it has been enjoying seems to be for the best of reasons -- people are seeing it and liking it. Here's a partial timeline of the unusual course the film has taken in making its way to potential Oscar gold.
Nov. 5, 2007: Filming begins in Mumbai.
May 8, 2008: It is reported that Warner Bros. is shutting down its specialized unit Warner Independent Pictures. Among those films mentioned as being left without a home is "Slumdog Millionaire," for which WIP had paid $5 million to distribute.
Aug. 14, 2008: In the Los Angeles Times, Patrick Goldstein reports that "Slumdog" is for sale. "We're not going to give it away," says Warner chief Alan Horn. He added, "I like the movie. I just don't know how big the audience is for it."
Aug. 20, 2008: Variety reports that Fox Searchlight will partner with Warners on the release of the film, sharing costs and revenue as well as taking a distribution fee.
Aug. 30, 2008: "Slumdog Millionaire" has its first public screening at the Telluride Film Festival. John Horn of the Los Angeles Times later reports, "the response inside the sold-out theater could not have been much more enthusiastic."
Sept. 1, 2008: Writing in Variety, critic Todd McCarthy speculates that the "tasty item looks to catch on in a big way with young, adventurous and merely curious viewers in wide specialized release."
Sept. 13, 2008: The film is announced as the winner of the People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Nov. 12, 2008: "Slumdog" opens to critical praise, with Manohla Dargis of the New York Times calling the film "a gaudy, gorgeous rush of color, sound and motion" that "doesn't revel through the lower depths, it giddily bounces from one horror to the next," while adding it is a "modern fairy tale" and a "sensory blowout."
Nov. 16, 2008: IndieWire reports that the film took in more than $418,000 playing in only 10 locations in its first five days of release.
Dec. 1, 2008: "Slumdog" is the big winner of the night at the British Independent Film Awards, taking home best picture, best director and most promising newcomer for actor Dev Patel.
Dec. 4, 2008: The National Board of Review names "Slumdog Millionaire" its best film of the year.
Dec. 21, 2008: Writing in the New York Times, op-ed columnist Frank Rich relates "Slumdog" to the tough economic times, calling it "our feel-good movie of the year" and "a virtuoso feat of filmmaking."
Jan. 7: Cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle is nominated for his first ASC award. Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy is nominated for a WGA award for best adapted screenplay.
Jan. 8: Director Danny Boyle is nominated for a DGA award. At the Broadcast Film Critics Awards, the film wins five of the six categories in which it was nominated, including best picture.
Jan. 11: "Slumdog" wins all four categories in which it is nominated at the Golden Globes, including best director and best picture, drama.
Jan. 12: Editor Chris Dickens is nominated for an ACE Eddie Award.
Jan. 15: The film is nominated for 11 BAFTA awards, including best film.
Jan. 18: IndieWire reports that despite losing 19 screens from the week before, the film's weekend total actually rose by 56%, bringing its box office total to more than $42 million.
Jan. 22: "Slumdog" receives 10 Academy Award nominations, including best picture, director and adapted screenplay.
Jan. 24: "Slumdog's" Christian Colson wins the Producers Guild of America Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award.
Jan. 25: At the SAG awards, the film wins for motion picture ensemble.
Ahead: At the very least, there's the Oscar nominees luncheon on Monday. There is also a full schedule of ceremonies as the various guilds give out their awards -- all on the way to the Academy Awards on Feb. 22.