In 2007, Pinto's modelling agency selected her and six other models to audition for the female lead in Danny Boyle's film Slumdog Millionaire (2008) after a request by its casting director. After undergoing six months of extensive auditions, Pinto won the role of Latika, the love interest of the main character Jamal, played by Dev Patel. During the post-production phase, she attended an acting course at the Barry John Acting Studio in Mumbai. Although the course taught her about the "technical aspects" of acting, she stated that "in terms of the actual experience, there's nothing like going out there and actually playing the part. . . So for me, my favorite acting school was the six months of auditioning with Danny Boyle". Acclaimed particularly for its plot and soundtrack, Slumdog Millionaire emerged as a sleeper hit; made on a budget of $15 million, the film grossed US$377. 9 million worldwide. It was the most successful film at the 81st Academy Awards: it was nominated for ten awards, of which it won eight, including the award for Best Picture. Pinto won the Breakthrough Performance Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, along with other cast members from the film. She was also nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role at the BAFTA Awards. Pinto's performance in the film drew little attention from critics as her screen presence in the film was limited. The Telegraph (Calcutta) opined "it's difficult to form an opinion" on her character; its columnist Bharathi S. Pradhan noted "Slumdog Millionaire wasn't really a test of Freida's acting abilities. "