Movies & Entertainment

The History Of India's Representation At The Oscars

BP World Bureau | Feb 26 2019 12:05:16 PM
Image credits:BP World creatives

The Academy has faced scrutiny for their all-white representation in all categories since its inception.

At a time when white actors painted their skin black, and when black representatives were coerced into sitting at the back, the academy began to recognise and appreciate the work by coloured people.

Read: People Of Colour Makes History At The Oscars This Year  

From Hattie McDonald, who won best-supporting actress award for her performance in 'Gone with the wind' to the recent Oscar wins by African American women in the technical field, the Academy have witnessed the change.

Yesterday, Indian documentary 'Period. the end of sentence' won the award making it big for the project which was initially crowd funded.

India is the biggest producer of films in the world with over 800 films produced annually. Thus, Indians have been part of the Academy's journey.

Here are the major achievements of India at the Oscars:

Read: Twinkle Khanna Praises 'Period. End Of Sentence' Team For Their Oscar Victory  

     1. Mother India- Best foreign language film

Mother India became the first ever Indian film to be nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar in the year 1957. It is a proto-feminist film, directed by Mehboob Khan, starring Nargis Dutt about Radha, who is seen as the 'mother' of the village. A woman who punished her own son for misbehaving with a girl. The film lost to 'Night of Cabiria' and director Khan expressed his disappointment at the time.

     2. Salaam Bombay- Best foreign language film

In 1988, Mira Nair made this film about the life in Bombay's slums, one of the biggest in India. New York Times named it as one of the 1000 best films ever made. The film did not win.

     3. Lagaan- Best foreign language film

Aamir Khan starrer Lagaan was a blockbuster in India which earned several accolades overseas. The film is about Indian farmers, who are burdened by high taxes at a time of intense poverty, challenged by the British soldiers for a game of cricket. If the farmers win, then they will have tax exemption for three years. Lagaan is the only Indian film listed as number 14 on Channel 4's "50 Films to See Before You Die". Producer however did not win the trophy.

     4. Bhanu Athaiya- Won best costume design

Costume designer Bhanu Athiya won the best costume designer award for her work in the Oscar-winning film 'Gandhi' directed by late Richard Attenborough.

    5. Satyajit Ray - Won honorary Oscar

Ace filmmaker Satyajit Ray won the honorary Oscar for his contribution to cinema in the year 1992. Ray collected his award days before dying.

    6. A.R Rahman- Won two Oscars for soundtrack

India's ultimate victory was when maestro of music AR Rahman collected two trophies for his acclaimed work in the film 'Slumdog Millionaire'. The song 'Jai Ho' won Oscar for best song.

    7. Resul Pookutty- Won the best sound mixing

South Indian sound mixer Resul Pookutty took home an Oscar in the same year for his work in 'Slumdog Millionaire'.

    8. Dev Patel- Best supporting actor

Indian actor Dev Patel who was critical acclaimed for his performance in 'Slumdog Millionaire' received best supporting actor nod but lost to Mahershala Ali for 'Moonlight'.

Hollywood films based on stories in India such as 'Gandhi', 'Passage to India', 'Slumdog Millionaire', 'Life of Pi' and 'Lion' received respective recognitions in the best picture category.