The Academy Award ceremony of the 81st Academy Awards in 2009 was named the “Indian Oscar” because the film “Millionaire from the Slums” received eight awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. The film is set in India, the actors are Indian, the third dialogue is in Hindi (one of the many languages of India), and at the end there is a Bollywood-style song, but it is not, as many Americans believe, an Indian film. The filmmakers, including director Danny Boyle, are British. Only three of the eight Academy Awards went to the Indians: legendary composer A.R. Rahman won the best original part, Rahman, and lyricist Gulzar won the best original song, and Resul Pukuti won the best sound mix, not to be confused with “Best Sound.” Yes, there are two separate Academy Awards for sound production, as well as two awards for documentary film, two awards for animation and three awards for short film. At the 82nd Academy Award, to be held in 2010, the number of nominees for Best Picture will double to 10. And yet there is only one award for Best Foreign Language Film, selected from just five nominees. Bollywood, the world’s largest film industry by number of movie releases and number of viewers, has never received this award. And not because Bollywood movies don’t deserve pride.
For the last 20 years the countries dominating in the category of the best foreign films are France (10 nominations, 1 victory), Germany (8 nominations, 2 victories), Italy (6 nominations, 3 victories), Spain (5 nominations, 3 victories) and Russia (five nominations, 1 victory). Non-European countries have received the award only four times in the last two decades: Japan in 2008, South Africa in 2005, Canada in 2003 (the film was in French) and Taiwan in 2000. The Indian film has been nominated only three times for the award. stories: “Mother India” in 1957, “Salam Bambay” in 1988 and “Lagaan” in 2001.
Perhaps the category should be renamed the best European film for the sake of accuracy. And although the Academy is with him, it may add a new category: “Best Bollywood Film.”
The ceremony is already too long, but excluding or combining some of the aforementioned categories would capture the news – and the excitement – is what this ceremony needs. What can enliven it more than the spectacle of Bollywood? Why would it bring back the glamor and glamor of Old Hollywood. Think of the red carpet – all those stunning stars in twinkling saris and silk deer! Fashion commentators flip. American celebrities don’t even compare themselves in identical tuxedos and black and black robes.
But, alas, in 2010 it will not, at least not. There will be no trace of Bollywood next year.
The Indian Film Federation has selected the Marathi film “Harishchandrachi Factory” as the official presentation of India at the 2010 Academy Awards in the category of Best Foreign Film. The film won 15 nominees, including several major Bollywood films such as “Fashion,” “New York,” and “Delhi-6.” This is the second time India has sent a Marathi film to the Academy, the first being “Schwaas” in 2004. The Harishchandrachi Factory is a feature film about India’s first feature film, Raja Harishchandra, in 1913 (India’s film industry preceded America. Hollywood’s first feature film was made in 1914.)
The Film Federation of India, which selects Oscar material in India, is an umbrella trading organization representing all of India’s film industry. That’s right, Bollywood is just one of many in India. Imagine if there was a thriving Spanish-speaking film industry in the U.S. that gave Hollywood a paycheck, or regional film industries in Chicago, Atlanta, and Seattle that were equal to L.A. That’s the way it is in India. The term “Bollywood” refers to the Hindi-based film industry based in the city of Mumbai, formerly known as Bambay. Other film industries in the country include Hollywood, which refers to Tamil-language films shot in the Kadambakkam district of Chennai; Mollywood, is a Malay language in the Malayalam state of Kerala; and “Hollywood,” which refers to Telugu films from Andhra Pradesh and Bengali films made in the Calcutta neighborhood. (Marathi cinema is too small to be nicknamed.)
What works in the “Best Foreign Language Film” category is that each country is invited to submit one film to the Academy Award for consideration, then the Academy narrows these materials down to five nominees, and one of the nominees is recognized as the winner. But Bollywood needs to go through two obstacles: first it has to compete with the Indian film industry, and then it has to compete on a global platform that has a commitment to Europe.
There is another reason for Bollywood movies that have no chance of winning. Like Hollywood, Bollywood is a commercial film industry that for the most part makes movies, not feature films. And nominees in a foreign film company are usually very refined. Even the owners of the best Hollywood photos would not have won in this category. In a one-on-one contest, would the winner of the 1999 Best Picture, Shakespeare in Love, win the winner of a foreign film, Life is Beautiful, Italy? Not by accident. Did the winner of “Forest Gump” win the Russian film “Burnt by the Sun” in 1995, which won this year’s foreign film “Oscar” and the main prize at the Cannes Film Festival? No way.
Thus, the probability of receiving a Bollywood foreign film award is small. Not that the Indians really care, because they have their own awards ceremonies, namely – Filmfare Awards. There are no boring categories at this event, and there are a few interesting ones that are similar to the download: “Best Villain”, “Best Male / Female Debut” and “Best Dialogue”. Even the statue is better – instead of a muscular golden man resembling a horrible, naked Ken doll, the Filmfare winners receive a statuette of a gorgeous dark lady. When it comes to entertainment, Bollywood just knows how to entertain, even at awards ceremonies. It’s a shame that Oscar won’t succeed for that.