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The ‘He’ and the ‘She’ Oscar

entertainment Updated: Feb 03, 2010 19:09 IST
Gautaman Bhaskaran
Gautaman Bhaskaran
Hindustan Times
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Gautaman Bhaskaran

Gautaman Bhaskaran

This year’s Oscar race may well lend itself to a gripping screenplay. We have a man and his former wife pitted against each other with nine nominations each for their respective films. James Cameron’s 3D extravaganza, Avatar, has netted nine nods, including those for Best Picture and Best Director. Avatar - which sunk its creator’s earlier record grossing, Oscar winning, Titanic with an earth-shattering show at the box-office - may well fly away with an attractive booty when the Academy Awards are announced later.

Facing the Goliath of a Cameron is his ex, the David of a Kathryn Bigelow, with The Hurt Locker that has grabbed nine noms as well, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Known for springing surprises, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences may well decide to create a bit of history by putting Bigelow on the pedestal. She is only the fourth woman to get the Best Director nod, and if she clinches the actual trophy, she will be the first among the fair (or stronger?) sex to do so.

America and the Americans are in that wonderful mood to initiate a new order. We saw that when Barack Obama was elected President. The Academy’s 6000-odd members may want to do something as remarkable, and Bigelow can be the beneficiary.

AvatarApart from this marital drama that someone in India’s Bollywood may be tempted to turn into a Pati, Patni and Woh movie, the Woh here being Mr Oscar, the nomination screen did not have any great fireworks.

Quentin Tarantino’s Jewish fantasy, Inglorious Basterds walked away with eight nods, Best Picture and Best Director included. Jason Reitman’s Up In The Air won six – Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for George Clooney among them.

The question that arises now is whether the Academy’s decision last June to expand the list of best picture nominations from five to 10 has fulfilled a long standing need to open this category to diverse genres. Yes, more variety can be seen this season. Films such as A Serious Man, The Blind Side, District 9 and An Education may have found it tough to enter the Oscar arena in the past.

On the flip side, no documentary or musical or foreign language work, for example, got the nod. And, despite the longer list, Clint Eastwood’s Invictus and designer-turned-director Tom Ford’s A Single Man got the snub. Spanish master Pedro Almodovar’s Broken Embraces failed to make it, and, sadly, not even in the foreign lingo section.

The five foreign language nominees are Germany’s The White Ribbon, France’s A Prophet, Peru’s The Milk of Sorrow, Argentine’s The Secret in Their Eyes and Israel’s Ajami.

India’s Harishchandrachi Factory (in Marathi) could not make it. Neither could AR Rahman, who is now being hailed as the Mozart of Madras. Well, well, that is an enormous halo to carry.