For all you lot who will be looking for that ‘Indian Connection’ when tuning into the Oscars telecast this Monday morning, here is a brief Dummies’ Guide. I am Shiva, the God of death! - this dialogue is used not once but twice in the film Michael Clayton; first by Tom Wilkinson and then to almost perfect effect by the suave saviour of the world George Clooney. All three – the film and the two actors – have been nominated for an Oscar each.
Cate Blanchett has become the first actress to be nominated twice for the same role. Yup, you guessed it – the role of Elizabeth I. As you might already know, Shekhar Kapur of Mogambo khush hua fame has directed the seemingly opulent Elizabeth: The Golden Age. He as well as Om Puri stand a chance of getting mentioned in an Oscar-acceptance speech. The latter has duly supported nominated supporting actor Philip Seymour Hoffman in Charlie Wilson’s War, playing to perfection the part of the late Pakistani President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq.
And if you are feeling very patriotic, put your money on Saoirse Ronan picking up the Best Supporting Actress for her role as Briony Tallis in Atonement. Ian McEwan’s novel, which the film adapts, places a copy of Rabindranath Tagore on Tallis’ bookshelf. The film, unfortunately, fails to make mention of this key fact. But despite India being this well represented at this year’s Oscars, chances of there being any golden glory for the nation are somewhat slim.
No Country for Old Men and There Will be Blood — this year’s Oscar favourites — are all-out gritty and American. One explores the nature of evil, while the other makes a timely and subversive comment on an oil-hungry post-war United States. Like Atonement, both are adaptations of fairly compelling novels (Cormac McCarthy’s NCFOM and Upton Sinclair’s Oil!).
For a ceremony that was once threatened by the Hollywood writer’s strike, the writer might at long last be someone that the Academy is forced to celebrate.