The King’s Speech, which clinched 11 Oscar nominations, could not still catch up with the record breaking 1950 All About Eve with 14 nods. This feat remained unmatched till 1997, when Titanic, won as many noms.
Of the 10 films vying for the Best Picture statuette this year, The King’s Speech is the most traditional. Yet, critics could not dismiss it, because of its marvellous qualities – a script that jealously keeps your eye riveted on just about every frame – and undoubtedly touching performances by its lead characters.
In fact, most of the 10 movies this year are really inspiring. The Social Network is an intricately crafted legal drama, Winter’s Bone is engagingly mysterious, Inception cerebral to the core, Black Swan darkly exhilarating and The Kids Are All Right superbly mature.
Again, Christopher Nolan did not get the Best Director nomination for Inception, while in yet another surprise, the Coen Brothers picked up 10 nods for their True Grit, including those for Best Picture, Best Director and so on. Did the Coens take the place of Nolan, whose omission has been singularly glaring?
India: India has, yet again, not been able to get an Oscar nomination for the Best Foreign Picture. The last nod for the country came in 2002 with Aamir Khan’s Lagaan. In fact, since 1956, the year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences began presenting Oscars for foreign films, merely three Indian movies have managed to squeeze into the short list of five. They were Mother India, Salaam Bombay and Lagaan. None ultimately went on to win the statuette, and all of them were in Hindi.
This time, the Mumbai-based Film Federation of India, which choses the country’s Oscar entry with the help of a special panel it sets up, picked Peepli (Live), produced by Aamir Khan, written and directed by first-timer Anusha Rizvi. This is the third time that Khan’s work has been selected to represent a nation that makes 1200-odd movies every 12 months in many, many languages. His Taare Zameen Par directed and produced by him (and where he essayed a school teacher discovering dyslexia in a boy), was sent up in 2007, but it failed to make it to the Oscars shortlist of five films.
(Gautaman Bhaskaran has been writing on the Academy Awards for several years)