India's Liar's Dice out of the Oscars race and so are other great ones

  • Gautaman Bhaskaran, Hindustan Times, Chennai
  • Updated: Dec 21, 2014 13:19 IST

The Hindi road drama by Geetu Mohandas, starring Geetanjali Thapa and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, was not in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' short list of nine movies picked from a record number of 83 submissions in the foreign language category this year. Of these nine, the final five nominees will be announced on January 15 2015.

India and Mohandas will perhaps find solace in the fact that some of the year’s most outstanding movies failed to make the cut. And these were considered exceptional by many critics across continents.

To name just one, The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg writes: “There were a few glaring omissions that are pretty hard to stomach. Where is Cannes Palme d'Or winner Winter Sleep, from Turkey, and Jury Prize winner Mommy, from Canada's 25-year-old prodigy Xavier Dolan? Where is Israel's socially significant Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, a Golden Globe Award nominee, and Hungary's edgy White God? And, most upsetting to me, where is Belgium's Two Days, One Night, the latest in a long line of masterpieces by the brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, a Critics' Choice Award nominee — and the fourth that the Academy could have but failed to nominate. I totally get that there is not room for everything, but several of these would have been on the top-half of a list of nine for me and many other cineastes I know”.

However, there are some interesting films in the basket. Poland’s black-and-white Holocaust work, Ida, Russia’s tale of greed and corruption, Leviathan, Sweden’s haunting adventure, Force Majeure and Argentina’s sex comedy, Wild Tales, are in the pick-me-up contest where the finalists will vie for the statuette. Mauritania’s first-ever Oscar submission, Timbuktu, by Abderrahmane Sissako – a deeply disturbing story of religious dogmatism was another contender.

Feinberg adds: “But it is now more incumbent on journalists than ever before to talk up the great international gems that won't have a shot at a trip to the Oscars, including those mentioned above, because otherwise they can quickly fade into oblivion, and that would be a terrible injustice.”.

So, in the light of what Feinberg avers, Mohandas’s Liar’s Dice perhaps needs to be written about more widely now.

Here is the full list of the nine movies:

Wild Tales (Argentina)
Tangerines (Estonia)
Corn Island (Georgia)
Timbuktu (Mauritania)
Accused (The Netherlands)
Ida (Poland)
Leviathan (Russia)
Force Majeure (Sweden)
The Liberator (Venezuela)

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