From HT Archives: Ray gets the Oscar for ‘mastery in arts of motion pictures’

ByAgencies, Los Angeles/calcutta
Mar 31, 2023 11:51 PM IST

Holding the 2kg Oscar statuette Ray, 70, was heard saying, in a voice choked with emotion, “it is a magnificent award, certainly the best achievement of my movie-making career” spanning over four decades.

A thunderous applause greeted the video recording of the presentation of the Oscar award to Satyajit Ray at his hospital bed in Calcutta which was shown during the colourful Academy Awards ceremony on March 30, 1992.

Satyajit Ray received the award in 1992. (Getty Images)
Satyajit Ray received the award in 1992. (Getty Images)

Holding the 2kg Oscar statuette Ray, 70, was heard saying, in a voice choked with emotion, “it is a magnificent award, certainly the best achievement of my movie-making career” spanning over four decades.

“I have learnt everything about the Cinema from the making of American films,” said the master Indian filmmaker, adding: “I have been watching American films over the years. I loved them for their entertainment value and what they taught”.

Earlier, veteran actor Audrey Hepburn appeared on the stage to announce that the Academy of Motion Picture of Arts and Sciences recognised Ray’s “real mastery in the arts of motions pictures and his profound humanism which has had indelible influence on filmmakers throughout the world”.

She recalled Ray having said that he aimed to capture something which was unique in Indian experience and that which was universal.

Before showing a footage of clips from his films, Hepburn said, “It begins when Ray began with his very first film Pather Panchali, the masterpiece that established his international reputation.”

Unfortunately, she said, “Ray is not well. He cannot be with us tonight, but he is able to speak with us from his hospital in Calcutta.”

Ray was awarded the Oscar for lifetime achievement on March 16 in Intensive Coronary Care Unit of the City Nursing Home in Calcutta, in the presence of his family members, including his wife, Bijaya Ray and son Sandip Ray, besides Dilip Basu, a family friend

Three members of the Academy, including Al Schwartz and David Plakos, visited the hospital to present the award to him.

Ray, who was selected for the honorary Oscar, had hoped to be present at the Academy Awards ceremony. But he was hospitalised several weeks ahead of the ceremony after complaining of chest pain and respiratory problems.

Ray noted that he once wrote actress Ginger Rogers to express his interest in motion pictures. “I didn’t get a reply,” he said, eliciting chuckles from the audience.

“I wrote a 12-page letter to Billy Wilder after seeing Double indemnity. He didn’t reply, either,” Ray said to laughs. “Well, there you are.”

At home in Calcutta, the city caught a glimpse of the Oscar presentation ceremony when a regional news bulletin of Doordarshan showed Satyajit Ray receiving the coveted award from his wife, Bijaya, at his sickbed in a city nursing home.

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