India and the Academy Awards

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India and the Academy Awards

Over time a lot of Indians have made it up to the big stage of motion pictures lately and prior to 90th Academy Awards Ceremony we take a look at Indians who triumphed this award lately.


The Academy Awards or "The Oscars" is one of the most prestigious and popular awards among the film industry. Every end of winter the film industry turns to this ceremony and to the night of this award presentation. It is a group of twenty-four artistic and technical honours given by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). The governing body of members decides in a "closely guarded secret" the winner of those prestigious awards. In addition, the Academy holds the Governor's Awards annually for lifetime achievement in film, presents Scientific and Technical Awards annually. The AMPAS is solely an American based organization as it has category of Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress mostly nominated among American produced movies. It has also categories of Best Foreign Language Film in which movies not produced in the United States are nominated and awarded.

Coming into the context of foreign language films, we find our way to the Indian Pictures and Indian legends paving their way to achieve this award. India started competing in the Foreign Films category since 1957 which was the 30th edition of the Academy Awards with the famous movie "Mother India" and it was even nominated at the ceremony but down on luck it didn't win losing to "Nights of Cabiria" by a single vote. Since then every year India participated in the foreign language category (India not only participated in the "Foreign Language Film" category but in several other segment of awards) except the year of 2003 due to some problems in the FFI (Film Federation of India). Since then two other legendary Indian cinema, "Salaam Bombay!" by Mira Nair and "Lagaan" by Ashutosh Gowariker in years 1989 and 2002 respectively got nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film, but ended up not winning. That is not the end of hopes for India as upcoming people at different segment accomplish the feat.
Lagaan dir. by Ashutosh Gowariker

Salaam Bombay dir. by Mira Nair
The much awaited feat for an Indian to achieve, for the first time arrived in the year 1983 because of the largely acclaimed film "Gandhi" directed by Richard Attenborough through which Bhanu Athaiya won the Academy Awards(55th Edition) for Best Costume Design. There was another Indian in the nomination from the same movie, very popular Ravi Shankar nominated for Best Original Score but could not bag the award in the end. But this was not the end for Indians to attain on that stage. 9years later, at the 64th Academy Awards (year 1992) one of the most acclaimed Film Director from India was honored with The Honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement. He is the one and only Satyajit Ray for his amazing work towards Motion Pictures through his lifetime. The body of Governors decided to hand him this honor, as he was ill and in hospital during the ceremony, he could not attend it and received it in his hospital bed. That became the end of an era of Academy Awards for Indians.

Gandhi Movie Poster

After a decade and 6 years, in the year 2008 released an India based movie directed by a British Danny Boyle - "Slumdog Millionaire". This was another movie praised all over the world, and in the year 2009 it made history at the 81st Academy Awards as it won 7 Academy Awards among which 3 Indians made history. The legendary Indian Music Composer A.R. Rahman won two Oscars for "Best Original Score" and "Best Original Song" among which the later was shared with another respected Indian lyricist Gulzar for the song "Jai Ho". And the last but not the least, another Indian Resul Pookutty won The Academy awards for "Best Sound Mixing". Hence, the 81st Academy awards became an incredible year for Indian achievement.

So, that brought to the end of Indian Achievers at the Academy Awards until now, but yes we all will look forward for further good Indian pictures being made and achieving more in the upcoming time as we did this year for Newton (didn't make it far though). Among all these achievements there are some dolorous events too, as Bhanu Athaiya returned her Statuette to the AMPAS for her sense of insecurity. So we have to respect these achievements and value them and look forward for further accomplishment.

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