Halfway to the 88th Oscar Submission Deadline

Even though the 87th Academy Awards ceremony took place just last month, we’re almost halfway through the qualifying period for submissions to the 88th Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Qualifying films must be released theatrically in their home country between October 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015. (Click here for the 87th Oscar’s eligibility rules.)Β  Accordingly, dozens of Hindi films already meet that qualification.

Since this blog focuses on Hindi-language films, I’m not going to discuss the merits of the dozens of movies in other Indian languages that would meet the qualifications. I’m also limited to movies that are, or have been, available in the United States. So, there are surely a few worthy Hindi films I’m going to miss.

Since October 1, 2014, I’ve given six films 3.5- or 4-star reviews. Let’s look at their chances:

As much as I enjoyed The Shaukeens and Kill Dil, they earned their stars primarily as great examples of their genres (comedy and revenge, respectively). I’m also ruling out Badlapur and NH10 because of similarities to other films — I Saw the Devil and Eden Lake, respectively — that could rub Oscar voters the wrong way.

That leaves us with Haider and PK. Haider — a gripping retelling of Hamlet set in a starkly beautiful, war-torn region — seems like an obvious choice to appeal to Oscar voters.

As charming and smart as PK is, it’s more mainstream than the average Foreign Language Oscar contender. Still, that fact could make it a bold choice for submission. It has high production values working in its favor, along with a funny and accessible performance by Aamir Khan, whom Oscar voters may remember from Lagaan.

Haider and PK would both make interesting challengers in the Foreign Language Oscar category. However, the Indian selection committee has in recent years chosen movies out of left field, regardless of their chance of actually winning the award (submitting The Good Road instead of The Lunchbox? Seriously?). I don’t know that either Haider or PK stands much of a chance of being selected by the committee, but I sure hope they are considered come September.

9 thoughts on “Halfway to the 88th Oscar Submission Deadline

  1. JustMeMike

    The Indian Selection Committee is the stepchild of the bigger institution – The Film Federation of India. The so-called FFI has the responsibility of selecting committee to decide which film to be submitted to the Oscars.

    As their track record is so abysmal – I’d venture to say that this must be a committee surrounded by politics and cronyism. After all, only thee Indian films have ever ‘made the cut’ and won a nomination.

    Mother India in 1957
    Salaam Bombay in 1988
    Lagaan in 2001

    While I have not yet seen Haider, I did see PK and thoroughly enjoyed it. Yet PK may be a bit too controversial, at least in parts of India, to sway the committee. On the other hand, Haider, has its roots in the non-Indian Hamlet, so that may tend to work against it.

    I’d be happy to see an Indian film secure a nomination, but I wouldn’t wager on which film they will choose. I really liked your comment that the committee often chooses a film ‘out of left field’.

  2. Parth

    Haider seems appropriate choice as Theme of it, Location, Politics etc everything about the movie is what academy loves to see in a movie. Plus it’s a story of repressed people. Bonus point.
    The selection committee doesnt understand that they dont need to send “Best” movie but the movie that has chance to win. i have seen both Lunchbox and the good road. though Lunchbox was better, the good road was also a good movie. but only Lunchbox had chance of not only nomination but chance of an oscar too.

    1. Kathy

      The academy loves repressed people, Parth. πŸ˜‰ As soon as The Lunchbox got a North American distributor in Sony Pictures Classics, it shouldn’t have mattered how good any other film was (for good or ill, that’s the way the game is played). You pick the film with the best chance of nomination so that the attention it garners draws eyes to other films produced in the country.

      1. Parth

        Yes Academy loves repressed people πŸ˜€ just see the nominated Palestinian movies in last couple of years. The selection committee is just bunch of dumb people. They selected The good Road just because it represents India better(like Lunchbox is about martian people.) someone should tell them it’s not UN its Oscar awards. And Lunchbox had chance after Sony picked it up. it was Favorited by other directors whose movies were also nominated. and after all these censor board changes and all i don’t have any hope. I bet they will send some religious movie to represents India better.
        PS. I watched Cinderella, and it was awesome. And that dress. <3

  3. Paul

    I’d agree with the comments on Lunchbox. An excellent film no matter which country made it. I actually thought it was more like a French film than most French films these days πŸ™‚

    As for Pk, I thought it was an amazing film on multiple levels. Again, it was a great film regardless of the country and that is what should be important for the awards. Far too many people have a hopelessly inaccurate view of what a Bollywood movie is. As much as I love a ‘typical’ Bollywood film, complete with wedding scene, etc, I also love all the brilliant and thought provoking movies that are coming out of India and it is maybe those that should be put forward for awards in the hope that the rest of the world will see what talent there is in India.


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