People are excitedly waiting for the announcement of the official nomination list of the 93rd Academy Awards. This particular prestigious award show, popularly known as ‘Oscars’, has a lot of darkness behind its dazzling Kodak theatre. India has been its regular participant since the section ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ (Best International Feature) was announced.
But the thing is this award is more inclined towards the native films of the USA. But factually, the Oscar is not the national award of America. Hundreds of countries around the world submit their feature films in the International Feature segment every year. Very few of them get the final nomination and the winners are even less. The entire limelight is stolen by Hollywood. The backstage drama, what we call the selection procedure, can easily beat any of the scripts that have been ever awarded in this programme.
There are certain factors where the selection stands and we can clearly understand the inequality. There are some chosen formulas that determine the running of this ‘American Show’. Like movies on issues of racism, feminism and slavery, and sometimes in the ‘Foreign Language’ section, international politics and so-called diplomatic matters with the USA, become the landmark of a selection. Anyone can easily call it an American Award Show, where 90% of the films are US-based films, while only 10% are talked about under the international section.
Still, there is a craze for this Award. Now, we can analyse it, why? There are two major factors — publicity and recognition. There are several film festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, Venice, Busan etc. that offer a better platform for films. If we analyse the Indian film data at the Oscar, then the ridiculous selection list will come on screen.
The first film Mother India was submitted in 1957 and was nominated in the final list of the 30th Academy Awards by the US Academy of Motion Picture Art and Science. After that, many films were submitted but none of them got nominated. A few films, however, are extremely well-crafted that deserved this award. The next film that got nominated was Salaam Bombay in 1988 and Lagaan in 2001. After that, no films have featured in the ‘Nominated List’ where a few bad films were selected as well (not my personal view, these are critics’ words) by Film Federation of India (FFI).
The best part is understanding the procedure of selection. In the Foreign Language section, each country’s designated committee has the authority to send the official nomination for their country. But the game gets a little nasty after that. It goes to the voting round where journalists and film buffs are secretly giving their votes for the films where these kinds of voting rounds are full of doubt.
Big studios in the US throw parties for those ‘Selective Game Changers’ to manipulate votes in their favour. Sometimes, even the known lobby of a studio gets an extra advantage in this voting round. The same rules are applied to foreign films as well, where the game changers are the journalists of a few well-known news daily.
There is another voting or selection round after that, where the final nomination list is made, but this is not an exception like the previous one. In the Indian perspective, selective agents or big studios have a tie-up with publicists in Los Angeles (Hollywood) where they go for a month-long campaign for their films. More limelight or media coverage means more chances of getting nominated.
The FFI has a high submission fee (about Rs 1 lakh) for each film for the initial selection as India’s official entry. They are telling a lie which is actually sealed the words written above, such as the nomination procedure needs too much bucks and if you can’t submit your movie with this nominal fee, then you think you might be rejected even before evaluation.
There is another way to be nominated for this award. Some film festivals are accredited by the Academy of Motion Pictures, where the winner film gets selected for the final round of voting, which is fine, as most films are from Europe and America.
Now, you can easily think that the world’s greatest film award is seriously the greatest in nature, where talent or film content are not the only factors, money is important as well. Take your popcorn and enjoy this show cause the show must go on.