Gujarati film ‘The Good Road’ fails to get nomination at Oscar

Ahmedabad, 22 December 2013

Gujarati film “The Good Road” is out of the Oscar race. It is one more Indian film unsuccesful to find nomination in the foreign language film category. The film was representing India in this category. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has announced a list of nine films that will advance to the next round of voting in the Foreign Language Film category and Indian director Gyan Correa’s Gujarati film “The Good Road”, is not among them. Out of the nine, five will be shortlisted for the finale. The 86th Academy Awards nominations will be announced Jan 16, 2014, according to the statement on the official Oscar website.

The nine films nominated in the Foreign Language Film category are:

1. The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium,) – Director: Felix van Groeningen

2. An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker (Bosnia and Herzegovina) – Director: Danis Tanovic, director

3. The Missing Picture (Cambodia) – Director: Rithy Panh, director;

4. The Hunt (Denmark) – Director: Thomas Vinterberg

5. Two Lives (Germany) – Director: Georg Maas

6. The Grandmaster (Hong Kong) – Director: Wong Kar-wai

7. The Notebook (Hungary) – Director: Janos Szasz

8. The Great Beauty (Italy) – Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Why Indian films fail to cross even pre-nomination stage at Oscar?

First of all, Oscar award is not a holy cow! When Lagaan was selected to represent India at Oscar, the entire top team of Lagaan including Asutosh Gowarikar and Aamir Khan left India and camped in America for days, just to promote their film among American jury members. It was sort of marketing and lobbying. After their days long efforts, several specially organized screenings and aggressive canvasing, Lagaan could secure nomination. In those days, Aamir Khan had in number of interviews talked about importance of organized efforts(PR) to push a film to Oscar nominations.

Some other things to consider. A typical Indian film is made mainly for the Indian audience, and not for the Oscar awards. Indian film is made as per the taste of Indian audience. After one film is suddenly picked up by decision makers in Delhi to represent India at Oscar, the next set of judges involves hardcore white Americans, and most of the time the Indian entry fails to impress them, resulting in failure to cross even pre-nomination stage. The other factor: if we put Aamir Khan and Lagaan example aside, the other Indian film makers fail to promote and push their film in America, primarily because it’s too expensive to do that, and it involves lot of skills too.