Aamir's 'Peepli Live' dropped from Oscars shortlist

Peepli Live India’s official entry to the Oscars for Best Foreign Film. (AGENCIES)

Peepli Live, India’s official entry to the Oscars for Best Foreign Film, was left out of the nine films shortlisted by the Academy yesterday despite producer Aamir Khan’s best efforts to publicise the film.

The nine films that will advance to the next round of voting in the Foreign Language Film category for Hollywood’s 83rd Academy Awards, are (in alphabetical order by country): Algeria, Hors la Loi (Outside the Law); Canada, Incendies; Denmark, In a Better World; Greece, Dogtooth; Japan, Confessions; Mexico, Biutiful; South Africa, Life, Above All; Spain, Tambien la Lluvia (Even the Rain); and Sweden, Simple Simon.

The shortlist will be further condensed to five nominees by specially invited committees in New York and Los Angeles. They will spend Friday through Sunday viewing three films each day, then cast their ballots, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a news release.

Khan’s Peepli Live beat other critically acclaimed movies like Udaan and Raajneeti to the top spot as India’s pick and Aamir Khan has said that he is disappointed at its exit.

India had a golden Oscar moment in 2009 when Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire swept the awards. American filmmaker Megan Mylan also took home the Oscar for Best Documentary for Smile Pinky. Previous Indian nominations for Best Foreign Film have been few and far between.

Mother India, starring Nargis as the rural woman struggling to survive, became the first Indian movie to make the cut in 1958. Three decades later, in 1988, Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay!, dealing with the lives of street children, became the second film to make it to the final five. Another 14 years went by before a third Indian movie – Lagaan – Ashutosh Gowariker’s period drama about a drought-stricken village, starring Aamir Khan made the cut.

The golden man eluded all three films, as it did Ashvin Kumar’s Little Terrorist, nominated for Best Live Action Short Film in 2004.

Indian films may not have won, but Bollywood has had better luck with individual Oscars. In 1982, Bhanu Athaiya won Best Costume Design for Gandhi. A decade later, Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray was given the Honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 1992. And 2009’s Slumdog sweep included an Oscar for Sound Mixing for Resul Pookutty, and 2 Oscars for music maestro A R Rahman, for Best Score and Best Song.

The common thread between all the films nominated as well as Slumdog is poverty and economic struggle – a theme continued in this year’s Peepli Live which looked readymade to hit the Oscar jackpot. The film raked in four times its shoestring budget at the box office with its tongue-in-cheek look at the reality of rural India.

The 83rd Academy Awards nominations are to be announced live Tuesday at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Oscars for outstanding film achievements of 2010 are to be presented February 27 at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center.

Print Email