Rima Das' Assamese film, 'Village Rockstars' which was India's official entry for the best "Foreign Language Film" category at the Oscars 2019 is out of the race, as as is Iram Haq's Norwegian drama What Will People Say, starring Indian actors.
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences on Monday announced that nine films have advanced to the next round of voting in the Foreign Language Film category for the 91st Academy Awards, according to the official Oscars website.
Village Rockstars revolves around a little girl in a village in Assam who wants to own a guitar and form a band. Shot in Chhaygaon, a village near Guwahati, the cast is made up of untrained actors, mostly local villagers. The lead role is played by Rima's cousin, Bhanita Das who even won the National Award for the best child actor for this film.
Village Rockstars had picked up four National awards this year- best film, best editing, best location sound, and best child actor.
So far, Mother India, Salaam Bombay! and Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India are the only Indian films that made it to the top five in the Best Foreign language Film category at the Academy Awards, but none have won the honour.
Hopes were also pinned on What Will People Say, which stars Indian actors Adil Hussain and Ekavali Khanna. It is set in Pakistan and Norway and traces how a Pakistani immigrant family deals with its teenage daughter's affair with a local boy in Norway.
A total of 87 films had originally been considered in the Foreign Language Film category. Among the shortlisted ones are Birds of Passage (Colombia), The Guilty (Denmark), Never Look Away (Germany), Shoplifters (Japan), Ayka (Kazakhstan), Capernaum (Lebanon), Roma (Mexico), Cold War (Poland) and Burning (South Korea).
Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron is excited about Roma making it to the list.
"Made the shortlist of the Oscars for foreign language," tweeted the Academy Award winner, whose film is set in the early 1970s and is a semi-autobiographical take on his upbringing in Mexico City.
The movie, available on Netflix, is among the front-runners for an Oscar this year.
The Academy also announced shortlists for the Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, Make-up And Hairstyling, Music (Original Score), Music (Original Song), Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film and Visual Effects categories.
Nominations for the 91st Oscars will be announced on January 22, 2019, over a month ahead of the Oscars ceremony which is slated to be held on February 24, 2019.
(Inputs from IANS)