It might be a significant day for India in terms of the 95th Academy Awards nominations, which will be revealed later today. Fourth on the list of Indian films with a chance at the Oscars are the official entry Chhello Show, the documentaries All That Breathes and The Elephant Whisperers, and the recent Golden Globe winner RRR. The first three movies are contenders for Best International Feature Film, Best Documentary Feature, and Best Documentary Short at the Oscars. The real excitement, though, might come from RRR, which has swept the globe and attracted devoted devotees in its wake.
The announcement that Chhello Show, or Last Picture Show, directed by Pan Nalin, would be India’s official entry for Best International Feature over RRR startled and angered the film’s countless fans. Nevertheless, the movie ran its own independent Oscar campaign and put itself forward for awards in several categories. RRR probably entered itself in as many of these categories as it could, even though they have not yet been made public.
Ten categories have shortlists, and so far, RRR is a contender in one of them—and there are no prizes for figuring out which one—Best Original Song for Naatu Naatu, which it also won at the Golden Globes. Out of a lengthy list of 81 tracks, 15 will be nominated. Naatu Naatu is joined by the four songs that it defeated at the Golden Globes: Ciao Papa from Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Carolina from Where The Crawdads Sing by Taylor Swift, Lift Me Up by Rihanna from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever by Rihanna, and Hold My Hand by Lady Gaga from Top Gun: Maverick by Lady Gaga. Time from Amsterdam and Nothing Is Lost from Avatar are among the final 10 songs on the shortlist.The Way Of Water, This Is A Life from Everything Everywhere All At Once, Til You’re Home from A Man Called Otto, Good Afternoon from Spirited, Applause from Tell It Like A Woman, Stand Up from Till, Dust & Ash from The Voice Of Dust And Ash, and New Body Rhumba from White Noise are a few examples of songs that fit this description.
We don’t know if RRR entered itself for either of the Best Sound or Best Visual Effects categories, but it didn’t make the shortlists when they were made public. Best Film Editing and Best Cinematography are two other technical categories in which it might be nominated; the shortlists for these have not yet been revealed, thus RRR is not disqualified.
Naatu Naatu, a favourite all across the world, is unlikely to receive an Oscar nomination. But what about the other classifications? Recent calls for Jr. NTR, one of RRR’s two stars, to be nominated for Best Actor by USA Today drove Indian social media into a frenzy. Writer Brian Truitt of USA Today listed both Ram Charan and Jr. NTR from RRR among the ten performances he believes warrant nominations, choosing the second actor as having the advantage over the first. “Academy, is it possible to cheat on a nomination for best actor? Because “RRR” is such a crowd-pleasing powerhouse in part due to the two Indian mega-stars that star in this action-packed musical adventure:
With an all-time bromance and an incredible dance-off along the way, Ram Charan’s British army soldier and Rao’s devoted warrior become friends before butting heads as enemies and then coming back together as a fighting force. But if we must choose, the charismatic Rao has the advantage for commanding a legion of wild creatures and deftly balancing a motorcycle,” he added.
It should be noticed that Jr. NTR is not listed among the nominees for Best Actor in USA Today’s list of nominee predictions for the major categories, which was published yesterday. The majority of foreign publications keeping tabs on the Oscars likewise don’t think RRR has a chance to be in the Best Film category, though its popularity might still help it get in.Even though he won the award at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, SS Rajamouli is unlikely to receive a Best Director nomination; instead, Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans), Martin McDonagh (The Banshees Of Inisherin), Todd Field (Tar), Daniel Kwan, and Daniel Scheinert are likely to fill at least four of the five positions on the Best Director slate (Everything Everywhere All At Once). James Cameron (Avatar: The Way Of Water) or Baz Luhrmann might fill the final spot (Elvis).
The Oscar nominations will be announced by actors Alison Williams and Riz Ahmed. The award show will be held on March 12 and will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.