‘Chhello Show’, ‘All That Breathes’, ‘Naatu Naatu’ Enter Oscars 2023 Shortlist

NEW DELHI:
India’s official entry to the upcoming Oscars “Chhello Show”, acclaimed documentary feature “All That Breathes”, documentary short “The Elephant Whisperers”, and “Naatu Naatu” — the song from period action blockbuster “RRR” have made it to the 95th Academy Awards shortlist, the organisers said Thursday morning.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the body behind the awards, announced the shortlists in 10 categories: documentary feature film, documentary short film, international feature film, makeup and hairstyling, music (original score), music (original song), animated short film, live action short film, sound, and visual effects.

While “Chhello Show” is part of the international feature film shortlist, “Naatu Naatu” from “RRR” appears on the music (original song) shortlist. “All That Breathes” and “The Elephant Whisperers” are included in the shortlists of documentary feature and documentary short segments, respectively.

There are 15 contenders in the shortlists of the above four categories.

Directed by Pan Nalin and produced by Siddharth Roy Kapur and Dheer Momaya, “Chhello Show” (titled “Last Film Show” in English) is a Gujarati-language coming-of-age story of a young boy’s love affair with cinema in a Saurashtra village.

The team of “Chhello Show” said they are humbled and overjoyed that their heartfelt ode to the cinematic medium has been recognised by the Academy.

“Ever since our selection by the Film Federation of India as India’s Official Entry to the 95th Oscars, we knew in our hearts that the film was bound for something special.

“We would like to thank the FFI, the millions of people who watched and admired ‘Chhello Show’, as well as our international distributors who gave the film a well-deserved push.

This is a historic moment for India and we hope to bring the Oscar home very soon,” Kapur, Momaya and Nalin said in a joint statement.

According to the Academy’s official website, “Chhello Show” will compete with films, including “Argentina, 1985” (Argentina), “Decision to Leave” (South Korea), “All Quiet on the Western Front” (Germany), “Close” (Belgium) and “The Blue Caftan” (Morocco).

This is the third major international nomination for “Naatu Naatu”, the popular Telugu song from SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus “RRR”.

The pan-India film follows a pre-independence fictional story woven around two real-life Indian revolutionaries – Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) and Komaram Bheem (Jr NTR) – in the 1920s.

As part of the music (original song) Oscars shortlist, “Naatu Naatu” will face off with 14 other tracks, which include “Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)” from “Avatar: The Way of Water”, “Lift Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”, “Ciao Papa” from “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”, “Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick”, and “Carolina” from “Where the Crawdads Sing”.

“Naatu Naatu”, composed by MM Keeravaani and penned by Kala Bhairava and Rahul Sipligunj, was previously nominated for a Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award.

Shaunak Sen’s celebrated film “All That Breathes”, an internationally co-produced Hindi title, is vying for a spot in the top five of the best documentary feature category.

“We made the shortlist, congos to all the other films!” wrote Sen on his Instagram Stories.

Delhi-set “All That Breathes” follows two siblings, Mohammad Saud and Nadeem Shehzad, who have devoted their lives to rescuing and treating injured birds, especially the Black Kites.

It previously won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, a film gala that promotes independent cinema and filmmakers, and earned Sen the Golden Eye award for the best documentary at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.

Other shortlisted nominees in the documentary feature category are: “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed”, “Bad Axe”, “Children of the Mist”, “Descendant”, “Fire of Love”, “Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song”, “Hidden Letters”, “A House Made of Splinters”, “The Janes”, “Last Flight Home”, “Moonage Daydream”, “Navalny”, “Retrograde”, and “The Territory”.

Kartiki Gonsalves’ “The Elephant Whisperers” is a Tamil documentary short that depicts an unbreakable bond between two abandoned elephants and their caretakers.

It is produced by Guneet Monga and Achin Jain of Sikhya Entertainment.

In an Instagram post, Monga said she is thrilled for the entire team.

“It’s an honour to have made it to the top 15 shortlisted documentary films and we absolutely couldn’t have done it without the support of @raghavkhanna24 @alokethebloke from team @Netflix,” the producer, who won an Oscar for the documentary short “Period: End of Sentence” in 2019.

“Super excited for Last Film Show’s nomination in the official shortlist selection for Best International Feature Film!” she added.

To make it to the final five of the documentary short category, “The Elephant Whisperers” will have to fight it out with “The Flagmakers”, “Nuisance Bear”, “Shut Up and Paint”, “Angola Do You Hear Us? Voices from a Plantation Prison”, “Anastasia”, and nine other documentary shorts in the section.

Each shortlists is determined by members of that corresponding branch, except for the international feature film segment. Members from all branches are invited to participate in the preliminary round of voting and must meet a minimum viewing requirement to be eligible to vote in the category, the Academy said.

The nominations for the 95th Academy Awards will be announced on January 24, while the Oscars ceremony will be held on March 12, at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood in Los Angeles.

Iscea

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