The annual Academy Awards are a big occasion every year but this year the moment was bigger for Southasia with two wins and appearances by Southasian icons and celebrities on the red carpet and pre-event festivities.
The follow-up to the grand event started with the South Asian Excellence Pre-Oscars Celebration hosted by Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Anjula Acharia on Thursday. Southasian film and TV professionals were invited to the event, which even saw a performance by Ali Sethi. Those present included Malala and her husband Asser Malik, Mindy Kaling, Jacqueline Fernandes, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Preity Zinta and Saim Sadiq and Alina Khan of Joyland fame.
The celebration honoured the community’s Oscar nominees, including the documentary All That Breathes; song and score from Everything Everywhere All at Once; the song ‘Naatu Naatu‘ from RRR; documentary shorts The Elephant Whisperers and Stranger at the Gate; and shortlisted international feature Joyland.
Meanwhile, the main event – the 95th Academy Awards – saw some glittering appearances by Southasian trailblazers including Malala Yousafzai and Deepika Padukone. Malala vowed everyone in a custom silver Ralph Lauren outfit and a befitting response to Jimmy Kimmel. On the other hand, Deepika, who was one of the presenters at the event and introduced the “Naatu Naatu” live performance, looked fabulous in a black Louis Vitton outfit.
“Nattu Nattu” – from the hit Telugu-language film RRR not only beat Lady Gaga, Sofia Carson and Rihanna but also made history by becoming the first Indian film song to win an Oscar.
Nattu Nattu was not India’s only win. Kartiki Gonsalves’ The Elephant Whisperers also won in the Best Documentary Short film category. The documentary, which tells the story of a couple who care for an injured baby elephant after it gets separated from its herd, is the first Indian production to win in this category.
— Saman Shafiq
Compiled from: South Asian Oscars Celebration: Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Mindy Kaling Celebrate Unprecedented Awards Year by Charna Flam in Variety 10 March 2023, and Oscars 2023: RRR’s Naatu Naatu wins best original song in BBC News 13 March 2023
Lead photo courtesy: Getty Images