India’s ‘Village Rockstars’ out of Oscars race, nine films advance to next stage

Los Angeles: “Village Rockstars”, India’s official entry at the 91st Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Film category, is no longer a part of the race, with only nine films out of 87 making it to the next round of voting.

Directed by Rima Das, the Assamese feature, revolved around a group of village children aspiring to become rockstars.

Das, in an Instagram post, said the Oscar dream may have ended for the film but she will forever be grateful for its “incredible journey”.

“Our journey towards the Oscars might end today, but it has been an incredible journey, full of hopes and aspirations. Thank you for being there every step of the way. We will keep our faith alive to keep dreaming,” she wrote.

The director, who shot the film in village with local children, said “Village Rockstars” took her and her band of “rockstars” to places that were beyond her wildest dreams.

Without that love – all its warmth and generosity – we could not have made it as far as we have. So, thank you. Thank you for opening your hearts to our film. For allowing it to enter you, live with you, breathe with you,” she added.

India has so far drawn a blank in the Best Foreign Film category. The last Indian film that made it to the final five in the list was Ashutosh Gowariker’s “Lagaan” in 2001.

“Mother India” (1958) and “Salaam Bombay” (1989) are the other two Indian movies to have made it to the top five.

Oscar-winner Alfonso Cuaron’s universally-loved, semi-biographical, black-and-white drama “Roma” is in the list alongside eight other films.

“Roma”, which is generating a lot of awards buzz and may also earn nominations in the best film category if critics are to be believed, will face tough competition from previous Oscar-winner Pawel Pawlikowski’s “Cold War”. He had won the Oscar for his 2013 film “Ida”

Japan’s “Shoplifters”, for which director Hirokazu Kore-eda won the Palm d’Or, and Lebanon’s “Capernaum”, which won the jury prize, can also be called frontrunners for the recognition.

Other films in the list are “Birds of Passage” from Colombia, “The Guilty” from Denmark, “Never Look Away” from Germany, Kazakhstan’s “Ayka” and South Korea’s Burning .

Academy members from all branches screened the original submissions in the category between mid-October and December 10.

The group’s top six choices, augmented by three additional selections voted by the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee, constitute the shortlist. Academy members eligible to participate in the Nominations round of voting will view the shortlisted films. Members must see all nine films before casting their ballots.

The 91st Oscar Awards will be held on February 24, Sunday, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.