Cassian Baliarsingh

‘Naatu Naatu’ and Tamil documentary ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ have made India proud with their wins at the Oscars at the 95th Academy Award this year.

There were three nominations for India this year – the infectious Naatu Naatu from RRR for Best Original Song, All That Breathes by Shaunak Sen and Aman Mann for Best Documentary Feature and Kartiki Gonsalves and Guneet Monga’s The Elephant Whisperers for Best Documentary Short Film.

Unfortunately, All That Breathes could not grab the award while both Naatu Naatu and The Elephant Whisperers clenched the Oscars.
So far, only 13 Indians have been nominated to the Oscars and eight of them have won the prestigious award. Here’s a look at all the nominations for Indian films, documentaries and shorts for the Academy.

1958 – Nargis’ legendary film Mother India was the first Indian film to receive an honorary mention at the 30th Academy Awards. Although it was not an official entry, it was mentioned in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

1961 – The Creation of Woman, directed by Charles F Schwep and produced by Ismail Merchant was nominated in 1961 for the Best Short Subject. However, it didn’t win.

1969 – Short documentary ‘The House That Ananda Built was also nominated at the 41st Oscars but it also didn’t win.

1978 – Short animated film ‘Bead Game’ was nominated in the Best Animated short Film Category at the 50th Oscars, but it did not win.

1979 - Director Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s ‘An Encounter with Faces’ was nominated for Best Documentary Short subject for outstanding visuals and cinematography at the 51st Oscars. 

1983 – Bhanu Athaiya is the first Indian to win an Oscars for Best Costume Design in the film Gandhi at the 55th Oscars. Late sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar who had provided music for the film was also nominated for the Best Original score, but he could not win.

1987 – ‘A Room with a View’, directed by James Ivory and produced by Ismail Merchant was his second nomination for the 59th Oscars. However, Merchant lost the award again for the second time.

1989 – Mira Nair’s iconic movie Salaam Bombay was also nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 61st Academy Awards, but failed to grab the Oscars although it won other numerous awards.

1992 – Legendary Bengali director Satyajit Ray became the first and only Indian to receive an Honorary Academy Award at the 64th Oscars. The award was in recognition of his rare mastery of the art of motion pictures and his profound humanitarian outlook.

1993 – Ismail Merchant’s third nomination was Howards End at the 65th Academy Awards. The film, however, once again, didn’t win the Oscars for Merchant but enjoyed critical acclaim and commercial success.

1994 – The Remains of the Day was nominated for Oscars at the 66th Academy Awards.

2002 – Aamir Khan’s legendary movie ‘Lagaan’ was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 74th Oscars, but could not clinch the award. However, the film won eight National Film Awards and eight Filmfare Awards.

2005 – Short film Little Terrorist was nominated at the 77th Academy Awards. However, the film lost the Oscar but won several awards at international film festivals.

2009 – Veteran musician AR Rahman won two Oscars for Slumdog Millionaire for Best Original Score and Best Original Song which he shared with the legendary lyricist Gulzar for Jai Ho.

2011 – AR Rahman received two more nominations at the 83rd Oscars for ‘If I Rise’ but lost in both categories.

2013 – Indian Carnatic vocalist Bombay Jayashri Ramnath was nominated for Ang Lee’s Life of Pie n Best Original Song at the 85th Academy Awards but did not win.

2022 – Filmmakers Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas were nominated for documentary film ‘Writing with Fire’ at the 94th Academy Awards.

2023 – Naatu Naatu from SS Rajamouli’s RRR created history by becoming first Indian track to win the Academy Award in the Best Original Song category. Similarly, India’s short documentary ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ brought home an Oscar in the Best Documentary short film category at the 95th Oscar Awards.