India's official entry for Oscars 2021, Jallikattu, is no longer in the race

Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Malayalam film is not included in the Best International Feature Film category shortlist
India's official entry for Oscars 2021, Jallikattu, is no longer in the race

The critically acclaimed Malayalam movie Jallikattu, which was the official entry by India in the Best International Feature Film category for the Oscar Awards this year, did not make it to the shortlist for the upcoming 93rd Academy Awards.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Wednesday announced shortlists for nine categories: Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, International Feature Film, Makeup and Hairstyling, Music (Original Score), Music (Original Song), Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, and Visual Effects.

However, Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Malayalam-language film did not feature in the shortlist.

In the International Feature Film category, 15 films have made it to the next round of voting. Films from 93 countries were eligible under this category.

In the nominations round, Academy members from all branches will be invited to participate and view all 15 shortlisted films to cast a ballot.

The movies that are still in the race for the Best Foreign Film Oscar are: Quo Vadis, Aida? (Bosnia and Herzegovina), The Mole Agent (Chile), Charlatan (Czech Republic), Another Round (Denmark), Two Of Us (France), La Llorona (Guatemala), Better Days (Hong Kong), Sun Children (Iran), Night Of The Kings (Ivory Coast), I’m No Longer Here (Mexico), Hope (Norway), Collective (Romania), Dear Comrades! (Russia), A Sun (Taiwan), and The Man Who Sold His Skin (Tunisia).

Jallikattu (referring to a bull-taming sport), which is an action drama released in 2019, is based on the short story ‘Maoist’ by Hareesh. The film stars Antony Varghese, Chemban Vinod Jose, Sabumon Abdusamad, and Santhy Balachandran. 

The story revolves around a buffalo that flees from a slaughterhouse in a remote hill town of Kerala and ends up unleashing pandemonium as the townsfolk go on a hunt for it. As the hapless animal runs riot about town, the plot brings alive the vicious side of humanity.

The movie was played on September 6, 2019, at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and received a massive response. Pellissery had also won the Best Director trophy at the 50th International Film Festival of India in 2019.

No Indian movie has ever won an Oscar. The last Indian film that made it to the final five in the Best International Feature category was Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan in 2001. Mother India (1958), and Salaam Bombay (1989) are the other two Indian movies that made it to the top five. In 2019, Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy, starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, was India’s entry to the Oscars.

The final nominations for the Oscars will be announced on March 15. This year, the award gala will be held on April 25 since it was postponed from its usual date in February due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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