Newton out of Oscar race, 9 films that are still in the running

The selection of Newton as India's official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars 2018 made many happy, but that happiness was short-lived

Rajkummar Rao starrer Newton is no longer in the running to win an Oscar in 2018. Amit V Masurkar’s film was submitted as India’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film, for the 90th Academy Awards.

The official website of Oscars announced that out of 92 titles submitted for the category, nine feature films have advanced to the next round:

A Fantastic Woman (Chile):  Directed by Sebastián Lelio, this film is about a trans woman whose grief at the death of her lover subjects her to societal discrimination and prejudice.

In the Fade (Germany): In this movie directed by Fatih Akin, the protagonist begins a quest for justice after her husband and 6-year-old son are killed by Neo-Nazis.

On Body and Soul (Hungary): Helmed by Ildikó Enyedi, this movie focuses on the story of a man and woman who learn they have same the dreams at night and go on a journey to turn their dream into reality.

Foxtrot (Israel): An affluent couple deals with the news of their son’s death in this heart-breaking film directed by Samuel Maoz.

The Insult (Lebanon): This French-Lebanese drama directed by Ziad Doueiri, talks about a minor incident between two Lebanese and Palestinian refugees, leading to courtroom drama.

Loveless (Russia): Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev, Loveless is the tale of a couple going through a divorce, and how their missing son brings them temporarily together. The NYT lauded the film for using a conventional story to tell the grim reality of Russia.

Felicite (Senegal): Directed by Alain Gomis, this movie tells the story of a singer who is in desperate need of money, after his son suffers a serious accident. In these trying times, she finds help from one of the regulars in the bar where she performs.

The Wound (South Africa): Helmed by John Trengove, the film talks about sexuality, masculinity and cultural identity of the traditional Xhosa initiation ceremony. The movie sparked a controversy with the Xhosa king demanding a ban on it, for the way it showed the community.

The Square (Sweden): The winner of Palme d’Or award at Cannes Film Festival, The Square is a dark comedy, directed by Ruben Östlund, and is about publicity around an art-installation in a museum. The film was lauded by critics for its poignant display of current times.

A general committee along with a 20-person executive committee, headed by producer and foreign committee chair Mark Johnson, selected the films for the next round. Out of these nine, the final five will be selected by a foreign committee.

Also read: Have faced humiliation for my skin colour: Newton actor Anjali Patil talks about her struggles

The omission of Newton is obviously disheartening for cinephiles pinning their hopes on it. Directed by Amit V Masurkar, the film highlighted the problems of India’s election system. Rajkummar Rao delivered a stellar performance, playing the role of an honest government employee trying his best to conduct elections in Maoist-ridden area of Chhattisgarh.

Rajkummar Rao in Newton

Upon selection of Newton, many Bollywood celebs including Anurag Kashyap, Hansal Mehta had applauded the selection. Even as reports of plagiarism in the movie raged – many believing it to be a copy of Iranian film Secret Ballot – Anurag Kashyap defended the movie fiercely. He put a screenshot of his conversation with the producer of Secret Ballot Marco Mueller, who confirmed there was no hint of plagiarism in Newton, putting an end to all speculations.

Screenshot from Facebook, Anurag Kashyap on Netwon

Screenshot from Facebook

Angelina Jolie’s First They Killed My Father, and Robin Campillo’s BPM (Beats Per Minute), also failed to make it to the next round despite doing well at film festivals. Newton had won ‘best film’, Rajkummar Rao won ‘best actor’ at the Screen Awards 2017 earlier this year.

Rajkummar Rao in Newton

Till now, only three Indian films, Mother India (1957), Salaam Bombay! (1988) and Lagaan: Once Upon A Time In India (2001) have managed to find a place in the ‘top five’ in the Best Foreign Language Film category, at the Academy Awards. Unfortunately, none of them won the honour.

Also read: Twitter’s comparison of Judwaa 2 with India’s Oscar entry Newton is unfair but brutally hilarious

The Academy Awards will be held on March 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles and will be televised live on ABC.

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