India Snubs Hit Musical ‘RRR,’ Chooses ‘Last Film Show’ for the Oscars International Race

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Sarigama Cinemas

India has submitted Pan Nalin’s “Last Film Show” to the Oscars for consideration in the Best International Feature Film category, bypassing the worldwide sensation “RRR” — the extravagant musical directed by S.S. Rajamouli that has grossed an impressive $11.3 million at the North American box office this year.

Instead, the country’s selection committee went with “Last Film Show,” a coming-of-age drama that was compared to “Cinema Paradiso” after its premiere at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. In the vein of Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans” and James Gray’s “Armageddon Time,” it is a semi-autobiographical work based on moments from its director’s childhood.

The decision was reminiscent of the choice in 2013 to send “The Good Road” to the Oscars over “The Lunchbox,” which had been considered an all-but-certain nominee if it had been chosen.

India has sent 54 films to the Oscars dating back to 1957, landing three nominations with no wins. It has not been nominated since 2001’s “Lagaan.”

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“RRR” had been widely tapped as a strong contender in the international category this year, along with films that include Austria’s “Corsage,” Belgium’s “Close,” Germany’s “All Quiet on the Western Front,” Poland’s “EO” and South Korea’s “Decision to Leave.”

At this point, more than 50 countries have submitted films to the Oscars international race. A selection committee from each eligible country is authorized by the Academy to choose one film for consideration, with other films from that country ineligible in the category.

In response to the snub of “RRR,” Dylan Marchetti, the president of the film’s U.S. distributor, Variance Films, released the following statement encouraging Oscar voters to consider “RRR” in all the mainstream categories:

Over the last six months, we have seen the joy that S.S. Rajamouli’s RRR has brought to global audiences.  

We have seen the film gross over $140 million worldwide to become one of India’s highest grossing films of all time, and become the first film in history to trend globally on Netflix for over 14 weeks.

We have seen the film fill up theaters with cheering audiences months after its initial release, including the historic TCL Chinese IMAX theater in Hollywood, where it will play next Friday to an audience who sold out of one the largest theaters in the country in just 15 minutes. 

Most importantly, we have heard fans from around the world tell us that they believe this is one of the best films of the year, from any nation.  We agree.

We proudly invite the Academy to consider S.S. Rajamouli’s RRR in all categories:

BEST MOTION PICTURE
BEST DIRECTOR – S.S. Rajamoul
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – S.S. Rajamouli (Story by V. Vijayendra Prasad)
BEST ACTOR – N.T. Rama Rao Jr.
BEST ACTOR – Ram Charan
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – Ajay Devgn
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Alia Bhatt
BEST ORIGINAL SONG – “Naatu Naatu”
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – M.M. Keeravaani
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
BEST FILM EDITING
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
BEST SOUND
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

A special screening, followed by a Q&A with director S.S. Rajamouli, will take place at the TCL Chinese Theater Imax on Friday, Sept. 30.

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