Asians allege “step-motherly” treatment at Oscars

No nominations for “Made in Asia” films has been made in this year’s 82nd Academy Awards, which will be given coming Sunday at Hollywood (California, USA).

Acclaimed Indo-American statesman Rajan Zed has blamed American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for step-motherly treatment towards Asia. Asia had produced top class directors like Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu, Satyajit Ray, etc., but Asian films were mostly ignored as compared to European films and many good Asian films even did not make the nomination, Zed, who is chairperson of Indo-American Leadership Confederation, stressed in a statement issued in Nevada (USA) today.

Though four films with Asia-focused topics have been nominated—“Kavi”, “Burma VJ”, “The Cove”, and "China's Unnatural Disaster: The tears of Sichuan Province"—but none of these is produced in Asia.

“Kavi” (Gregg Helvey), nominated in “live action short film” category, is about a boy in India who wants to go to school and play cricket but is forced to work in a brick kiln as a modern-day slave. “Burma VJ” (Anders Østergaard), nominated in “documentary feature” category, is about monks’ protest in Burma. “The Cove” (Louie Psihoyos), also nominated in “documentary feature” category, is an investigative-journalism style venture about animal abuse and human health issues revolving around dolphins in Japan. "China's Unnatural Disaster: The tears of Sichuan Province" (Jon Alpert, Matthew O'Neill), nominated for “documentary short subject” category, is about a catastrophic earthquake hitting rural Sichuan Province in China.

Rajan Zed has also asked the Academy to introduce a new award category of “Best Bollywood Film” for films made in India. He said that India had the largest film industry in the world and thus it deserved at least one category in Oscars where its movies could compete among themselves. Foreign Language Film Award at Oscars, where only one picture was accepted from each country, did not do justice to such a large industry, Zed added.

Zed further urged the Academy to enroll more members from Bollywood and other film industries of India, in view of its size. Membership in the Academy is by invitation of the Board of Governors and is limited to those who have achieved distinction in the arts and sciences of motion pictures. It was unfair for such an influential cinema like India’s, not to have adequate representation at the Academy, Rajan Zed added.

Launched in 1927 and located in Beverly Hills (California), the Academy which gives Oscars is dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures. It has over 6,000 artists and professionals as honorary members and Tom Sherak (Rent) is its president, Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump) is the First Vice President, while Bruce Davis is the executive director. Awards, in the form of the gold statuette trophy of the Academy (Oscar), are conferred annually for the following categories currently: acting, animated feature film, art direction, cinematography, costume design, directing, documentary, film editing, foreign language film, makeup, music, best picture, short film, sound editing, sound mixing, visual effects, writing,  Testimonial Awards, Special Awards.