#OscarsSoWhite: Yes, Black Lives Matter, so do Indians and Pakistanis

Written by: Maitreyee Boruah
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Those who have watched the Oscars early Monday morning in India and Pakistan, they must have felt a sense of reassurance. Indian and Pakistani film personalities not only won awards, but made their presence felt as well.

It's good to cheer Dev Patel, the Hollywood actor of Indian-origin as a desi.

Oscars

A global event like the Oscars can't be just limited to the Hollywood. It is a worldwide phenomenon (let's admit it), even though hugely dominated by American films.

We in India and neighbouring Pakistan want a slice of the pie of the major entertainment event. What is wrong in it? In a coveted event like the Oscars, watched by millions across the globe, a mere mention of the name of a person and a country attracts several eyeballs.

The 88th Academy Awards will always remain special to the audiences both in India and Pakistan.
If Pakistani filmmaker SharmeenObaid-Chinoy's hard-hitting documentary, A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, on honour killing in Pakistan, won the best documentary (short subject) Oscar, Indo-British filmmaker Asif Kapadia won the best documentary (feature) Oscar for Amy, a heart-touching examination of singer Amy Winehouse's life and her tragic death at the age of 27.

Apart from these two big wins, how could we in India not feel proud about popular Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra, who looked gorgeous, as she handed over the Best Editing award to Margaret Sixel for Mad Max: Fury Road.

These moments, might be insignificant for an American or an English moviegoer, but leave a lasting impression in the minds of Indians and Pakistanis, who always want some kind of validation from the West.

This year, the Oscars faced a lot of flak. Black activists and film personalities have hugely criticised the lack of black nominees in the prestigious film awards.

Several hashtags like #OscarsSoWhite and #BlackLivesMatter vociferously slammed the exclusion of black artistes in the various categories for the Oscars.

Many Hollywood biggies like director Spike Lee, actor Will Smith and actress Jada Pinkett Smith boycotted the Academy Awards this year.

The angry reactions from various quarters against the Oscars were not without reasons.

As the Independent writes, "For the second year in a row, not a single non-white actor has been nominated for an award, even though 2015 saw stand-out performances from the likes of Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), Benicio Del Toro (Sicario) and Michael B Jordan (Creed). In solidarity, many people will not be attending the ceremony or tuning in. Here are just a few of those people."

Eventually, the Oscars tried its best to compensate its failure to recognise powerful black actors. The host of the show was the black actor-comedian Chris Rock.

"Chris Rock delivered a highly scrutinised and fairly funny opening monologue - and said he considered turning down the job of hosting the 88th Academy Awards ceremony ("Otherwise known as the White People's Choice Awards," Rock joked) after the academy's members once again collectively failed to nominate black performers and artists in major categories," writes The Washington Post.

In spite, of its fair share of controversy, the Academy Awards 2016 did manage to touch viewers across the globe. And, we here at the sub-continent are happy that our desi personalities shared the limelight on the Oscars red carpet.

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