February 29 2016
It’s a night when the industry comes out in its finest and the world pays attention and with the debate still raging over #OscarsSoWhite, we look at the what it meant for us as asianculturevultures…
THERE were some great moments last night from The 88th Oscars ceremony – at least four for the avid South Asian movie buff.
One of the best – if not the best for us – was undoubtedly British Asian Asif Kapadia getting an Oscar for his documentary feature, “Amy”.
A full 360 degree view of the jazz siren, www.asianculturevulture.com was privileged enough to be among the first to see it when it was shown to the press at the Cannes Film Festival 2015.
A typically immersive Kapadia film, it was both entertaining, moving and insightful. Read our review at the time.
We have interviewed the director before and hope to catch up with him at some point this year – he was at the GG2 Leadership Awards last October to collect the Arts, Media and Culture accolade.
Kapadia collected the award from actor Dev Patel, who is best known for “Slumdog Millionaire” and there was a nice moment when the two men hugged.
The newly decorated Oscar winner, who won a BAFTA with his very first film, “The Warrior” reminded us all that the film essentially was a tribute to a fallen star.
“This film is about Amy and showing the world who she really was, not the tabloid persona. We just wanted to make a film to show the world who she really was,” he said collecting the Oscar, alongside colleague James Gay-Rees.
The two dedicated the Oscar to Amy’s fans.
Predictably, some parts of the British press have reported Amy Winehouse’s father’s Mitch condemnation of the film, again.
He believes it doesn’t show his hugely talented and irrepressible daughter in the best of lights, but the truth of the matter, such as one might see it, is that Kapadia examines almost every possible factor behind Amy’s tragic trajectory. Inevitably some come off worse than others and Winehouse Senior is understandably hurt by the mere insinuation.
A little earlier, Pakistani origin Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy took home her second Oscar for a documentary short, “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”.
US HBO president Sheila Nevins and influential journalist Tina Brown had helped publicise her film about the plight of an honour murder attempt victim to the screen.
She also praised “men who champion women” like her own father, and said that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, will change the law on honour killing after watching the film. Her first Oscar was for “Saving Face” a film about women who had acid thrown on them as retribution for perceived slights.
Much of the off stage excitement surrounded Bollywood babe, Priyanka Chopra.
The winner of the US TV People’s Choice Awards in January for her part in new ABC drama, “Quantico”, which has a second series beginning in the US this week, stunned many with her arrival on the red carpet.
She won many plaudits for dress and the Indian papers were agog that the jewellery she wore was worth over £5m.
For those who pay attention to these sorts of things – the dress was by Lebanese designer, Zuhair Murad and the jewellery was by Lorraine Schwartz.
She presented the best editing award alongside Liev Schreiber and spoke confidently and assertively on her Oscars debut.
Elsewhere Chris Rock was a great host, and didn’t hold back from entering the #OscarsSoWhite debate, calling the ceremony, “The White People’s Choice Awards”.
There were several skits recreating some of the best known scenes from Oscar nominated movies but perhaps far more powerful and effective were the vox pop interviews he did outside a popular cinema in Compton, one of LA’s best known black neighbourhoods. These were both funny and illuminating.
The best speech mixing both humour and seriousness was from US comedian Louis CK, who presented the short film documentary award and joked that the Oscar would be going home in a Honda Civic.
There was much jubilation for a contemporary Hollywood icon.
Leonard DiCaprio made an impassioned speech accepting his first Oscar, making a stand against the “politics of greed” and emphasising that the “The Revenant” showed man and nature in the sharpest of reliefs, and warned against ignoring environmental concerns and said he did not take his Oscar for granted.
We are, of course, delighted “Spotlight” should take the best picture award.
If we can be a little bias here…
When journalism continues to be undervalued and our craft and purpose in covering the biggest issues of the day, routinely undermined and often belittled, it was good to see a film put journalists centre stage. The story is not about them but about the victims who had no voice and no one listened to them until these journalists started to…
Without the most courageous of our ilk wielding a pen or bashing out words on a computer, against the rich and powerful, we are all susceptible and vulnerable to those who wouldn’t want it any other way.
On that note, roll on acv film year 2016 and Oscars 2017…