Should Best Foreign Picture and Best Picture be merged into a single category at the Oscars?

Oscar Awards 2023: Recently in Los Angeles, USA Oscar Awards 2023 was organized. India also registered a big victory in this. ss rajamouli movie ‘rrr’ Naatu Naatu won the Best Original Song award, while The Elephant Whispers by Karthik Gonsalves won in the Short Documentary category. There itself ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ Along with Best Picture won the maximum number of awards. There was no major controversy this time regarding the presentation of the Oscar Awards, but some critics did raise questions regarding inclusivity and language-based foreign films.

foreign to international travel

It is worth noting that till 1956, no official category was created for foreign films in Oscars. When it started, this category was named ‘Best Foreign Language Feature’. This name remained intact until the Academy decided to change its name to ‘Best International Feature’ after the 2019 Oscar Awards. Explaining the new name, Larry Karaszewski and Diane Weirman, co-chairs of the Academy subcommittee that creates the Oscar Awards category, wrote, ‘We have noted that it has become an old tradition to refer to ‘foreign’ in the global filmmaking community. ‘ He had said, ‘We believe that the name International Feature Film will represent this category in a better way. Also, a positive, inclusive approach to filmmaking and the art of film will give universal experience. Through this article, the Academy told in 2019 how they realized the problem with this word. How the specificity of language and culture can complicate categorizing a medium of art in a rapidly changing world

Basic Problems of the Selection Process

First of all, know that the rules for selecting international films for nomination have been under controversy for some time. This process allows the respective countries to nominate films that best fit within the Academy’s rules. At the same time, the standard of the selection process for other categories is not the same, where the members of the Academy choose the films released throughout the year. Opponents of this process have their own arguments. They say the process gives governments troubled by authoritarian regimes and political practices an opportunity to put pressure on how Americans use the things they love as a starting point for Oscar nominations. Also, let’s decide what all the other countries of the world will see. This gives an opportunity to the governments of many countries to improve themselves and hide the socio-political conditions of their country which are shown in some films. He claims that instead of following a process like the Best Documentary Feature category, the Academy should do away with the country selection process altogether. This would mean that instead of individual countries, a committee of the Academy itself would decide which films are worthy of nomination.

the ethics of the question of language

The existence of this category only indicates that foreign language films will always be second only to English language American films. This gives a clear message that no foreign language film can be the best movie of that year, because it is made in a language other than English. The reality is that in the 21st century, language often becomes one of the factors by which a person’s culture is revealed. There should be only one reason used to decide whether a film is international or not. The problem with the concept of an ‘international film’ is that film or art itself can never be bound by regionalism. It is imperative that in a competitive economy film and art are no longer used as consumer products and Made to sell. But this type of category is no longer the norm in the Best Film selection body. The history of film shows that this relatively new art medium grew out of international collaboration and its language evolved from international inspiration shared between filmmakers coming from different countries. Despite this, dividing films on the basis of language under high artistic merit betrays both history and work.

Problem surfaced in Oscars 2023

During January 2020, Bong Joon-ho explained how to overcome the problem the audience faced due to subtitles while winning the Oscar for Best Picture. Parasite is the best example in this case, as it shows how many loopholes the system has. Actually, Korea’s movie wins the Best Film Award, but it does not win in the International category. This proves that the line between these categories is indeed arbitrary. According to the official Oscar rules, a film that uses too much English is considered insufficiently international. Recently, a similar issue came to the fore with the film Lionheart, which was presented by Nigeria as its official entry for the Oscars during 2020. The Academy disqualified the film because its language was mostly English, which is the official language of Nigeria. Despite being made in America and set in America, Minari was nominated as Best Foreign Language Film during the Golden Globe Awards. Even after mentioning America in the film, it was rejected only because the film was not entirely in American or English language.

Film is a universal language in itself

Movies are a universal language like music or mathematics. Story telling, its design and archetype is also universal, which is different from human geography. Many such examples are recorded in history. In many cases, the emotion inside the film is coded, which describes those ancient human response systems whose history is linked to our species. There is so much power in the film that it is able to tell the communication and propaganda of our time. Psychologists also tell how the film connects with our dreams and subconscious mind. Although, their connection does not happen immediately, but gradually with the change of thoughts, their effect is definitely visible. Banning or reducing the reach of such a very powerful medium in any way is not the best way forward. It is also important to note that in view of the competition, many people are providing movies directly on the internet. (Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are of the author. TV9 Bharatvarsha does not represent the views and facts of this article.)

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