Indians who won Oscar Awards

The Academy Awards, popularly called the Oscar Awards are awards and recognition in the field of artistic and technical excellence in the film industry. Every year, in the month of January, the entire entertainment industry and the film fans community turn to the Academy Awards to know who is bestowed with the highest honours in the field of filmmaking.

This year’s Nomination Announcement for the Oscars took place on January 13, 2020 and the 92nd Oscars was aired live on February 2, 2020. There has already been a lot of buzz generated by this year’s winning movie, Parasite, which bagged awards in many different categories and we wish to take the discussion in another direction, to know about all our fellow Indians who have made the country and fans proud by bagging the prestigious Oscars till today. 

1. Bhanu Athaiya

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The first ever Indian to win this prestigious award, Bhanu Athaiya is a well known name in the Indian film industry. Being a costume designer, she has worked with several great names in Bollywood and noted filmmakers such as Yash Chopra, Guru Datt, Ashutosh Gowariker and Raj Kapoor. She definitely made India have its proud moment went she won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design for her notable work in the film Gandhi starring Ben Kingsley as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

2. Satyajit Ray

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Satyajit Ray in New York

An honorary recipient of the prestigious Oscar award, Satyajit Ray is considered one of the finest directors and filmmakers of Bengali, as well as Indian cinema as a whole. He has an outstanding record of works in his name and the world was so fascinated by his exemplary work and vision for his films that The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented Satyajit Ray with an honorary Oscar in the year 1992 to recognize his Lifetime Achievement. Since Ray was ill and bed ridden in a hospital, he was not able to attend the ceremony, however, he gave his acceptance speech from the hospital bed via a live video stream to the Academy.

3. A.R Rahman

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The living legend of India, A R Rahman, a great music composer, musician, singer, songwriter and music producer is without a doubt, one of the most precious gems the industry has given us and also one of the most respected music directors around the globe. His work for Danny Boyle’s movie Slumdog Millionaire was greatly accredited and he has bagged not one but two Oscars in the Best Song and Best Original Score category for Slumdog. In the same year, his song ‘O Saya’ was also nominated for the Oscars. He was also nominated again in the year 2011 for his work in 127 Hours.

4. Gulzar

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The legendary duo Gulzar and A R Rahman won the Academy award for Best Song for ‘Jai Ho’ from the critically loved movie Slumdog Millionaire. The mind behind the widely appreciated lyrics of the song, Gulzar once again proved why he is one of the most celebrated personalities in the field of writing as well as music and the song went ahead to become not just a national, but a global sensation. He has collaborated with A R Rahman for numerous projects over the years and their work for Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire bagged most of the major awards at the 81st Academy Awards.

5. Resul Pookutty

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An Indian sound editor, sound designer and sound mixer, Resul Pookutty was also one of the members of the Slumdog Millionaire team of artists to have received the Academy Award for his work in the Oscar winning film. Putting India on the global map once again, Pookutty won the award for Best Sound Mixing at the Oscars along with Ian Tapp and Richard Pryke.

Other than the names that we just mentioned, there are several other films, artists and filmmakers that made India feel proud because of their contribution to the international film fraternity. Over the last many decades, Indian cinematic masterpieces have been nominated for an Academy Award, along with some greatly talented artists and filmmakers. Mehboob Khan’s film Mother India was the first India movie to be nominated for an Oscar in the year 1958, that too for the Best Foreign Language Film category, long before Bhanu Athaiya became the first Indian to receive the award in the year 1983. Following that was acclaimed filmmaker Mira Nair’s film Salaam Bombay! Did not only gain major worldwide claim and appreciation for its portrayal of the young children living tough lives on the streets of Mumbai city, but was also nominated for an Academy Award under the Best Foreign Language Film category in the year 1989. In the year 2002, global blockbuster Lagaan starring Aamir Khan, a periodic drama film by Ashutosh Gowarikar was widely critically acclaimed and was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film. In the year 1978, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and K.K. Kapil’ documentary An Encounter with Faces was nominated by the Academy in the Best Documentary (Short Subject) category. A great filmmaker of Indian origin, Ismail Merchant has been nominated for the Best Picture category thrice in the years 1987, 1993 as well as 1994. He was also nominated again in the year 1961 under the category Best Short Subject (Live Action).

In the year 2005, Little Terrorist by the filmmaker Ashwin Kumar was also nominated under the Best Short Subject (Live Action) category. Pt. Ravi Shankar was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Music Score for the 1982 movie Gandhi in the year 1983.

Dev Patel, a nominee of an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his work in the film Lion in the year 2017 at the 89th Annual Academy Awards broke the internet when he brought along his mother as his date to the event.

Indians have also marked their places by having presented the Academy Award. Indian actress Persis Khambatta, known for her role as Princess Ilia in the movie Star Trek: A Motion Picture was the first Indian to present an award at the Oscars in 1980, alongside William Shatner. An international star, Priyanka Chopra also presented an award in the Best Film Editing Category in the year 2016.

Do let us know in the comments if we missed someone out or if you feel that some of your favourites deserved to win an Oscar!

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