Has Vivek Agnihotri's The Kashmir Files Been Shortlisted For The Oscars?
The film has made it to the Reminder List of Productions along with 300 other films; this does not however guarantee a place in the Academy nominations expected later this month.
Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri misleadingly claimed on Tuesday that his movie The Kashmir Files has been shortlisted by the Academy Awards for the 2022 Oscars, a claim that was amplified by several Indian news outlets.
BOOM found Agnihotri's tweets to be an exaggeration as the film has qualified for the Oscars along with 300 other films. The qualification does not confirm a nomination at the Oscars. The Academy Award nominations will be announced later this month on January 24, 2023.
In a tweet on January 10, Agnihotri wrote, "BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: #TheKashmirFiles has been shortlisted for #Oscars2023 in the first list of @TheAcademy. It's one of the 5 films from India. I wish all of them very best. A great year for Indian cinema." (sic.)
The Kashmir Files, which is based on the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits in the valley in the 90s, was one of the highest grossing films in India last year. The film was also endorsed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and was made tax-free in several Bharatiya Janata Party ruled states. The provocative film also split film audiences. The movie was at the centre of a controversy when Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid termed it "vulgar propaganda" at an international film festival in Goa last year. Lapid was a jury member at the festival which was attended by a few state and central ministers.
In a second tweet, Agnihotri further claimed that the actors in the film Pallavi Joshi, Anupam Kher, Mithun Chakraborty and Darshan Kumaar, have been shortlisted in the best actor categories and attached a screenshot with the actors names.
News Outlets Amplify Misleading Claim
Several Indian news outlets latched on to Agnihotri's tweets and claimed that The Kashmir Files has been shortlisted for the 95th Oscars this year. A Zee News article claimed, "Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri expressed his happiness on Twitter and made the big announcement of his widely acclaimed film 'The Kashmir Files' being shortlisted in the race to Oscars 2023." Click here for the archive of the article. The official Facebook page of All India Radio News (AIR News) amplified Agnihotri's claims and wrote, "Bollywood film #TheKashmirFiles has been shortlisted for #Oscars2023." Republic World also wrote about the 'shortlist' of The Kashmir Files in a news report. "Vivek Agnihotri's 'The Kashmir Files' Makes It To Oscars 2023 Shortlist; Actors Anupam Kher, Mithun Chakraborthy, Darshan Kumar and Pallavi Joshi are also shortlisted for the best actor category, according to Vivek Agnihotri." Read Times Now's report on the Agnihotri's announcement here.
Film Critics Temper Expectations
Meanwhile film critics Aseem Chhabra and Mayank Shekhar tempered expectations by explaining that the film has not been shortlisted yet but instead has qualified for the Oscars.
"I have no idea where the word shortlisting has come about from. I have no idea exactly what we are celebrating in this particular thing...," film critic Mayank Shekhar said in a panel discussion with News18. "This is like you have got an admission ticket for an exam and now you have to go for the exam... it doesn't mean anything," he further said during the discussion.
BOOM breaks down why Vivek Agnihotri's tweets and resultant coverage by Indian news outlets are premature.
The list of films which have been shortlisted for 10 categories for the 95th Oscars was released on December 21, 2022. The shortlist in 10 categories includes four films from India – Last Film Show (International Feature Film), All That Breathes (Documentary Feature Film), Naatu Naatu from RRR (Music Original Song), The Elephant Whisperers (Documentary Short Film). The shortlist however does not include The Kashmir Files.
On January 9, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) released a press release which said 301 feature films are eligible and have qualified for the 2022 Academy Awards.
The release laid down the criteria that makes a film eligible for the 95th Academy Awards.
"To be eligible for consideration under rules implemented for the 95th Academy Awards year, feature films must open in a commercial motion picture theater in at least one of six U.S. metropolitan areas: Los Angeles County; the City of New York; the Bay Area; Chicago, Illinois; Miami, Florida; and Atlanta, Georgia, between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022, and complete a minimum qualifying run of seven consecutive days in the same venue. Feature films must have a running time of more than 40 minutes," the release states.
This shows that any feature film must be more than 40 minutes of length to qualify in the Reminder List that Vivek Agnihotri has referred to in the tweets. The film has to be released commercially in one of the six US metropolitan areas between January and December 2022 and has to run for seven consecutive days in the venue to make the cut to the Reminder List of Productions at the Academy Awards.
Along with the release, the Academy Awards also released what is known as a Reminder List. The screenshots Agnihotri used in his tweets are from this list. Below is a comparison of the same.
BOOM reached out to senior film journalist and critic Aseem Chhabra who said, "Films like The Kashmir Files, Kantara: The Legend and Gangubai Kathiawadi have just qualified as of now. It does not mean that the film has been shortlisted or nominated by the Academy yet."
"The Academy members will watch the films and then announce the final nominations," Chhabra explained.
The Academy nominations will be announced on January 24, 2023. Meanwhile voting on the nominations begins from January 12 and concludes on January 17.
BOOM also reached out to Academy Award winner for Best Sound Mixing Resul Pookutty to know more.
"The film's entry is only a submission that has gone through a vetting process where these films can be considered by the Academy and members can now vote," Pookutty clarified.
Pookutty further broke down and referred to the selection process of the National Awards. "It is like all the films that are released in a particular year and censored before December 31 is qualified to be considered for the National Award. Likewise, the Academy jury and members at large shall be voting and a list of five films in each technical category and 10 films in Best Picture category will be announced. The nomination voting will begin on January 12."
The 95th Oscars will be held on March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood
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