Can India's Oscars 2024 entry 2018 undo the wrongs of RRR snub last year?

Ayaan Paul
Ayaan PaulSep 27, 2023 | 13:55

Can India's Oscars 2024 entry 2018 undo the wrongs of RRR snub last year?

It seems like India is ready to dazzle on the Oscars stage once again, and this time, Jude Anthany Joseph's critically acclaimed Malayalam drama 2018: Everyone Is A Hero has clinched the coveted spot as India's official entry for the 2024 Oscars in the Best International Film category.


2018 has been chosen as India's official submission by a jury led by renowned director Girish Kasaravalli. 

  • The film unfolds a narrative chronicling the devastating 2018 floods that swept through Kerala. Spanning over 150 minutes, 2018 weaves together the experiences of multiple characters affected by relentless rainfall and catastrophic environmental policies, and stars Tovino Thomas in its lead role. 
  • The film was funded by Venu Kunnappilly, CK Padma Kumar, and Anto Joseph under the banners of Kavya Film Company and PK Prime Productions and has achieved remarkable success at the box office, with critics and audiences alike lauding its performances and storytelling.
  • And to make sure no one misses out on the action, it's also been dubbed into Hindi too to increase its accessibility.

Selection process

The process of selecting India's Oscar entry is no less dramatic than the films themselves. The Film Federation of India (FFI) assembles a selection committee every year, tasked with finding the film that best represents the nation's cinematic prowess across its multitude of languages.

This year, 22 films were shortlisted by the FFI including,

  • Sudipto Sen’s highly controversial The Kerala Story, which, interestingly, hit the screens on the same day that 2018 did,
  • As well as, Vaalvi, Gadar 2, Balagam, Dasara, Zwigato, The Storyteller, Rocky aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani, Music School, Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway, Ghoomer, Viduthalai Part 1, Baap Layak and 12th Fail.

Despite India's rich cinematic history, it has never clinched the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. However, a few Indian productions have made it to the final nominations, including Mother India (1957), Salaam Bombay! (1988), and Lagaan (2001). 

Recent years have seen selections like The Last Picture Show (2022), Koozhangal (2021), Jallikattu (2020), Gully Boy (2019), and Village Rockstars (2018). 

The controversies

However, the selection process for India's Oscar entry has often been mired in controversy. Criticisms have ranged from favouring films tailored for American audiences, to tilting towards arthouse cinema.

In 2013, The Lunchbox was overlooked in favour of The Good Road, and last year, The Last Picture Show was chosen instead of SS Rajamouli’s RRR.

Despite RRR not being the official selection, it clinched India's first-ever Oscar in the Best Original Song category for MM Keeravani's Naatu Naatu.


This year, the Ravi Kottarakara-led FFI have thrown their weight behind 2018, hoping it'll make a big splash at the Oscars.

While representing India at the Oscars is undeniably prestigious, it comes with considerable pressure for producers. Many international festival darlings enjoy greater familiarity with Oscar voters than Indian titles, intensifying the competition.

"It's a moment of pride for us. It was wonderful shooting for it and the film broke all records in Kerala. Globally, 2018 was lauded by people and broke many milestones. It documented the emotions of the people, which is why it was relatable to many. Since, it is a real story, it managed to reach wider audience."
- Malayalam actor Kunchacko Boban, who played one of the lead roles in the film, speaks to India Today

Moreover, Indian filmmakers must contend with well-funded productions backed by major studios.

To know more about Oscar campaigning and the awards race, have a look at How To Win An Oscar

India at Oscars 2023

Nonetheless, India made a notable impact at the 2023 Oscars, securing three nominations in diverse categories and walking away with two awards. 

  • Naatu Naatu won Best Original Song, 
  • Kartiki Gonsalves's The Elephant Whisperers triumphed in the Best Documentary (Short) category, and 
  • Shaunak Sen's All That Breathes was short-listed in the Documentary Feature Film category.

The 96th Oscars are slated to be broadcast live on ABC on Sunday, March 10, 2024, from Los Angeles's Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood. 

The submission deadline for the 2024 Academy Awards might be looming, but for now, let's hope 2018 will rectify the wrongs of RRR’s snub.

Last updated: September 27, 2023 | 16:01
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