Frames per second: Hullabaloo within the awards season


On the 69th Filmfare Awards ceremony in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, on 28 January, Ranbir Kapoor received the Greatest Actor award for his position within the motion drama movie ‘Animal’. This sparked an internet debate on whether or not the awards pretty recognised expertise and efficiency, and even had a watch to ethics.            

‘Animal’, directed by Sandeep Reddy Vanga, has earned greater than Rs 900 crore all over the world. However since its launch on 1 December final yr, it has been embroiled in controversy for its glorification of toxic masculinity, rampant sexism, and Islamophobia. Whereas Vanga hit again at critics for calling out his movie, Kapoor lately sparked extra controversy by claiming in an interview, timed for the movie’s Netflix launch, that ‘Animal’ has began a really wholesome dialog on poisonous masculinity.

Ranbir successful that award has prompted a number of commentators to marvel what sign it sends out to viewers and producers. Some have identified that the jury’s resolution stays particularly inscrutable as a result of a number of different actors delivered higher inventive or field workplace performances final yr.

Take, for instance, Shah Rukh Khan, who staged a remarkable comeback in 2023, with three monster hits in ‘Pathaan’, ‘Jawan’, and ‘Dunki’. Or Ranveer Singh, who delivered a layered efficiency in ‘Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani’, a movie that has been praised for its nuanced portrayal of contemporary love and gender politics. Or, for that matter, Vikrant Massey, who received the Greatest Actor (Critics) award for ‘12th Fail’, a much more poignant narrative of a poor, rural man’s battle as a civil service aspirant than the gratuitously violent revenge drama of ‘Animal’.

However this isn’t new on the Filmfares. As editor and movie buff Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri factors out in his splendidly trivial-filled article, the Filmfare awards have typically tripped up whereas rewarding efficiency. For example, R D Burman received his first Filmfare award for finest music director of the yr solely in 1982 for the simply forgotten movie ‘Saman Teri Kasam’, whereas his excellent albums for ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’ (1971), ‘Amar Prem’ (1972), ‘Yaadon Ki Baraat’ (1973), ‘Aandhi’ (1975), and several other others had been ignored.

Chaudhuri additionally writes how Aamir Khan, one of the crucial profitable and completed actors of his technology, repeatedly missed the Greatest Actor award to lesser performances, until lastly successful it for ‘Raja Hindustani’ (1996), considered one of his least likeable silver display outings. Aamir Khan stopped attending award ceremonies after shedding out to Shah Rukh Khan in 1995 as a result of he felt that the jury was partial. This yr, Shah Rukh Khan was on the receiving finish of an detached jury’s snub that denied him his ninth Filmfare Greatest Actor trophy.

Bollywood, after all, has no monopoly over controversies. In Hollywood, too, the nominations for the Academy Awards have sparked their very own share of controversies. However the ones which have taken social media and leisure journalism by storm are Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie, the director and lead actor of the billion-dollar ‘Barbie’, respectively, not being nominated of their classes.

Ryan Goslin, who acted as Ken within the movie and has been nominated within the Greatest Supporting Actor class, has mentioned he was disenchanted by the snub to his colleagues: “However there is no such thing as a Ken with out Barbie, and there’s no Barbie film with out Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie.” Hillary Clinton, former US secretary of state, has additionally tweeted in favour of Gerwig and Robbie.

In recent times, the Academy Awards have been criticised for not adequately recognising feminine expertise. Within the 94 years for the reason that Oscars had been first awarded in 1929, solely seven ladies have been nominated within the Greatest Director class, with solely three successful — Jane Campion for ‘The Energy of Canine’ (2021), Chloé Zhao for ‘Nomadland’ (2020), and Katherine Bigelow for ‘The Harm Locker’ (2008).

In 2018, Natalie Portman stood on stage on the Golden Globes and introduced, “Listed here are the all-male nominees” whereas presenting the Greatest Director award. And in 2020, whereas asserting the all-male Greatest Director nominations for the Oscars, actor Issa Rae declared: “Congratulations to these males.”

The organisers of the Oscars this yr are more likely to not lengthen an invite to both of them to current an award in the identical class, the place 4 male administrators have been nominated — Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”), Martin Scorsese (“Killers of the Flower Moon”), Jonathan Glazer (“The Zone of Curiosity”), and Yorgos Lanthimos (“Poor Issues”).

The one feminine nominee within the class this yr is Justine Triet for “Anatomy of a Fall”, the courtroom thriller for which she has already received the Palme d’Or on the 76th Cannes Movie Competition.

However not everyone seems to be satisfied that Gerwig and Robbie lacking out on the nominations is such an enormous loss. Commentators from the World South have described the movie for instance of “white feminism”, wedded to the market liberal ideas of its company sponsors. Others have additionally referred to as out its supporters like Clinton, who’ve discovered time to precise outrage over the movie’s lacking nomination however have remained silent over the struggling of Palestinian ladies in Gaza for the reason that present battle began in October final yr.

Moreover sexism, the Academy Awards have additionally been accused of racism. In 2016, an internet marketing campaign #OscarsSoWhite began calling out the Awards for disproportionately rewarding white performers, after a examine by the USC Annenberg College of Journalism and Communication confirmed that 92 per cent of high movie administrators until then had been males and 86 per cent of high movies featured white actors. Proper on the heels of the #BlackLivesMatter motion, the hashtag created by lawyer April Reign took Hollywood by storm and, within the opinion of the New York Instances, modified the Oscars.

Do awards just like the Filmfare and the Oscars nonetheless matter? Barrie Gunter, emeritus professor in media on the College of Leicester, UK, has demonstrated by means of an evaluation of field workplace performances of movies that “successful one of many huge awards (Greatest Actor/Actress in Main or Supporting Roles, Greatest Director and Greatest Image)” has a particular constructive affect on their earnings. One other educational examine from 2007 demonstrated that even being nominated on the Oscars led to “substantial monetary advantages”. If Hollywood and the Academy Awards are actually eager to shed the tag of being a bastion of white, male privilege, they need to proactively attempt to nominate extra folks of color and completely different genders.

There are not any research that I discovered concerning the monetary rewards of successful an award in India. However lately, even the once-venerable Nationwide Awards have been criticised for changing into a political software for the ruling occasion. When ‘The Kashmir Recordsdata’, which has been critiqued for blatant Islamophobia, was given the Nationwide Award for Greatest Movie for Nationwide Integration final yr, many criticised the choice as a reward for pro-government propaganda and never aesthetics.

This does depart a viewer questioning: What’s an award value — on the field workplace or for posterity?   

Uttaran Das Gupta is a New Delhi-based author and journalist. He teaches journalism at O.P. Jindal World College, Sonipat

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