OSCARS 2023: World Goes ‘Naatu Naatu’ As India Scores Double Victory at 95th Academy Awards

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And finally, it happened! The worldwide sensation ‘Naatu Naatu’ from the blockbuster film RRR made history at the 95th Academy Awards. It became the first song from an Indian film to win an Oscar. 

And that’s not the end of the story. Scoring the second Oscar for India, ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ won in the Best Documentary Short film category. 

Moreover, India had a third chance to win the coveted statue with Shaunak Sen’s ‘All That Breathes’. But it did not win as “Navalny” took the award for Best Documentary Feature Film instead.

‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ was the clear winner of the award ceremony with seven wins out of 11 nominations. It received the Best Picture Oscar along with awards for direction and original screenplay. 

Michelle Yeoh and Brendan Fraser were both awarded Best Actress and Actor, respectively, for their heartwarming performances.

Jimmy Kimmel hosted the 95th annual Academy Awards held at Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. 

A Good Day For India

After A R Rahman, M M Keeravaani (along with lyricist Chandrabose) is the second composer from India to win an Oscar for an original song. During his acceptance speech, he sang a rendition of The Carpenters’ hit song “Top of the World.” 

Directed by S S Rajamouli and starring Ram Charan and Jr NTR, ‘RRR’ has become a worldwide blockbuster hit, and ‘Naatu Naatu’ was the odds-on favourite to win on Sunday night in Los Angeles. The song previously won the Golden Globe award for best song.

‘Naatu Naatu’ had stiff competition in the category as Lady Gaga’s Hold My Hand (Top Gun: Maverick) and Rihanna’s Lift Me Up (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) were also nominated

The live performance of the insanely energetic track ‘Naatu Naatu’ on the Oscar stage stole the show. Singers Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava performed while a group of dancers showcased the catchy dance moves in front of the who’s who of Hollywood royalty. 

Deepika Padukone introduced the live performance which received a standing ovation from the audience.

‘The Elephant Whisperer’ Producer Guneet Monga and director Kartiki Gonsalves accepted the award. The short documentary tells a story of the bond between an orphaned baby elephant and his caretakers who devote their lives to protecting him from poachers and raising him. 

“I stand here today to speak for the sacred bond between us and our natural world, for the respect of indigenous communities, and empathy towards other living beings we share space with and finally, for coexistence,” Gonsalves said in her acceptance speech.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the winners on Twitter hailing ‘Naatu Naatu’ as a song “to be remembered for years to come.” He also praised the makers of ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ for highlighting “the importance of sustainable development and living in harmony with nature.”

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also applauded both winners saying “their achievement has done India proud.”

Asian Domination at Oscars

Oscars 2023 are particularly significant for Asian and Asian American artists. Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian person to win for lead actress for her role in ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once.’

Her co-star Ke Huy Quan also won the award for a supporting role. In an emotional speech, he urged everyone to “not give up on their dreams.”

Daniel Kwan, one half of the directing duo of ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’, won for direction and writing an original screenplay.

Stephanie Hsu and Hong Chau were nominated for her supporting roles in ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ and ‘The Whale’ respectively. 

Other Asian talents recognized this year include Nobel Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro for his screenplay for ‘Living’ and Domee Shi, who directed Pixar’s animated feature Turning Red.

Complete List of the Oscar Winners

Best Picture: Everything Everywhere All at Once

Best Directing: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Brendan Fraser (The Whale)

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Michelle Yeoh (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

Best Animated Film: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Best International Feature Film: All Quiet on the Western Front — Germany

Best Adapted Screenplay: Sarah Polley (Women Talking)

Best Original Screenplay: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

Best Cinematography: James Friend (All Quiet on the Western Front)

Best Film Editing: Paul Rogers (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

Best Original Score: Volker Bertelmann (All Quiet on the Western Front)

Best Original Song: Naatu Naatu – Music by M.M. Keeravaani; Lyric by Chandrabose (RRR)

Best Documentary Feature: Navalny

Best Documentary Short Film: The Elephant Whisperers

Best Costume Design: Ruth Carter (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever)

Best Sound: Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson, Chris Burdon, and Mark Taylor (Top Gun: Maverick)

Best Live-Action Short Film: An Irish Goodbye

Best Animated Short Film: The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Adrien Morot, Judy Chin, and Anne Marie Bradley (The Whale)

Best Production Design: Christian M. Goldbeck and Ernestine Hipper (All Quiet on the Western Front)

Best Visual Effects: Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Saindon, and Daniel Barrett (Avatar: The Way of Water)

You can read the complete list of Oscar winners along with nominees in each category here.

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