Filmmaker Lijo Jose Pellissery's "Jallikattu", India's official entry in the Best International Feature category at the 93rd Academy Awards, is out of the Oscars race. The Malayalam-language movie is not part of the shortlist of 15 features that will be vying for a spot in the final five, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced on Wednesday. Thomas Vinterberg’s "Another Round", starring Mads Mikkelson, has made it to shortlist that also include Andrei Konchalovsky’s "Dear Comrades!" (Russia), Agnieszka Holland's "Charlatan" (Czech Republic) and two documentaries -- "The Mole Agent" from Chile and "Collective" from Romania.
The other contenders are "Quo Vadis, Aida?" (Bosnia and Herzegovina), "Two of Us" (France), "La Llorona" (Guatemala), "Better Days" (Hong Kong), "Sun Children" (Iran), "Night of the Kings" (Ivory Coast), "I’m No Longer Here" (Mexico), "Hope" (Norway), "A Sun" (Taiwan) and "The Man Who Sold His Skin" (Tunisia).
Films from 93 countries were eligible in the category. In the nominations round, Academy members from all branches are invited to opt-in to participate and must view all 15 shortlisted films in order to cast a ballot. The final nominations for the Oscars will be announced on March 15.
Pellissery's "Jallikattu" is based on the short story Maoist by Hareesh and stars Antony Varghese, Chemban Vinod Jose, Sabumon Abdusamad and Santhy Balachandran.
The film had its premiere on September 6, 2019 at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival and received widespread critical acclaim. Pellissery had also won the best director trophy at the 50th International Film Festival of India in 2019.
No Indian film has ever won an Oscar. The last Indian film that made it to the final five in the Best International Feature category was Ashutosh Gowariker's "Lagaan" in 2001
"Mother India" (1958) and "Salaam Bombay" (1989) are the other two Indian movies to have made it to the top five.
In 2019, Zoya Akhtar's "Gully Boy", starring Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt, was India's entry to the Oscars.
The 93rd Academy Awards, which were postponed from their usual February date due to the coronavirus pandemic, will be held on April 25.