Deepa Mehta's 'Water' in Oscar race

MUMBAI: Nominations for the 79th Academy Awards were announced yesterday. It is likely that Star Movies' ratings for the show, which it will air on 26 February, will be higher than last year.

That is because Deepa Mehta's Water is competing in the foreign film category.

The film deals with the plight of widows in India in the 1930s and was submitted by Canada. It stars John Abraham, Lisa Ray and Seema Biswas. The film was not allowed to be shot in India. The favourite to win the foreign language film award though is Pan's Labyrinth from Mexican filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro. Mongrel Media and Fox Searchlight, which released Water in Canada and 57 other countries, including the UK and Denmark, have, in the past few months, launched a nomination campaign in Hollywood to attract the attention of the Academy.

Best director is once again a fight between veterans Clint Eastwood and Martin Scorcese. Eastwood made two great second world war films Flags Of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima. He has ben nominated for the latter film which tells the story of the battle at Iwo Jima from Japan's perspective. It has Japanese subtitles.

The former releases in India tomorrow 25 January and tells the story from America's perspective. Scorcese has been nominated for the gangster film The Departed. Two years back Eastwood won for Million Dollar Baby beating Scorcese who had been nominated for The Aviator.

Best picture is less clear. Dreamgirls which had been considered the favourite has not been nominated for best film though it got a leading eight nominations. Besides the films of Eastwood and Scorcese the other films competing for best picture are The Queen about the two weeks following Princes Diana's death, the global film Babel which has five languages and the comedy Little Miss Sunshine. There is no front runner.

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