However, documentary feature ‘Writing With Fire’, about Dalit women-run news portal Khabar Lahriya, has advanced to the next round, the Academy said.

A man and his son standing some distance away in a village street in the poster of Tamil film Koozhangal
Flix Academy awards 2022 Wednesday, December 22, 2021 - 10:50

The critically acclaimed Tamil film Koozhangal (Pebbles), India's official entry in the international feature film category at the 2022 Academy Awards, is out of the Oscars race. On the other hand, Indian documentary feature Writing With Fire has entered the next round, according to the shortlists announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences early Wednesday, December 22.

In the international feature film category, 15 films are still in the running for the top prize. Films from 92 countries were eligible in the category. Japanese film Drive My Car, Flee representing Denmark, Asghar Farhadi's A Hero from Iran, and The Hand of God hailing from Italy are billed as frontrunners in this category. Great Freedom (Austria), Playground (Belgium), I'm Your Man (Germany), Hive (Kosovo), Prayers for the Stolen (Mexico), The Worst Person in the World (Norway), Plaza Catedral (Panama), Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (Bhutan), Compartment No. 6 (Finland), Lamb (Iceland) and The Good Boss (Spain) are also part of this line-up.

Koozhangal is helmed by first-time director Vinothraj PS. The film follows the story of an alcoholic man and his son, who set off to bring their wife/mother back home after she goes to her parents’ home. The film was screened at several international film festivals, including the prestigious International Film Festival of Rotterdam, where it became the first Tamil film to win the Tiger Awards, and the Shanghai Film Festival. It was also recently nominated for the Spirit Awards in the US, which are held a day before the Oscars.

Read: Selling DVDs to directing India's Oscar entry, an interview with filmmaker Vinothraj

Writing With Fire chronicles the rise of Khabar Lahariya, India's only newspaper run by Dalit women. The documentary is directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh, also debutants. The film follows this ambitious group led by their chief reporter, Meera, as the team switches from print to digital in order to stay relevant.

Fifteen films have advanced in the documentary feature category for the 94th edition of the Academy Awards. One hundred thirty-eight films were eligible in the category. Other titles in the list are: Ascension, Attica, Billie Eilish: The World's a Little Blurry, Faya Dayi, The First Wave, Flee, In the Same Breath, Julia, President, Procession, The Rescue, Simple as Water, Summer of Soul ( Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), and The Velvet Underground .

The Academy also announced shortlists in eight other categories for the upcoming awards ceremony: documentary short subject, makeup and hairstyling, music (original score), music (original song), animated short film, live action short film, sound and visual effects.

The final nominations will be announced on February 8, with the awards ceremony scheduled to be held on March 27.

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