Indian submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
India has submitted films for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film since 1957, a year after the incorporation of the category. The award is given annually by the United States Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States that contains primarily non-English dialogue.The “Best Foreign Language Film” category was not created until 1956; however, between 1947 and 1955, the Academy presented a non-competitive Honorary Award for the best foreign language films released in the United States.
The Film Federation of India (FFI) appoints a committee to choose one film among those released that year to be submitted as India’s official entry to the Academy for a nomination for “Best Foreign Language Film” the following year.The chosen films, along with their English subtitles, are sent to the Academy, where they are screened for the jury. The 1957 Hindi film Mother India was India’s first submission. The film made it to the final shortlist and was nominated alongside four other films in the category. It came close to winning the Academy Award but lost to Nights of Cabiria by a single vote. Since 1984, India has not submitted a film on only one occasion; in 2003, the FFI controversially chose not make an entry as they felt no film would be in a position to compete with films from other nations. As of 2014, only three Indian films—Mother India, Salaam Bombay! and Lagaan —have been nominated for the Academy Award for “Best Foreign Language Film”. In 2011, the jury of the 58th National Film Awards made a recommendation that films winning Best Film at the annual National Film Awards should be the official entry. However, over the next three years, none of the “Best Film” winners was chosen as the official entry. For the 88th Academy Awards, Court, the “Best Film” winner at the 62nd National Film Awards, was submitted by India.