The American film industry and the Academy Awards in particular may be embroiled in an at-times ugly row over diversity in Hollywood but the 88th Academy Awards, held in Los Angeles on Sunday night, was a good one for filmmakers of South Asian origin.
British Asian filmmaker Asif Kapadia’s powerful tribute to the late London-born jazz singer Amy Winehouse, ‘Amy’, won the Best Documentary Feature Oscar at the awards held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
The Oscar is the latest in a long-line of honours for Kapadia, 43,who has already bagged a Grammy and a BAFTA for the film which charts the meteoric rise and tragic death in 2011 from alcohol poisoning of Winehouse.
The singer was just 27 at the time of her death.
Kapadia used hundreds of hours of archive footage and interviews with friends and family to shed light on Winehouse’s’ prodigious talent as well as her battle with addiction.
“Thank you the Academy for showing love to the film. We wanted to show who Amy really was, a funny intelligent, witty and a special girl,” Kapadia said.
The Oscar win for ‘Amy’ is the first Academy Award for Kapadia who shares the award with producer James Gay-Rees who also produced Kapadia’s similarly acclaimed last documentary ‘Senna’ – about the Formula One racing legend Ayrton Senna.
Minutes before Kapadia bagged his Oscar, Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short for her honour-killing film ‘A Girl In The River’.
The win came four years after Obaid-Chinoy became her country’s first and only Oscar-winner for ‘Saving Face’ which followed a London-based plastic surgeon who travels to his native Pakistan to carry out life-altering reconstructive surgery on victims of acid attacks.
‘A Girl In The River’ tells the story of ‘Saba’, an 18-year-old girl from rural Pakistan who is hunted by her father and uncle after she falls in love and elopes.
Unlike the hundreds of girls and women who become victims of so-called “honour killings” in the country Saba manages to escape and survives to tell her story.
Accepting her award, a triumphant Obaid-Chinoy said: “This is what happens when determined women get together. This week the Pakistani prime minister has said that he will change the law on honour killing after watching this film.
“That is the power of film”, she said.