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4 Moments From the 2023 Oscars That Had Recognized Asian Talent Indian cinema made by Indians who understand the country's culture, languages and diversity has resonated with foreign audiences. The 2023 Oscars had one of the greatest representations and here are four instances where Asians couldn't be prouder.

By Kavya Pillai

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One of the greatest communication tools is cinema as it is premised on creativity and free speech. When the South Korean film 'Parasite' highlighted a deep social division and economic inequalities in Korean society, it transcended communities and garnered global applause. The impact of the film was undeniable especially after winning the most prestigious cinematic award, the Oscars. The film became the first non-English language film to win in the Best Picture category at the Academy Awards.

This recognition paved the way for people to explore more global content through international films and TV shows to have a better understanding of countries, communities and cultures. Meryl Streep while accepting her lifetime achievement award at the 2017 Golden Globes said, "Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick them all out you'll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts," bringing attention towards the importance of diverse representation to recognise art globally.

Similarly, the Indian cinema industry has immensely contributed to the world's understanding of India. Indian cinema made by Indians who understand the country's culture, languages and diversity has resonated with foreign audiences. The 2023 Oscars had one of the greatest representations and here are four instances where Asians couldn't be prouder.

1. Best Original Song: Naatu Naatu

The 95th Academy Awards was one of the greatest nights for all cinema lovers but one duo in particular, music composer MM Keeravani and lyricist-singer Chandrabose. They won the Best Original Song award for their song Naatu Naatu from SS Rajamouli's film RRR. Keeravani and Chandrabose were presented the award by Janelle Monee and Kate Hudson along with deafening applause from the audience. The song beat other nominations by prominent artists like Lady Gaga, and Rihana for songs such as Applause (Tell It Like a Woman), Hold My Hand (Top Gun Maverick), Lift Me Up (Black Panther Wakanda Forever), and This is a Life (Everything Everywhere All at Once).

2. Indian Actor Presenter: Deepika Padukone

Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone was seen representing the country at the Oscars as a presenter and introduced the musical performance of RRR's Naatu Naatu with immense pride. Kaala Bhairava and Rahul Sipligunj performed the song live with dancers moving with the iconic hook steps. The performance garnered a standing ovation from the audience along with loud cheers, hoots and whistles. Padukone was one of the presenters at the prestigious awards among others like Halle Berry, John Travolta, Harrison Ford, and more. In her introduction, she called the song a 'banger', mentioned the millions of digital views the song received and cheekily warned the audience, "Do you know Naatu? Because you are about to."

3. Best Documentary: Elephant Whisperer

The first Indian production to win an Oscar was The Elephant Whisperers which won the Best Documentary Film award at the 95th Academy Awards. The documentary directed by Kartiki Gonsalves and produced by Guneet Monga showcases forest rangers and the Kattunayakan tribal community in Tamil Nadu. It highlights how they work together to live in harmony with nature and wild elephants. It also emphasizes the need to respect nature and encourages viewers to appreciate the importance of sustainability. In their acceptance speech, Gonsalves said, "I stand here today to speak for the sacred bond between us and our natural world, for the respect of indigenous communities, and empathy towards other living beings we share space with and finally, for coexistence."

4. Best Actress: Micheal Young

This year's Best Actress Award made history by having Michelle Yeoh as its recipient. The Malaysian-born actor is the first Asian woman to win an Oscar in this category for her stunning performance in the film Everything Everywhere All at Once. The actor beat other nominees that included past Oscar winner Cate Blanchett (Tár), as well as Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans), Ana de Armas (Blonde) and Andrea Riseborough (To Leslie). Her win has shackled stereotypes and boundaries. In her acceptance speech, she said, "For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibility. This is proof that dreams dream big and dreams do come true". "And ladies, don't let anyone ever tell you you're past your prime," she added.

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