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All The South Asian Representation at the Oscars That I Would Have Loved To Have Seen as a Little Girl

A massive night for diversity!

Ram Charan and Jr NTR in 'RRR'.

I have never in my life seen the South Asian community take over a mainstream world stage as I did at the 95th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on March 12, 2023. Yes, the night was a massive success for diversity, with Michelle Yeoh becoming the first Asian woman to win the Best Actress gong for Everything Everywhere All at Once. But with some historic wins, iconic presenters taking to the stage to announce major awards, and of course, that absolutely mesmerizing, toe-tapping performance, the fact that I saw Brown people who look like me being celebrated at such a high level was something my younger self would have loved.

So, in honour of all those other creative young girls right now who are in significant need of inspiration and knowledge that the arts industry can be for them too, here are all the key South Asian moments at the 2023 Oscars that were unbelievably heartwarming

Firstly, even being a presenter at the Oscars is a big deal, and stunning Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone took her opportunity and ran with it as she took to the stage to introduce the “Naatu Naatu” song performance. We also saw icons such as Mindy Kaling presenting the award for Best Original Score, while former Oscar winner Riz Ahmed gave out the Best Documentary Feature film award. Meanwhile, YouTuber turned talk show host Lilly Singh was the co-presenter of the official pre-Oscars show.

During the ceremony, “Naatu Naatu,” from the S. S. Rajamouli-directed film RRR, won Best Original Song as a part of the first Indian feature film to be nominated, let alone win the category. Later, The Elephant Whisperers, by Indian filmmakers Kartiki Gonsalves and Guneet Monga, won the Best Documentary Short category, which also saw Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai nominated for Stranger at the Gate. Elsewhere, while it didn’t win, Shaunak Sen, Aman Mann, and Teddy Leifer’s All That Breathes, centered on two Delhi boys attempting to save a majestic black kite, a bird of prey essential to their city’s ecosystem, was nominated at the Best Documentary Feature Film.

Returning to the incredible Malala, she became a trending topic on social media for her epic and very Malala-like response to Jimmy Kimmel’s random question during the ceremony. When the Oscars host asked if she thought Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine during the Don’t Worry Darling press tour last year, she responded, “I only talk about peace.” Brilliant.

And finally, South Asians are born performers, which was evident by the ever-so-brilliant, energetic, colourful and brilliant choreographed performance of Telugu-language “Naatu Naatu” with Rahul Sipligunj, and Kaala Bhairava having the whole audience up on their feet. Just what the world needed!

(featured image: DVV Entertainment)

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