Tamil film Soorarai Pottru, which stars South star Suriya and is directed by Sudha Kongara, has been selected to be a part of the Academy Screening Room for the consideration of the Oscars Voting Committee. This enables the film to be in the race for an Academy Award under the General Category in Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Original Score and others.
On Republic Day, producer of the film Rajsekar Pandian took to Twitter to announce the news. He wrote, "Happy Republic Day! #SooraraiPottru joins OSCARS under General Category in Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Original Score and other categories! The film has been made available in the Academy Screening Room today."
Happy Republic Day! #SooraraiPottru joins OSCARS under General Category in Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Original Score & other categories! The film has been made available in the Academy Screening Room today 👍🏼👍🏼 @Suriya_offl #SudhaKongara @gvprakash @TheAcademy pic.twitter.com/6Pgem7ZUSy— Rajsekar Pandian (@rajsekarpandian) January 26, 2021
Here is a simple breakdown of the process of joining the Oscars race. For many years, the eligibility criteria laid down by The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences was that a film had to be released in the United States for a minimum of one week for it to be eligible for nominations by the Oscars Committee. However, since the coronavirus pandemic, The Academy eased the eligibility rules for the awards and allowed films that skipped theatrical releases and opted for an OTT platform to be able to contest.
"The film must be made available on the secure Academy Screening Room member-only streaming site within 60 days of the film's streaming or VOD release," according to the official website. The film's screener must be sent to the Committee by the film's producer, and if it gets accepted, the film will be one step closer to a potential nomination.
Importantly, these changes in the eligibility rules are not permanent. "On a date to be determined by the Academy, and when theaters reopen in accordance with federal, state and local specified guidelines and criteria, this rules exemption will no longer apply. All films released thereafter will be expected to comply with the standard Academy theatrical qualifying requirements," The Academy says.
Hence, Soorarai Pottru is on the race for potential nomination as co-producer Rajsekar Pandian reached out to the Academy to send the film to its Screening Room. Apart from this, Lilo Jose Pellissery's Jalikattu is India's official entry for Oscars under the Best International Feature Film category and Karishma Dev Dube's short film Bittu has joined the run for Oscars in Best Live Action Short category.