The Oscars are the most prestigious awards in the entertainment industry around the globe. The awards are annually presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. India has gained international recognition at the Academy Awards quite a few times, be it for costume design, songs, sound mixing, or short documentary.

Source: Oscars

Keeping this in mind, here’s everything you should know about how the Indian cinema has performed at the Oscars so far. Let’s check it out.


1. Bhanu Athaiya- Best Costume Design- Gandhi (1983)

Bhanu Athaiya was the first Indian to receive an Oscar award. Athaiya won the trophy in the Best Costume Design category for the 1982 film, Gandhi. The award-winning costume designer died in 2020.

Source: Indian History Pics

2. Satyajit Ray- Lifetime Achievement (1992)

Veteran filmmaker Satyajit Ray received an Honorary Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 64th Oscars for his “rare mastery of the art of motion pictures”. Ray couldn’t attend the ceremony as he was hospitalised in Calcutta (now Kolkata) back then due to ill health. He died a month later.

Source: Indian History Pics

3. AR Rahman- Best Original Score- Slumdog Millionaire (2009)

2009 was a great year for the Indian cinema at Oscars. Veteran music composer AR Rahman won the Best Original Score for Danny Boyle’s 2008 film, Slumdog Millionaire. Rahman also bagged the Best Original Song award for Jai Ho.

Source: AP

4. Gulzar- Best Original Song- Jai Ho (2009)

Veteran lyricist Gulzar shared the aforementioned award with Rahman. While Rahman lent the music, Gulzar penned its lyrics.

Source: Anupama Chopra

5. Resul Pookutty- Best Sound Mixing- Slumdog Millionaire (2009)

Sound designer Resul Pookutty won the Best Sound Mixing award for Slumdog Millionaire at the Oscars the same year. Pookutty shared the award with Richard Pryke and Ian Tapp at the ceremony.

Source: Getty Images

6. Chandrabose and MM Keeravani- Best Original Song- Naatu Naatu (2023)

Cut to 2023, lyricist Chandrabose and music composer MM Keeravani bagged the prestigious awards for Naatu Naatu in the Best Original Song category. The track is from SS Rajamouli’s 2022 film, RRR.

Source: Reuters

7. Kartiki Gonsalves and Guneet Monga- Best Documentary Short Subject- The Elephant Whisperers (2023)

The Elephant Whisperers won the Best Documentary Short award at the 95th Oscars. Debutante director Kartiki Gonsalves and producer Guneet Monga shared the award this year.

Source: Twitter


1. Mother India– Best Foreign Language Film (1958)

Mother India was the first ever entry from Indian cinema to be nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars. Unfortunately, it lost the trophy by just one vote to Nights of Cabiria.

Source: Indian History Pics

2. The Creation of Woman– Best Short Subject (1961)

Producer Ismail Merchant’s 13-minute short film, The Creation of Woman, was nominated at the 33rd Oscars. However, Merchant didn’t win the trophy for it as he lost to Day of the Painter.


3. The House That Ananda Built– Best Documentary Short Subject (1969)

Director-cinematographer Fali Bilimoria’s The House That Ananda Built was nominated in the Best Documentary Short category at the 41st Oscars. However, it didn’t win the award.

Source: MUBI

4. Bead Game– Best Animated Short Film (1978)

Film director-producer Ishu Patel’s Bead Game was nominated in the Best Animated Short Film category at the 50th Oscars. It lost to The Sand Castle that year.

Source: IMDb

5. An Encounter with Faces– Best Documentary Short Subject (1979)

Director KK Kapil and producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s An Encounter with Faces was nominated in the Best Documentary Short category at the 51st Oscars. The 1978 film lost to The Flight of the Gossamer Condor.

Source: MUBI

6. Pt. Ravi Shankar- Best Original Score- Gandhi (1983)

Sitarist and music composer Pandit Ravi Shankar was nominated in the Best Original Score category for the 1982 film, Gandhi at the 55th Oscars. However, he didn’t win the award back then.

Source: Firstpost

7. Salaam Bombay!– Best Foreign Language Film (1989)

Mira Nair’s 1988 directorial venture, Salaam Bombay!, was nominated in the Best Foreign Language film at the 61st Oscars. However, it didn’t win the award as it lost to Pelle the Conqueror.

Source: Roger Ebert

8. Lagaan– Best Foreign Language Film (2002)

Ashutosh Gowariker’s Lagaan made it to the nominations in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 74th Oscars. However, the 2001 epic sports drama film lost the award to No Man’s Land.

Source: IMDb

9. Little Terrorist– Best Short Subject (2005)

Award-winning filmmaker Ashvin Kumar’s Little Terrorist was nominated in the Best Short Film (Live Action) category at the 77th Oscars.

Source: Wannabemaven

10. AR Rahman- Best Original Song- O Saya (2009)

AR Rahman was also nominated for O Saya, the song from Slumdog Millionaire in the Best Original Song category at the 81st Oscars. Rahman ended up receiving the award for Jai Ho instead.

Source: Koimoi

11. Bombay Jayashri- Best Original Song- Pi’s Lullaby (2013)

Singer Bombay Jayashri, who penned the lyrics of Pi’s Lullaby in the 2012 film, Life of Pi, was nominated at the 85th Oscars. She lost the award to Adele’s Skyfall.

12. Writing with Fire– Best Documentary Feature (2022)

Writing with Fire was nominated in the Best Documentary Feature category at the 94th Academy Awards. It was jointly directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh. The documentary lost the award to Summer of Soul.

Source: IMDb

13. All That Breathes– Best Documentary Feature (2023)

Director Shaunak Sen’s All That Breathes was nominated in the Best Documentary Feature category at the 95th Oscars. However, it lost the award to Navalny this year.

Source: Indian Express

Apart from these, Ismail Merchant was also nominated at the Oscars for A Room with a View in 1987, Howards End in 1993, and The Remains of the Day in 1994. AR Rahman got nominated for 127 Hours in 2011.

India is very proud of all these entries at the Oscars.