With less than a day to go for the Golden Globe awards, Indian cinema fans on Tuesday waited anxiously to see whether SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus RRR would strike gold after its two nominations — ‘best picture-non English’ and ‘best original song–motion picture’.
The lavishly mounted period epic is the first Indian film in over two decades to be nominated for the awards. The other two films nominated in the category earlier called foreign language film were Salaam Bombay! (1988) and Monsoon Wedding (2001), both directed by Mira Nair and very different from RRR in tone, treatment and mood.
Directed by Rajamouli, RRR is an actioner high on nationalism and brotherhood between its leading stars Ram Charan and Jr NTR. They play real-life Indian revolutionaries Alluri Sitarama Raju and Komaram Bheem, respectively, in a fictional story set in pre-Independence times.
The Golden Globe Awards, which will be held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, will stream on Lionsgate Play in India on January 11 from 6.30 am onwards. The red carpet ceremony will start from 5.30 am. In the ‘best picture–non English segment’, RRR will face off with Korean romantic mystery film Decision To Leave, German anti-war drama All Quiet on the Western Front, Argentine historical drama Argentina, 1985, and French-Dutch coming-of-age drama Close.
The film’s Telugu track Naatu Naatu, composed by veteran music director MM Keeravaani and penned by Kala Bhairava and Rahul Sipligunj, has been nominated in the ‘original song–motion picture category’.
Other nominees in the segment are Taylor Swift’s Carolina (Where The Crawdads Sing), Ciao Papa (Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio), Hold My Hand from Top Gun: Maverick, a collaboration between Lady Gaga, BloodPop and Benjamin Rice, and Lift Me Up from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever by Tems, Rihanna, Ryan Coogler, and Ludwig Goransson.
RRR emerged a massive box office draw with reported earnings of Rs 1,200 crore globally and has been lauded for Rajamouli’s vision, high-octane fight sequences and Keeravaani’s rousing musical soundtrack.
The film — which released worldwide last March in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam, and Hindi — received rave reviews from the who’s who of Hollywood, including filmmakers Russo Brothers (The Gray Man), Edgar Wright (Baby Driver), Scott Derrickson (Doctor Strange) and Guardians of the Galaxy franchise director James Gunn. At the Chinese Theatre screening of RRR in Los Angeles, Star Wars filmmaker JJ Abrams described the movie as fever dream, whereas Oscar winner Jessica Chastain in a tweet recently said watching the film was like going to a “party”.
The performance of RRR at the Golden Globes, regarded as the first event in the Hollywood award season, will also set the tone for the upcoming Academy Awards where the blockbuster movie features in the music (original song) shortlist for Naatu Naatu. The Golden Globes, now in its 80th year, is looking to make a comeback after a year of being boycotted by Hollywood over charges that it was not inclusive enough. This is also an opportunity for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the body behind the awards, to ensure course correction, and RRR could well fit the bill.
In 2021, the HFPA received intense backlash after a Los Angeles Times report revealed that the organisation counted zero Black journalists among its then 87 members. After the revelation, NBC, the longtime telecast partner for the awards, announced that it would not be airing the 2022 edition of the Golden Globes. This year, NBC has agreed to air the ceremony again after the HFPA instituted reforms and new ethics rules. Among roughly 200 current voters, nearly 52 per cent are racially and ethnically diverse, including 10 per cent who are Black.
Brad Pitt, Steven Spielberg and other big names are set to return as organisers of the event. Comedian Jerrod Carmichael will host the three-hour ceremony, while veteran actor Eddie Murphy will receive a lifetime achievement honour. Director Quentin Tarantino and actor Jamie Lee Curtis are listed among presenters. Actor Brendan Fraser, who is nominated for his leading role in The Whale, has said he will not attend the event after he accused a former HFPA president of groping him. Tom Cruise is expected to give the ceremony a miss even though his blockbuster movie Top Gun: Maverick is nominated for best drama film. Cruise returned his three Globe trophies in protest against the association in 2021.
In the film section, Irish dark comedy drama The Banshees of Inisherin leads the Golden Globe Awards with eight nominations, closely followed by Michelle Yeoh’s absurdist sci-fi comedy drama Everything Everywhere All at Once with six nominations and Damien Chazelle’s Babylon and Steven Spielberg’s semi-biographical drama The Fabelmans at five.
Under the television segment, sitcom Abbott Elementary leads with five nominations, with The Crown, Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, Only Murders in the Building, Pam & Tommy, and The White Lotus, each standing at four nominations