“It is a pity the young Pi was not nominated There’s not much you can do. He’s an Indian actor and nobody knows him so he was easily overlooked.
With peer voting, people will vote for their friends or based on their impressions. He’s a newcomer and we often said he had never acted before—that’s a disadvantage to getting nominated. But I do think his performance was the purest performance.””
Taiwanese director Ang Lee noting Hollywood’s tendency to overlook Asian actors to a Chinese radio station. Ang Lee was disappointed that Suraj Sharma was not nominated for Best Actor for his performance in The Life of Pi. Lee added that he felt Irfan Khan should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actor, and that Zhang Ziyi was not nominated either for Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, nor were any actors nominated for Slumdog Millionaire.
What’s a guy gotta do to get an Oscar? Here’s some trivia about Sharma’s work on the film, from FirstPost.com.
- Sharma beat out 4,000 other applicants (Ang Lee decided from the start the role would not be whitewashed.)
- Sharma had never acted prior to this so Ang Lee assigned him a pile of homework and made him act scenes from Teneesse Williams and other playwrights just for practice.
- Sharma didn’t know how to swim when he was cast for the role. When he first started out he could only hold his breath for 14 seconds. In the end he was able to go for one minute and a half.
- Sharma spent most of the movie filming in a pool emoting in front of a blue screen to an invisible tiger.
- Sharma lost 20% of his body weight for the role, eating a diet that mostly consisted of tuna fish, just like his character, so his ribs would show.
- Sharma cut himself up frequently while working on the boat and used those injuries in his acting. He would allow himself to get flipped along with the boat.
- The production was banned from speaking the Sharma. Ang Lee and Sharma agreed that he would not to talk to other people for almost two months so he would understand what isolation was like.
1. This kid is badass.
2. When white actors like Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio do stuff like lose 20% of their body weight or cut themselves and keep acting everyone cheers uproariously.
3. It is weirdly dismissive when films about characters of color get nominated but their actors do not. Django Unchained, Life of Pi, Slumdog Millionaire, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, The Last Emperor, etc.
4. As FirstPost points out, a lot of the Oscar snubbed actors that people are talking about like Leonardo DiCaprio have plenty of other opportunities to star in other big movies. When is the next big project for an actor of South Asian descent coming up?
Actors part 1
[ Thought I’d start posting stories. Here’s a little story I’m writing about the college experience for one of my main characters (right now) from someone else’s point of view. So even if you don’t know him, I think you’ll be able to understand. ]
They met in acting class.
It was Winnifred’s second year of college, and she was enjoying it. But she didn’t recognize anyone in this class, so when they were told to partner up with someone, she went with the friendliest looking person.
He waved, smiling. “Hey. I’m Jack.”
Winnifred held out her hand. “I’m Winnifred.”
Jack shook her hand. Damn, it was tall people like him that really made her feel her height… “Winnifred,” he said, as if testing out her name. “It’s a bit of a mouthful, if you don’t mind my saying. Do you have a nickname, like Winnie…?”
Winnifred made a face. “You can call me pretty much anything but Winnie, as long as I know that’s your name for me. Fred, Angel, Bob…it doesn’t really matter.”
“Fred? Well, I guess it’s something…” Jack shrugged. “But it doesn’t seem to match. What about…Win? Is Win okay?”
Win smiled, nodding. “Yeah. That works.”
And after that, they were soon good friends.
The two friends grew closer. Jack was an amateur magician, and had a way of capturing your attention that drew your mind away from the trick. From what she understood, he never had much of an ambition to go to college, but somehow he’d ended up there. He’d always loved doing magic tricks, and so a performing arts college seemed the best place to go. And that was how he ended up in New York.
Winnifred herself was an aspiring actress. She wasn’t very good at it, and she knew it. But she could sing, and had a high pitched voice due to her small stature. But how she made most of her money was through writing.
It wasn’t that she particularly enjoyed writing. There would just be a story sitting around in her head, and if she didn’t get it out, it would sit in her head and irritate her until she wrote it down. Then she could save it on her computer and forget about it.
This wasn’t good enough for one of her friends, though. One day she borrowed Win’s laptop and submitted a short story to a literary magazine. Win was angry, she didn’t expect anyone to actually read her work – but the magazine liked it and published it. Apparently the readers had a good reaction too, and soon they were asking for more.
Win wouldn’t have it. She politely declined the offer, and went back to job hunting. They asked her a few more times, saying that some very high up people were interested in this young, previously unknown writer. The only thing that finally convinced her to publish again was the offer of pay.
So with a promise of money, Win sent in part of a story she was writing. It was totally cliché – the story of a man who became an agent in a secret branch of government – but it caught. It was published, after a little revision, and people demanded the second part.
And that was how Win got her job as a writer. This meant that she had time to act on the side, which was all she wanted to do. She would write the stories anyway. All she had to do was edit them a bit and send them in, and after a while it gave her more money than if she’d had a normal job.