The critically acclaimed Garth Davis directed film Lion, which stars Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, Sunny Pawar, Rooney Mara, David Wenham, Priyanka Bose, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and Deepti Naval, was nominated for six Academy Awards. The Weinstein Company’s (TWC) film was included in the nominations for Best Motion Picture, Best Supporting Actor for Dev Patel, Best Supporting Actress for Nicole Kidman, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, and Best Cinematography.
The ecstatic Dev Patel said, “Ok, so I just received a call to say that I’ve been nominated for an Academy Award…To be totally honest, the news hasn’t made its way into my brain yet, but I’m looking at these beautiful smiling faces around me… Faces of the ones I love. And I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. What makes this moment so much more poignant is that I’m in India right now. This enthralling country holds such a deep place in my heart, and it is where Saroo’s journey was born. This film would be nothing without Garth Davis. Without his love, commitment and vision this “Lion” wouldn’t have been able to roar. To that extent I want to share this incredible feeling with Luke, Grieg, Jenny Kent, Iain, Angie, Emile, Sunny, Nicole, David, Rooney, Divian, Priyanka, the Brierley family as well as the Weinstein Co. team. Lion reaffirms the message that love is not dictated by the color of your skin, not by race, gender, sexuality, social status, or origin. It is a message I am proud to be spreading during these uncertain times. This will forever be one of the most memorable experiences of my life.”
Nicole Kidman, who received her fourth Academy Award nomination this morning, commented, “I want to thank the Academy for all of the acknowledgements you have given this heartfelt film. But, most importantly, I want to thank the Brierley family for putting themselves in such a vulnerable place and sharing their story with the world. And thanks to Garth Davis for putting his heart and soul into all of us. Woo Hoo!”
Screenwriter Luke Davies also receiving his first Oscar nomination said, “I think of Lion as an anthem to the persistence of love, and my main aim in writing it was simply to move people. I didn’t consciously set out to write a film that would spark wider conversations about the ethics of adoption or the worldwide scourge of child sex trafficking. But I am so very grateful it seems to be doing that, too. And I’m grateful and honored to be nominated for an Oscar.”
Composers Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka expressed their happiness saying, “We feel extremely honored to receive this Academy Awards nomination and to be acknowledged by The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences. We celebrate this nomination with our friend and colleague director Garth Davis, and the whole creative team and talented cast of Lion. We are grateful that our music supports this magnificent true story of love, determination and family. Saroo’s journey enriched our lives and we hope it will touch audiences watching this beautiful movie around the world, bringing us all closer together.”
About his first Academy Award nomination, cinematographer Greig Fraser said, “I’m extremely proud to be part of the team who made Lion and I’m humbled the Academy has nominated me. My crew, both Indian, and Australian, deserve a massive shout out. Their skill and support meant everything to this film. It’s an incredible privilege to be acknowledged among the diverse and talented DPs of the cinematography world, so many of whom are doing amazing work and so many whom I count as close, personal friends. I’d like to say thank you to our extremely talented director Garth Davis for allowing me to help make his wonderful vision a reality – as well as the people of India and Australia, who were so accommodating during our shoot.”
Commenting on the honor, Producers Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, and Angie Fielder commented, “We are humbled and grateful this morning for this fantastic honor. It’s so wonderful that the Academy has connected with Lion, a film about hope, and one which portrays the best aspects of humanity. It is so exciting to see so many people who have worked so incredibly hard on this film nominated, and to be able to bring the true story of Saroo and his families to an international audience.”
Harvey Weinstein is proud of the nominations, but even more of the impact the film has had, “Lion is the company’s 26th Best Picture Nomination in 28 years, and it is just as exciting as the first. I couldn’t be more proud of the entire team. The most important part of this is the effect that Lion is having on social issues around the world. Its themes of diversity, love, and unity are very special to me on a personal level. UNICEF said it best, ‘Lion is an anthem of hope, love and acceptance.’ That means more to me than anything.”
Based on a true story Lion, which we called “a beautiful tale full of emotion and incredible performances” in our review, tells the story of five-year-old Saroo, who gets accidently is left alone on a train which takes him thousands of Kilometers across India, away from home and family. Saroo must learn to survive alone in Kolkata, before ultimately being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty-five years later, armed with only a handful of memories, his unwavering determination, and Google Earth, he sets out to find his lost family and finally return to his first home.
The film shines the light on the tragic fact that an astonishing 80,000 children go missing in India each year and over 11 million children are living on the streets. In an effort to drive awareness and change to the dangerous conditions children forced to live on the streets in India face, See-Saw Films and The Weinstein Company have launched the #LionHeart Campaign. The film studios are working in partnership with The Charity Network to raise awareness and funds for non-profit organizations in India including Magic Bus, which educates at-risk children on best practices for the prevention of poverty and aids them in moving out of it; and Railway Children, which fights for vulnerable children who live alone at risk, suffering abuse and exploitation on the streets of India. So far the campaign has raised nearly $150,000.
Lion has received numerous humanitarian accolades since its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September including the Best Positive Film Award from the Positive Planet Organization, the Diversity in Film Award from the Zurich Film Festival, the Humanitarian Award for the film and the Capri Peace Award for the original end title song “Never Give Up” by Sia at the Capri Hollywood International Film Festival. The film has also been nominated for two NAACP awards as well as the Cinema for Peace Most Valuable Movie of the Year Award and has won 11 Audience Awards on the Festival circuit, including the Mill Valley Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, and runner-up at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will hand out their awards at the 89th Academy Awards on Sunday, February 26th, 2017.