India has had a rather contentious relationship with the Academy Awards. A lot of Indian films have been sent to the Oscars, as India’s official entries, 45 to be precise, but only a handful of them actually made it to the final list of nominations.

So, here are the 5 Indian films that got nominated by the Academy.

#1 Mother India (1957)

mother india

This Mehboob Khan-directed classic was nominated for the Best Film In A Foreign Language category, and almost won it! It only lost to Nights Of Cabiria by one vote.

#2 An Encounter With Faces (1978)

an encounter

This short film directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra was nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject, but did not win.

#3 Salaam Bombay (1988)

salaam bombay

Way before we had Slumdog Millionaire, we had Salaam Bombay. This beautiful, moving film about the life of people in Mumbai slums was appreciated by critics worldwide, and rewarded with a nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

#4 Lagaan (2001)


Ashutosh Gowariker’s fiction period drama starring Aamir Khan was both a commercial success and a critical one, and its Oscar nominations became headlines. Again, it was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film, only losing out to No Man’s Land.

#5 Little Terrorist (2005)

little terrorist

This little known (pun not intended) film, written, directed and produced by Aswin Kumar, was nominated for the Best Live Action Short film category, but came up short.

And no, Slumdog Millionaire and Life Of Pi were both foreign productions, despite being based in India, so we are not taking them into consideration.