Deepa Mehta’s Funny Boy no longer eligible for international film Oscar

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Telefilm Canada says Deepa Mehta’s Funny Boy has been disqualified from competing for best international feature film at the Oscars because it falls short of the non-English language requirements.

The Academy of Motion Picture of Arts and Sciences notified Telefilm that Mehta’s coming-of-age story, originally billed as being mostly in the Tamil language, doesn’t meet the criteria.

Best international feature is awarded to a film produced outside the United States with predominantly non-English dialogue.

Telefilm says the “technical discrepancy” means Funny Boy will instead be submitted for consideration in the best picture and best screenplay categories.

WATCH | Deepa Mehta’s Funny Boy criticized for casting non-Tamil actors in lead roles:

Deepa Mehta is the centre of controversy again with her new film about a Tamil boy’s coming-out, where few Tamils were cast in the primary roles. 2:24

“Although we were disappointed when informed by the Academy, we are excited to extend our ongoing support for Funny Boy as the journey to the Oscars continue,” Christa Dickenson, Executive Director of Telefilm Canada, said in a news release.

Mehta issued a statement saying she was “surprised” by the Academy’s decision to pull the film from the international competition.

A representative for Telefilm said it was the Funny Boy producers who carried the responsibility of determining whether their film crossed the 50 per cent threshold of non-English dialogue.

Canadian replacement being considered

A replacement film for Canada’s submission in the same category is being considered, Telefilm said.

The organization said the voting process for its international feature submission changed this year and two choices were picked. The second film is under review by the Academy, and Telefilm said it “will be announced shortly.”

The Academy has disqualified other films for the same reason, including Portugal’s entry Listen this week, which fell short of non-English requirements.

Last year Nigerian film Lionheart was pulled from the category for being largely in English, even though English is the official language of Nigeria.

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