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Wednesday, 29 March, 2000, 09:21 GMT 10:21 UK
Oscars accused of 'apartheid'
M Night Shyamalan and Bruce Willis
M Night Shyamalan with Bruce Willis
Hit film The Sixth Sense's failure to win any Oscars has sparked an outcry in the Indian press.

The country's media claims the film's lack of success in any of the six categories in which it was nominated was due to racism against its director, M Night Shyamalan, who was born in India.
Haley Joel Osment
Oscar nominated 11-year-old Haley Joel Osment
"And the Oscar goes to ... apartheid," ran the headline in The Pioneer - echoing a general mood of injustice in the Indian press following the Academy Awards.

Shyamalan - who was born in Madras, but brought up in Philadelphia - was nominated for best director and original screenplay.

Among the cast, 11-year-old Haley Joel Osment was up for supporting actor and Toni Collette for supporting actress.

The movie itself was also a contender for best picture as well as for best editing.

But it left empty-handed as American Beauty romped home with five Oscars.

Ironically, the supernatural thriller starring Bruce Willis has taken more than $290m (181m) at the US box office - compared to American Beauty's $108m (67.5m).

Blockbuster

In India, The Pioneer continued: "Who said nothing in this world is in black and white? The Oscars obviously are and they can keep the trophy for lifetime achievement in bringing apartheid to Hollywood."

Elsewhere, an editorial in The Times of India said: "The Sixth Sense, with a headline star in Bruce Willis and stunning box-office returns, had all the trappings of a sure-fire Oscar winner. But the politics aren't right.

"Honour a young Asian who not only does what they do - make a blockbuster with a big American hero - but manages to beat them at their own game too? That isn't sound politics.

"But do we care? Not really. For this kind of racism can't prevail."

It also pointed to the expansion of the Indian film industry - saying Bollywood is growing by 50% compared to Hollywood's 15%.

However, the Indian Express, while upset at the The Sixth Sense's loss, said American insularity was more of a "rational explanation" than outright racism.

"American Beauty just celebrated America better, in all its quirks and angularities," he said.

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 ON THIS STORY
Pioneer editor Chandan Mitra
"Indian filmmakers have been consistently ignored"
See also:

28 Mar 00 | Oscars 2000
10 Jan 00 | Entertainment
03 Jan 00 | South Asia
22 Mar 00 | Oscars 2000
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