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“Lion” child-actor Sunny Pawar made a splash at his Oscar red carpet debut, prompting Hollywood great Samuel L. Jackson to tweet “This is who should have won Best Actor tonight”

Touted as the award season’s “cutest kid”, eight-year-old Sunny Pawar won hearts at the 89th Academy Awards Feb. 26. Dressed in a black tuxedo paired with green and yellow sneakers, Pawar exuded confidence and cuteness as he mingled with the who’s who of Hollywood and posed for photographs with his signature thumbs-up and flashing smile.

The child of Mumbai slums who was also accompanied by his father Dilip Pawar, was seen interacting with model Chrissy Teigen and Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson took to Instagram to post a photo with Pawar, who played the role of young Saroo Brierley in the Garth Davis drama about a child lost at an Indian railway station and adopted by an Australian couple, who went back to look for his parents 25 years later. “This is who should have won Best Actor tonight, Sunny Pawar of Lion! Totally Killed It!” Jackson wrote alongside the picture. Earlier on the red carpet, Teigen knelt down to give Pawar a bear hug, while her husband, John Legend took a picture.

“Lion”, based on Saroo Brierley’s best-selling autobiography “A Long Way Home”, is a true story. Unable to remember his hometown or his mother’s name, Brierley used the Google Earth map tool to try to find his home in India. The film had six Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor for Dev Patel who plays the adult Saroo, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Music Score, Best Writing Adapted Screenplay and Best Cinematography.

The real-life Saroo Brierley and his Australian mother Sue Brierley also walked the red carpet. Saroo Brierley told People magazine he never expected to be at the Academy Awards. “The trajectory of this story is just amazing, from being in my memories to be a book and then a documentary and then a movie,” he said. His mother Sue Brierley said the movie led her to a new friend in Nicole Kidman, who plays her onscreen. “She’s been so fantastic and I’ve really become so close with her,” Sue Brierley told People. “I call her my soul sister, we just connected instantly.”

Sunny Roars Like A Lion

And it wasn’t just everybody at home and the stars on the red carpet who were taken by the Mumbai lad. During the award ceremony, host Jimmy Kimmel decided to drop by Pawar’s seat for an

impromptu re-enactment of the iconic Simba scene from “The Lion King.” After agreeing to reenact the scene which featured baby Simba and his father Mufasa, Kimmel and Sunny recreated it in front of Hollywood A-listers.

This is not in the first time that Pawar has attended an award ceremony in the West. He also stole the show at the 2017 Golden Globes red carpet in January.

A Special Moment

Meanwhile, though Dev Patel lost his supporting actor nomination to Mahershala Ali for “Moonlight”, his first Oscar nomination made quite an impression on his co-stars and fans alike. Looking dapper in a white tuxedo by Burberry which he paired with black trousers and a classy bow-tie, Patel owned the red carpet with his date – his mother Anita Patel – dressed in a black and gold sari. With her hair up in a bun, and long earrings she looked great, and their mother-son chemistry was palpable even during the awards when Dev Patel’s name was called out among the competitors for supporting actor.

“It is mind blowing. It is amazing. I am here with my mom… It is a beautiful and special moment and I am absorbing it now,” Patel said responding to questions while on the red carpet. He talked frankly of how he had to “kind of battle my own resume” and convince people that he could disappear, change skin and be accepted as Saroo. Talking about Pawar, Dev Patel said he was the “icing on top and beautiful to work with”.

Also spotted on the red carpet was “Lion” actress Priyanka Bose, who played the role of Dev Patel’s birth-mother in the film. She was wearing an off-shoulder dress from Vivienne Westwood.

Red Carpet Regular
“Quantico” actress Priyanka Chopra was her confident self as she greeted the crowd with a namaste and interacted with the press and co-actors with elan. She was also seen sharing a light moment with her “Baywatch” co-star Dwayne Johnson.

It was Chopra’s second time at the Oscars, and once again she went for a white ensemble – a Ralph and Russo gown, with geometric details and a structured bodice. She paired her gown with towering ivory heels, and accessorized the look with the bare minimum, drawing complete focus to the dress. A sleek, side-parted hairdo, nude lips and smokey eyes, she completed her look with a set of diamond earrings and cuffs.

Last year, Chopra chose a white embellished strapless Zuhair Murad gown for the Oscars.

Earlier at a pre-party, Chopra and actress Deepika Padukone were seen in sequinned ensembles.

While Chopra chose an all-black number, Deepika played safe with a tried-and-tested look with a black and gold outfit, Indo Asian News Service reported.

Chopra wore a classic black Michael Kors sequinned gown with a plunging neckline, while Padukone, who made her Hollywood debut last month with “xXx: Return Of Xander Cage” alongside Hollywood star Vin Diesel, also shimmered in a black ensemble with gold sequins waist down. Her hair was done in soft curls, eyes with a smokey effect and she also wore statement earrings to accessorize.

South Asian Fashion

Several actresses showcased South Asian-American designers at the Oscars. Actress Faye Dunaway of Bonnie & Clyde fame, wore a long-sleeved white ensemble by Nepalese-American designer Prabal Gurung, featuring a shoulder cut-out detailing, to present the final award for Best Picture, where a gigantic snafu occurred – the wrong picture (La La Land) was called out as the winner and had to be reversed to make “Moonlight” the real choice

Gurung later tweeted, “Legend and an icon Faye Dunaway presents the Best Picture to ‘Moonlight’ at Oscars wearing Atelier Prabal Gurung. Surreal. Dreams do come true.”

Giving a nod to her role in “Lion,” some fashionistas compared Nicole Kidman’s Armani Prive dress as her ode to a sari. The peach color gown with god sequins had a flow and a small trail that resembled a sari.

Several stars were seen wearing renowned designer Naeem Khan’s creations at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter in Beverly Hills. Karlie Kloss chose a red gown, while Mindy Kaling was seen in a floral long dress and Lea Michele accessorized her outfit with a Naeem Khan clutch.

Freida Pinto was also at the party, in a shimmery one-shoulder Elie Saab gown with a thigh-high slit.

Pinto did not attend the Oscars this time but she watched it at the Elton John’s Aid’s Foundation viewing party and for the occasion, the actress picked a tuxedo style gown by Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna. Black strappy heels, a Corto Moltedo clutch, and a bright lip shade completed the look.

In Memoriam

The Academy awards condoled the death of veteran actor Om Puri. In a special segment called In Memoriam, the Academy paid homage to all those stalwarts who passed away in the last one year and Om Puri’s name and picture floated over the screen to a musical tribute by Grammy and Tony-nominated singer and songwriter Sara Bareilles.

“The only Indian actor to have worked consistently in Hollywood and British cinema for the last 25 years, without a fuss and letting his work speak for itself, today the Academy of Motion Pictures acknowledged his contribution at its 89th Awards,” his family said in a statement.

“The first and only Indian actor to be acknowledged thus. Thank you Academy. Thank you everyone. We miss you Om. We miss you lots. Ishaan and Nandita Puri.”

Visual Effects

Disney’s “The Jungle Book”, starring New Yorker Neel Sethi, won the Academy Award in visual effects.The film topped the field that included “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and “Doctor Strange”, as well as “Deepwater Horizon” and “Kubo and the Two Strings.”

The Jon Favreau-directed version was widely praised for its effective use of “virtual production.”

The film was lensed entirely on a bluescreen stage in Los Angeles. The only live action in the film is Mowgli (Neel Sethi) and the small piece of set on which he stood or climbed. The rest of the film – all of the animals and the photoreal jungle itself – was computer generated, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Indian Academy Award Winners

1. Bhanu Athaiya – Best Costume Design – “Gandhi” (1983)
The first Oscar ever won by an Indian was for the 1983 critically acclaimed film “Gandhi”. Bhanu Athaiya won the golden lady at the 55th Academy Awards for Best Costume Design. Legendary musician, Ravi Shankar was also nominated for Best Original Score in this year but did not win the award

2. Satyajit Ray – Honorary Award (1992)
Satyajit Ray is the only Indian to have received an honorary award at the Oscars till date. The talented director won the Honorary Award at the 64th Academy Awards in 1992. The Academy Honorary Award is given to celebrate motion picture achievements that are not covered by existing Academy Awards.

3. Resul Pookutty – Best Sound Mixing – “Slumdog Millionaire” (2009)
The 81st Academy Awards was an extraordinary event for Indian artists as three awars were bagged by Indians for “Slumdog Millionaire”. Resul Pookutty won the award for Best Sound Mixing.

4. A.R. Rahman – Best Original Score – “Slumdog Millionaire” (2009)
A.R. Rahman, who has made an international recognition for his music and talent. The musical maestro became the first Indian music director to win the golden lady for his compostions in the film. In 2011, Rahman was nominated for Best Original Score for “If I Rise” from “127 Hours”. He was co-mominated with Dido and Rollo Armstrong.

5. A.R. Rahman and Gulzar – Best Original Song – “Slumdog Millionaire” (2009)
Rahman and Gulzar created a storm by bagging the third Oscar for “Slumdog Millioniare” for “Jai Ho”.