A heartfelt, real, and moving romantic-comedy about the relationship between a Pakistani man and American woman is winning hearts, awards, and hopefully an Oscar. That’s right. Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon (aka the dreamiest team) are nominated for Best Original Screenplay for the 90th Academy Awards for their superlative work on “The Big Sick.”

The nominations were announced live this morning by Tiffany Haddish (“Girls Trip”) and Andy Serkis (“Star Wars”). While this is the only nomination for “The Big Sick,” it’s a big one. Before Nanjiani, there were only two South Asians nominated in this category over a span of 90 years. Pakistani-British filmmaker Hanif Kureishi was nominated in 1986 for “My Beautiful Laundrette.” Coincidentally, the next project Nanjiani is working on is a remake of this film. Indian-American director M. Night Shyamalan snuck a nomination for Best Original Screenplay for “The Sixth Sense” in 1999.

“The Big Sick”‘s success is phenomenal. It won the Best Comedy at the 2018 Critics Choice Awards. The American Film Institute named it amongst the top 10 films of 2017. It was nominated for other prestigious ceremonies like SAG Awards, South by Southwest (SXSW), Writer’s Guild of America, Independent Spirit Awards, IGN Awards, and for several other film festivals in various cities.

It’s overwhelming and quite amazing to see this movie being recognized by The Academy, especially because its a film that not only the South Asian-American audiences but almost every viewer can relate to. It tells the story of Kumail and Emily (played by Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan, respectively), whose relationship blossoms after a one night stand. When she finds out his family is pressuring him for an arranged marriage with a Pakistani woman, she is heartbroken and leaves him. However, when she falls sick and is an induced coma, he’s by her side and forms an unlikely bond with her parents.

The Oscar nomination comes full circle for Nanjiani and Gordon. Exactly a year ago, on Jan 20, 2017, “The Big Sick” made its premiere at Sundance. The two wrote a column for Variety earlier this year, discussing what it meant for them to share such a personal story with the world. The two dedicated the last four and a half years just making this film. Sundance was their only shot to get this film out and hopefully, find a producer. It was a gigantic success and eventually, it released worldwide in June 2017. Made on a $5 million budget, the movie made $55 million. It was a hit. And again, today they’re both nominated for an Oscar.

The movie also stars Ray Romano, Holly Hunter, Anupam Kher, Zenobia Shroff, Adeel Akhtar, Vella Lovell. It’s directed by Michael Showalter and produced by Judd Apatow and Barry Mendel.

Twitter was abuzz with congratulating “The Big Sick” team for this glory, while wondering why it didn’t get even more recognition.


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