A still from 'And the Oskar Goes To' Image Credit: Supplied

What worked: ‘And The Oskar Goes To...’ is a fine example of a well-cast film. Actor Tovino Thomas is expected to do the heavy lifting in this film and he delivers. The actor tugs at your heart with his earnest performance as the desperate director Issak Ebrahem. Actor Siddique, as Isaak’s sole friend in Los Angeles, is pitch perfect. Actor Salim Kumar as the despondent local baker — whose life inspires the subject of Issak’s debut feature — plays his role with the right mix of melancholy and brevity.

And the Oskar Goes To
A still from 'And the Oskar Goes To' Image Credit: Supplied

What didn’t work: When it’s partly your life story, there’s a good chance that it turns into a vanity project.

There are several places where the film stumbles and becomes cloyingly self-indulgent. Some of the trials of Issak — especially in Los Angeles where he isn’t successful with lobbying for his film with The Academy voters — seem stretched. While you sympathise with Issak’s problems as a filmmaker who sacrifices his own happiness and wealth for his dream movie, the director and the actor is unable to sustain that empathy for long. A few scenes seem contrived to manipulate the viewers into sympathising with the director. It doesn’t feel organic.

And the Oskar Goes To still
A still from 'And the Oskar Goes To'

What's the story: While the premise of ‘And The Oskar Goes To...’ is interesting, director Salim Ahmad doesn’t always have a handle on his film. While the first half moves at a brisk pace, there are a few missteps in the second half.

Issak Ebrahem’s failure to make a dent in The Academy with the lobbying and marketing feels bloated. The scenes in which Issak doesn’t even get a hot meal in the West seem preposterous during the age of online ordering. While you may not buy into this sob story fully, there are touching moments... but they are far and in between.

Check it out!

‘And The Oskar Goes To...’
Director: Salim Ahmad
Cast: Tovino Thomas, Siddique and Salim Kumar
Stars: 3 out of 5