Award shows are hives of controversy. It's part of their charm and a good jury knows how to maintain its reputation for authenticity while adding just the right amount of masala to keep both the critics and the audience hooked.

The Lux Style Awards 2018 nominations are out and as usual they have caused a stir of controversy over who's in and who was left out.

Read on: The secrets behind the Lux Style Awards that nobody wants to talk about

Winning is wonderful but being nominated is usually a good indication of quality and quality is not necessarily bound to commercial success. For those who think only commercial hits should be nominated, then Pacific Rim, Suicide Squad and the Transformers series should obviously have won for best script each time.

Sometimes a good film or quality drama just doesn’t make a blip on the radar of the public. The opposite is also true, just remember Mann Mayal and this year’s version Khaani, which is supposedly making waves at the TRP meters, yet no one in their right mind could possibly call it a good drama in terms of script (or anything else).

The same is true for films. There is a long-running list of Hollywood films that we watch as classics but they never got a look in on awards night.

So let’s see what toil and trouble the jury has cooked up for 2018:

FILM

One notable snub from the film nominees is Shaan Shahid, whose Arth was ignored in Best Film and Best Actor categories
One notable snub from the film nominees is Shaan Shahid, whose Arth was ignored in Best Film and Best Actor categories

Best Film Director

Haissam Hussain for Balu Mahi

Mohsin Ali for Chupan Chupai

Nabeel Qureshi for Na Maloom Afraad 2

Nadeem Baig for Punjab Nahi Jaungi

Shoaib Mansoor for Verna

Very few complaints here, in what can only be described as a generally tough year for Pakistani films. These were the most coherently made, well put together choices. Punjab Nahi Jaungi is the blockbuster of the year and "magic man” Nadeem Baig deserves this nomination and more. For for his next venture we hope he pays the kind of attention to lighting and intimacy on the big screen the way he did in his wonderful drama Dil Lagi.

Nabeel Qureshi may have checked out on innovation with his sequel to NMA but the man knows how to make an entertaining movie. Shoaib Mansoor pitched us a googly this year, knocking both critics and audiences out of their comfort zones, and like all his previous work it stands as a challenge which will be proven with time. Filmmaking is storytelling at its highest level and Haissam Hussain nailed it with Balu Mahi, giving us a great family movie on a broad canvas.

Chupan Chupai seems to be the odd man out, despite gaining positive reviews, the accusation of this being a straight out copy of an Indian movie is sticking to it like glue. Films are always inspired by something, for example the Indian American movie Leap Year was inspired by Jab We Met, which was inspired by the old Nargis And Raj Kapoor starrer, Chori Chori (1956), which was a scene by scene copy of the Clark Gable movie It Happened One Night, which in turn was based on a short story called the Night Bus. None of our other nominees are entirely “inspiration“ free, but all of them provide a fresh take or unique twist on what motivated them.

Perhaps the strangest turn in this category is the way the LSA jury have ignored Yasir Nawaz, a proven director with a hit film like Wrong Number behind him, who made an original concept like Mehrunisa V Lub U. For that matter why ignore Shaan Shahid who, in a rare respectful move, actually bought the rights to Arth?

Best Actor

Ahsan Khan in Chupan Chupai

Fahad Mustafa in Na Maloom Afraad 2

Humayun Saeed in Punjab Nahi Jaungi

Mohsin Abbas Haider in Na Maloom Afraad 2

Osman Khalid Butt in Balu Mahi

Excited to see who wins here! Each one of these actors got great notices for their performances and managed that peculiarly desi trick of singing and dancing their way through the serious problems presented to their characters and still look credible. This was a lean year for dramatically meaty roles, with breezy rom-coms and zany comedy capers ruling the roost.

Having said that, one wonders if room should have been made for a sixth nomination in the form of Shaan Shahid, who dropped his usual macho persona and surprised everyone in his role as a washed up singer?

Best Actress

Ainy Jaffri in Balu Mahi

Mahira Khan in Verna

Mehwish Hayat in Punjab Nahi Jaungi

Uzma Hasan in Arth 2

Neelum Muneer in Chupan Chupai

This was a good year for women in movies, with some strong roles and happily most of the performances nominated were not just sexy accessories to the hero’s performance or a bholi larki requiring assistance to cross the road. Each one of these characters gave us an insight into the strong multifaceted Pakistani woman of today.

Best Supporting Actress

Durdana Butt in Balu Mahi

Humaima Malick in Arth 2

Sadaf Kanwal in Balu Mahi

Urwa Hocane in Punjab Nahi Jaungi

Zhalay Sarhadi in Chalay Thay Saath

Another category full of gems, who made the sometimes tough jump from small to big screen with such wonderful ease. Though Urwa and Humaima gave their characters a lot of depth and nuance, Sadaf Kanwal's surprisingly hilarious turn in Balu Mahi remains a personal favourite.

Best Supporting Actor

Ali Rizvi in Chupan Chupai

Faizan Khawaja in Chupan Chupai

Sohail Ahmed in Punjab Nahi Jaungi

Javed Sheikh in Na Maloom Afraad 2

Gohar Rasheed in Rangreeza

If life were fair then Sohail Ahmed would win; otherwise, this is a solid list of nominations.

Best Film

Balu Mahi

Chupan Chupai

Na Maloom Afraad 2

Punjab Nahi Jaungi

Verna

Despite a lean year, and despite the lack of resounding commercial success for some of them, these films were the complete package that a feature film should be. Punjab Nahi Jaungi took up the clash between modernity and tradition, Verna gave us a slice of dark revenge, NMA2 was hilarious and Balu Mahi gave us a fun, fresh, romance.

TV

Two of this year's most-talked-about TV serials Baaghi and Yakeen Ka Safar were ignored in key categories like Best TV Play and Best Writer
Two of this year's most-talked-about TV serials Baaghi and Yakeen Ka Safar were ignored in key categories like Best TV Play and Best Writer

Best TV Play

Alif Allah Aur Insaan

Muqabil

O Rangreza

Sammi

Sang-e-Mar Mar

Sang-e-Mar Mar and O Rangreza stand head and shoulder above the other nominees. Sammi can barely justify a nomination with a story that went haywire towards the end, and a strangely rushed finale, it should really have been an also-ran.

There were much better-crafted serials like Baaghi, Pinjra and Yaqeen Ka Safar that should have been considered. Still Sammi is a masterpiece compared to Alif Allah Aur Insaan, which started off on a powerful note but now has a new rule where by each time the public thinks it’s going to end a whole new cast and an extra story line is grafted on.

Best TV Actor

Adnan Siddiqui in Sammi

Ahad Raza Mir in Yaqeen ka Safar

Imran Abbas in Khuda Aur Muhabbat

Mohsin Abbas in Muqabil

Noman Ijaz in Pinjra

The biggest conundrum for this category is why Noman Ijaz is nominated for a serial in which he disappears after two or three episodes? Why wasn’t he nominated for his outstanding performance in Sang-e-Mar Mar instead? When it comes to Sang-e-Mar Mar, how did the jury miss the magnificent performance by newcomer Paras Masroor?

Then we come to some other big misses: Ali Kazmi surely deserved a nod for his portrayal of Abid in Baaghi, Hassan Niazi as Jahan Saeen in Pinjra, Osman Khalid Butt’s wounded but kind Shehryar in Baaghi and one of the actual strengths of Alif Allah Aur Insaan, Imran Ashraf’s gentle but strong portrayal of Shammi.

Best Actress

Bushra Ansari in Seeta Bagri

Kubra Khan in Muqabil

Saba Qamar in Baaghi

Sajal Ali in Yaqeen Ka Safar

Sajal Ali in O Rangreza

Bushra Ansari is normally on my favourites list but her overacting in Seeta Bagri is best left unnoticed. The glaring omission of a nomination for Sania Saeed’s outstanding performance in Sang-e-Mar Mar makes this list incomplete and unfair. Film star Saima Noor's performance in Mubarak Ho Beti Hui Hai is another shocking omission.

Best TV Director

Ahson Talish for Alif Allah Aur Insaan

Farooq Rind for Baaghi

Kashif Nisar for O Rangreza

Saife Hassan for Sammi

Saife Hassan for Sang-e-Mar Mar

While Saife Hassan deserves a win for the fabulous Sang-e-Mar Mar, his nomination for the weaker product Sammi isn’t justified. Ahson Talish on the other hand might need an extra award for supreme patience in the face of an unending story.

Best TV Writer

Mustafa Afridi for Sang-e-Mar Mar

Noor ul Huda Shah for Sammi

Qaisra Hayat for Alif Allah Aur Insaan

Saji Gul for O Rangreza

Zafar Mairaj for Muqabil

While Saji Gul and Mustafa Afridi deserve standing ovations for their work this year, the big surprise this year are the way the nation’s top three female writers have been ignored. There is no nomination for Faiza Iftikhar, whose perfectly plotted Mubarak Ho Beti Hui Hai was one of the biggest hits of the season. No nomination for Farhat Ishtiaq for Yaqeen ka Safar which captured the nation’s imagination. Similarly, Umera Ahmad and Shazia Khan are ignored for writing the thought provoking Baaghi.

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