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Oscar winner James Ivory remembers late filmmaking partners Ismail Merchant & Ruth Prawer Jhabvala


The writer-director, who became the oldest Academy Award winner at 89, produced films with Merchant and Prawer Jhabvala under the banner, Merchant Ivory.

Photo: ABC Television Network

Sonal Pandya

Writer-director James Ivory, winning the best adapted screenplay for Call Me By Your Name (2017), thanked his late collaborators, producer Ismail Merchant and writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, in a moving acceptance speech at the 90th Academy Awards on 4 March 2018.

He said, “I wouldn't be standing up here without the inspired help I received from my life's partners who are gone, our writer Ruth [Prawer] Jhabvala, who received this award twice, and our fearless producer Ismail Merchant. Working with them for close to 50 years at Merchant Ivory led me to this award. And my profound thanks to the members of the Academy. In voting for me, you are remembering them.”

Ivory, who had been nominated thrice, won on his fourth nomination. Prawer Jhabvala had won the Oscar twice in the same category in which Ivory won, for A Room With A View (1985) and Howard’s End (1992).

Together, at Merchant Ivory productions, they produced critically acclaimed and award-winning films like The Householder (1963), Shakespeare Wallah (1965), Heat And Dust (1983), A Room With A View (1985), Howards End (1992) and The Remains Of The Day (1993). Many of their early films starred Hindi film actors like Shashi Kapoor and Leela Naidu.

Many film critics and fans noted Ivory’s classy remembrance of Merchant and Prawer Jhabvala.

Watch Ivory’s acceptance speech here: