It’s a matter of pride that two Indian productions won Oscars on Sunday night in Los Angeles, the home of Hollywood. A Telugu dance track called Naatu Naatu from the film R.R.R. was awarded Best Original Song, while Kartiki Gonsalves’s 40-minute watch, The Elephant Whisperers, won the coveted statuette for Best Documentary Short Subject at the 95th Academy Awards. As the stated goal of America’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is to advance the “arts and sciences” of movies, we can assume its jury found both up to the task. The song-and-dance sequence that won is quite catchy. Its lyrics bustle with analogies of energetic motion—a fierce bull kicking up dust, for example—and the moves on display are an acrobatic wonder of originality, especially the furious foot work. In contrast, the documentary plods along, but only to snuggle into our hearts with the story of an elephant adopted and raised by an Indian couple. They keep talking to the calf, which amazes us with cuddly responses to all the cooing and coaxing of its adoptive parents. Though it’s no tragedy, the film has a lump-in-the-throat moment that lends it its poise and poignancy. All in all, it’s an ode to our capacity for compassion. Both these winners deserve applause, as any such acclaim does. Yet, it’s hard to shake off the hunch that this is more about eastern exotica than artistic cinema to many viewers in the West, perhaps even to the Oscar jury.