Now that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have announced the contenders for Oscar's Foreign Language Film Award I thought I'd share some quick observations about the 61 films in play --well,give or take Finland. Former Oscar nominee Aki Kaurismaki (The Man Without a Past), Finlands most famous auteur wants his new film Lights in the Duskwithdrawn. He's been known to snub the Oscars in protest of the Iraq war and, well, we are still there.
How do you say "F**k Hollywood" in Finnish?
Kazakhstan's submission will also be in the news. The Academy's press release says it's the glorious nation's first submission (though my Oscar-obsessed helpers tell me they submitted in 1992 with The Fall of Otrar) Kazakhstan has been working the media like a fame hungry whore lately: consider their hilarious feud with comedian Sacha Baron Cohan --you know, Borat. Nomads is the Kazakhstan entry and Harvey Weinstein's (speaking of Oscar whores) got it for release next year in the US. The IMDB claims that Nomads is an English language film. Since it stars Jay Hernandez (mmm) and Jason Scott Lee (*mmm--90sflashback--mmm*) neither of whom are known for their fluency in Kazakh my guess is this film gets disqualified soon.
Some other interesting tidbits:
- Other countries actually let women direct films. Shocking, but true. Having a vagina does not disqualify you from moviemaking outside the US. Bosnia, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, France, Indonesia, Peru, and the Ukraine are all represented by auteurs of the fairer sex. Here in the US there's, like, a quota and since Sofia Coppola is pissing people off right now, they'll probably lower it next year.
- Post-Brokeback there's still some gay action for Oscar. If they want it. But maybe they don't want it. Korea has submitted the period epic The King and the Clown a gay love triangle set in the Chosun Dynasty. The Phillipines have the babygay movie The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros. Even Egypt has gay characters in the controversial hit Yacoubian Building. If gay stories aren't to the Academy's liking, surely iconic gay filmmaker Pedro Almodovar still will be. He returns to contention with his much heralded Volver.
- There's less World War II than usual in the Oscar choices. This category is often overflowing with it. Algeria and The Netherlands are representing but most of the countries with war or war related films are skewing more contemporary which will probably make the Academy uncomfortable. We shall see. The foreigners are mostly leaving the WW II reminiscing to Clint Eastwood this year.
- The other most baity motif of this category the 'older person paired with cute young child or children' subgenre is still in bounteous supply. Countries that appear to be taking this well trodden path include Venezuela, Switzerland, The Ukraine, Turkey, and Greece.
If you want more (lots more), head on over to my pages on Algeria through Finland, France through Nepal and The Netherlands to Vietnam. You won't get more extensive coverage of the Foreign Language Oscar Race on any other website.
Only five of these countries will get Oscar's blessing with a nomination on January 23rd, 2007. Who will it be? Return and discuss.
Tags: foreign films, movies, Oscars, Academy Awards, cinema, Film, Borat, gay, WW II, Jay Hernandez, Sofia Coppola,entertainment, Finland, Kazakhstan, Pedro Almodovar