Sunday, October 08, 2006

Oscar's Foreign List: Nearly Final

For my international readers (and helpers -thanks) and my fellow worldly Americans I give you a massive Foreign Film Oscar Race Update.


We have 57 official submissions at this point. The Academy will verify the official list next week (usually there are a few changes when they do. Countries no one knew submitted will pop up and a few countries are always disqualified, usually due to some administrative error (paperwork was late or some such) but sometimes out of sheer stupidity (like when Greece submitted the English language Brides last year --what was that about?)

Once the Academy announces the "official" official list, we'll dive in deeper.
Algeria to Finland -a martial arts epic, a couple of biopics, three womens pictures and, of course, a WW II drama.
France to the Netherlands -ensemble dramas, coming of age films and, of course, a WW II drama.
Peru to Venezuela more coming of age flicks, some comedies, but what's this? No WW II dramas. Inconceivable.

Tags: foreign films, , Oscars, Academy Awards, cinema, Film

43 comments:

Beau said...

Unless "Pan's Labyrinth" garners an insane amount of press, astounding reviews and box-office galore, I think "Volver"'s got the category sown up.

adam k. said...

I thought someone had said earlier that Spain had decided not to submit Volver? This will make it much harder to get major nominations.

Anonymous said...

Greece submited Brides last year (50% Greek, 45% English, 5% Russian - a real mess) because it's the most Oscar baity a movie can get and Scorcese was the executive producer. It was not as stupid as Austria submitting Caché.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Adam, but the last two foreign titles that got Best Picture nominations were Crouching Tiger and Life is Beautiful, both of which were nominated for and won the Foreign Language category.

So if it still manages to make a decent amount of cash by the time ballots are due, it's still right in the thick of it.

I still don't think Pan's Labyrinth will be nominated in this category. They don't usually like fantasy here do they? They prefer safer stuff, I always thought. They didn't even nominate House of Flying Daggers.

adam k. said...

Yeah, true. I guess if you're aiming for best picture as a foreign, it's really about being mainstream and making money. Having a famous English-language director (Crouching Tiger) or a Miramax campaign (Life is Beautiful) helps, too.

NATHANIEL R said...

Beau -I think Volver has got it sewn up too. Unless The Lives of Others gets traction.

Adam -Not necessarily. Il Postino, Life is Beautiful, and Crouching Tiger scored in both caegories.

anon -I've seen Brides myself and I wonder where those numbers are from? There are a few lines in Greek at the beginning of the movie and then random occassional lines on the boat but it was otherwise very english language.

Anonymous said...

I saw Sileni this summer and not only is it not Svankmajer's best work, but also it is one of his more depraved films that I have seen. I doubt the Academy is going to go for rape/torture scenes and interludes featuring bloody dancing meat.

Anonymous said...

About Brides... the first hour is all in Greek, with a few Russian when they're at Odessa and then, on the boat, it's 60/40 (English/Greek).

Anyway, how did you like it?

Bruno said...

A note on Thailand changing their submission away from "Invisible Waves." I saw this movie and it's probably 75% English, so that's the reason. I don't think it would've been nominated anyway...the director's style is a little too abstract for Oscar.

luna said...

I think it will be a battle between Mexico and Spain. The fact is everyone who has seen both films, say Pan's Labyrinth is better than Volver, but they all say VOLVER will take it because...is a film by Almodovar.

The only official entry I've seen is Japan's "Hula Girls", I thought it was great...

Kamikaze Camel said...

I haven't heard many people say Labyrinth is better than Volver.

Peter Nellhaus said...

I had to check out Italy's nomination on your site. I just saw Criminal Novel which was pretty good, but not good enough, a Scorsese-Coppola wannabe. Check my review at my blog.

Anonymous said...

I missed Volver at the TIFF, but I saw Labyrinth and it is the best film I've seen in theatres in some time. If the Academy actually watches it, it will be in the running.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Still doesn't make it a fact that everybody who's seen both says Pan's is better.

I still query it's chances. But hopefully it can bypass tricky genre trappings and pitfalls.

Anonymous said...

I am German and I have seen both Volver and Lives of Others. While I am not a big fan of the latter film, it is a very political film and the academy may want to give the award to a political film rather than a family dramedy. Plus, Almodovar has won before. It s like when No man´s land beat Amélie. In that respect, I d say Pan´s Labyrinth stands a good chance, too. Lives of Others is at 8.5 at imdb right now so people do love it and it got great buzz at Telluride. It was certainly overshadowed by Volver in Toronto but maybe luminous Penelope had to do with it to a certain degree.

I liked Volver but I don´t consider it Pedro´s best. Yet, it is the frontrunner in this category right now.

PS. Not sure if Hollywood is willing to accept a political German film that is not about national socialism. So far, they usually went for the nazi stuff.

NATHANIEL R said...

well anon -the academy does watch these films. It's one of the only categories that you actually have to watch things to vote on them.

still...

even with that GOOD rule in place sometimes they just reject stuff that everyone loves. consider the wierd case of CITY OF GOD. the foreign comittee rejected it but the individual branches loved it the following year when it was released.

and I agree with Glenn -Pans Labyrinth might be way too genre for AMPAS. we shall see...

Anonymous said...

i am greek...watched brides of course...definatetly not oscarworthy...a touch of spice was oscarworhy and should have been nominated the year before...has anyone seen it?
good academy friendly film

plantaebitching said...

I've seen both Volver & Pan's Labyrinth. And they are by far the best 2 films I've seen this year. Even better than The Departed, Little Children, The Queen and Flags of our Fathers. I kind of like Pan's Labyrinth just a little bit more because I'm in love in this genre...but I do think VOLVER is Almodovar's best film in the last decade.

I have no idea who will take it, believe it or not I think the Mexican submission has a better chance in winning this, the academy seems to respect Mexican cinema and its directors, and this could be the film that awards that country.

plantaebitching said...

I've seen both Volver & Pan's Labyrinth. And they are by far the best 2 films I've seen this year. Even better than The Departed, Little Children, The Queen and Flags of our Fathers. I kind of like Pan's Labyrinth just a little bit more because I'm in love in this genre...but I do think VOLVER is Almodovar's best film in the last decade.

I have no idea who will take it, believe it or not I think the Mexican submission has a better chance in winning this, the academy seems to respect Mexican cinema and its directors, and this could be the film that awards that country.

Bruno Packer said...

I'm Mexican, and I don't know why everyone keeps talking about "Laberynth" make it the final 5, when it fact, it is more likely to be disqualified by AMPAS. The Foreign Language Film category rules clearly states that the country needs to be represented in the cast. Well, none of the cast, not a single person is Mexican. There you go.

Boyd van Hoeij said...

I've seen quite a few of the nominated titles - about 25 in all... in fact, I will write up a round-up once I get around it. As always, a few countries always get disqualified because of some issue or other... and this year this could happen to Italy's Nuovomondo (Golden Door), Luxembourg's Your Name is Justine and Thailand's Invisible Waves because they all contain more than just a few lines in English. Personally, I think France, Spain and the Netherlands will be nominated. Spain because the academy loves Pedro, France because they love France and the film is a crowd-pleaser like Les Choristes and Joyeux Noël which were both nominated and the Netherlands because I am sure Academy voters just love the mischievous idea of being able to nominate Verhoeven for an Oscar, plus it is a WWII story, which is about the safest way to get nominated in the Foreign Language category.

Bruno said...

If I had a guess for nominees outside "Volver," I'd go with France, Germany, Canada, and one out of left field. I'm surprised no one's mentioned "Water," because it's so suited for this category. The only issue may be that, even with the language rule change, voters will feel weird about a Hindi movie getting a nomination for Canada.

Bruno said...

Bruno Packer...I don't think a country needs to necessarily be the majority represted in the cast, but in the overall production of the film (which includes the cast and everyone else involved). For example, the cast of Maria Full of Grace was largely Colombian (I think), but the production was American so it was disqualified.

Anonymous said...

Stupidity by Greece ? No, Brides was definately in Greek, it had SOME English -essentail for the plot. Why Academy rejected is beyond me. What about Austria's Cache which was in pure French ?

NATHANIEL R said...

i SAW Brides. I don't know why y'all keep saying this was in Greek. I barely had any subtitles to read. The male lead spoke no Greek. The female lead spoke Greek only at the beginning of the movie and in random asides on the boat.

This was an English Language movie like the current Science of Sleep is an English Language movie --sure there's some spanish and french thrown in but it's English language.

still i shouldn't chosen my words more carefully. don't want to say that Greece was "stupid" just that the selection committee probably should've been more attentive because there was no way that that film wasn't going to get disqualified. Just like when Hong Kong or China tried to submit that English Language Michelle Yeoh action film.

Kayla said...

no it is not not true that a film has to have actors from that country, the fact that Pan's Labyrinth is directed, written, produced (not entirely), by Mexicans I think makes it elegible.

also most of the production you know: cinematographer, art director...etc are Mexican...

Anonymous said...

So far I've seen "Grbavica", "Black Book", "After The Wedding", "Volver" and "Bosta". Tomorrow I'm going to "Someone Else's Happiness" at my local art theater. I really didn't like "Bosta". But the other four I've seen are all worthy to be nominated, with "Black Book" being the best film of those four.

kumbiakingsfan said...

according to the rules, the cast in a foreign film not only includes the actors, also the people behind camera...and I've read somewhere that Guillermo Del Toro is not the only Mexican in the film

Gabriel said...

I've seen Volver from Spain and Family Law (Derecho de Familia) from Argentina. They're both great films, really great...

Bruno Packer said...

Kaly and Bruno,

I'm not pulling these rules out of my ass. They do exist. The Foreign Film qualification rules states:

1) That the country needs to have representation in the director, the producer, and the writer spots. Pan's laberynth has this one.

2) The country needs representation in some members of the CREW like: editor, cinematographer, sound design, and art and set decoration. Pan's has this one too.

3)The country needs significant representation on the Cast. Pan's fails this one and big.

Of course, they can accepted. But it will be sheer stupidity by the Academy. They've done that before. For example, they accepted Haneke's "La pianiste", even though it wasn't filmed in an Austrian indigenious language. They properly rejected "Caché" because it is entirely spoken in French as well.

Anonymous said...

I think "Water" from Canada seems to be a safe bet for a nomination. Also, I think it's ridiculous Romania didn't submit "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu" as it is one of the most acclaimed films of the year.

Kayla said...

bruno packer

how come they didn't dissqualified Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon?

Kayla said...

where did you read those rules? a link please...'cause the only thing I found isn't very detailed. But I read this year's rules at oscars.org and the only thing it said was

3. The submitting country must certify that creative talent of that country exercised artistic control of the film.

NATHANIEL R said...

anon -death of mr lazarescu was submitted last year by Romania but didn't get nominated.

Bruno Packer said...

You won't find them there. They are guidelines that are sent to the individual International academies.

Here is the link:
http://www.academiamexicana.com/oscarygoya/descargas/guidelines.pdf

And why would they have disqualified "CTiger, HDragon" exactly?

Bruno Packer said...

Damn!

This is the good link:

www.academiamexicana.com/oscarygoya/descargas/guidelines.pdf

Kayla said...

...hidden dragon was submitted by Taiwan, and I think none of the cast was from that country.

Bruno Packer said...

Chow Yun-Fat is Hongkongese.

Michelle Yeoh is Indonesian.

Ziyi Zhang is Chinese.

and

Chang Chen is Taiwanese as well as the rest of the cast.

But I do understand your concern. In fact, the Academy should have disqualified it for being an Taiwanese-American coproduction. It was so American that it did qualify to run for the Indie Spirit Awards, when in fact their rules despise all indie films that AREN'T American.

Bruno said...

Well, this is all very interesting, because all I had ever heard was the more general "artistic control" rule, not the specific ones about cast, crew, etc. In any case, I don't think they'll reject the film based on that rule about the cast...I don't think it's stopped them in the past. By the way, "La Pianiste" was dubbed in German to overcome the language rule, but I don't know if the cast had any Austrians (or that it mattered ultimately).

Bruno Packer said...

We shall see when AMPAS comes with the official List. And that movement of Austria dubbing La pianiste so it could qualified was so retarded.

Carlinhos Brown said...

I thought the official list was out already?

there are 60 countries that submitted, but I can't find a link, so never mind.

Anonymous said...

for all the small countries Golden Globes are essencial... if they get nom. there... I hope Grbavica will get nominated

Carlos said...

According to a note I read this morning in the spanish diary "El País", director Aki Kaurismaki, whose film was selected by Finland, has decided to retire his film from the Oscar list, as a protest against american foreign policy.