Thursday, October 18, 2007

63 Finalists for that Subtitled Oscar. But No Lust, Caution

Just a heads up that 63 finalists for this year's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar are now official. You can see details at these links


Only three of the previously announced films got the boot: Bolivia was dropped, Israel had to discard English speaking The Bands Visit and Taiwan was also forced to pull a switcheroo by the nit picky Academy. Why Lust, Caution Ang Lee's latest (and dependably terrific) drama was disqualified is a mystery to me at this writing. [Updated: Rejected due toNationality issues as suspected below -read on...] The Academy has often made strange rulings as to eligibility in this category but Ang Lee, Oscared himself, has usually escaped their elaborately excused banishment.

I'd blame it on Tony Leung Chiu Wai's furious naked thrusting (it upset the MPAA) but the Academy's foreign committee nominated the French scorcher Betty Blue back in its day and that film opens with Jean-Hugues Anglade thrusting away atop Béatrice Dalle so it's not that. They don't outlaw content.

Maybe Tang Wei's mesmerizing flexibility (her leg is where now?!?) reminded them that they don't like productions that stretch across too many borders and Ang Lee's films always do. His three previous nominees were all submitted by Taiwan (and accepted by Oscar) but Ang Lee can't stay put: The gay romantic dramedy The Wedding Banquet took place in New York, Eat Drink Man Woman cooked in Taipei and the third, foreign film winner Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon flew all over China --borders, international financing, indigenous languages and "country of origin" concerns were just about the last thing on its mind as it balanced serenely on leafy branches between rounds of ass kicking.

Speaking of... who wants to kick the Academy's?

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Me, me! Pick me!

Rob

Jeff said...

I wonder if the exclusion of LUST, CAUTION has anything to do with the version submitted by Taiwan being different than the NC-17 version viewable by Academy members in this country.

Michael Parsons said...

Shall we stage a riot? Force them to also corect past mistakes

dzong2 said...

AMPAS has already said "Lust" was disqualified due to nationality issues.

http://www.varietyasiaonline.com/content/view/4715/1/

It's ironic because Mainland China (which AMPAS probably would have accepted) wanted to submit it, but Taiwan got the paperwork in first. And then China censored a few minutes and Ang Lee didn't want that version going anyway....

There was definitely nothing "Taiwanese" about the film other than Ang Lee, but if they allowed "Crouching Tiger" and "Pan's Labyrinth", I don't see why they couldn't look the other way....That said, "Island Etude" is supposed to be a fine film, though not so exciting...

I wonder what the poor Bolivians did to get on AMPAS' bad side?? They were disqualified in 2005 too, when their film didn't arrive in time.

Brian said...

I just got back from seeing this. One thing I noticed was how many Westerners worked on the film in poster-credits-level roles. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon had James Schamus of course, and editor Tim Squyres, both of whom returned for Lust, Caution. But the latter also has Alexander Desplat and Rodrigo Prieto instead of Tan Dun and Peter Pau. Not that any of these four men are Taiwanese, but perhaps the Academy thinks the latter two are somehow closer to being so?

Though the decision seems capricious, in terms of rooting interests I'm somewhat pleased. I liked the film but I suspect I'll like five other FLF submissions better, and if something terrific gets the slot vacated by Lee's film, I'll be thrilled. And who knows, perhaps this will open the door to Lust, Caution breaking out of the FLF ghetto and competing in other categories (like Best Actress, maybe? pretty please?)

Rural Juror said...

If you look at the IMDB page for Egypt's entry, it has a synopsis up. I noticed you don't have it already

Rural Juror said...

and of the finalists, I can definitely see Vietnam and Poland getting in. I mean, I can't see Poland NOT getting in unless the WW2 movie is bad.

amir_uk said...

Austria will get in with The Counterfeiters - it's getting rave reviews in the UK anyway.

Damn AMPAS again - was hoping for a third Oscar for Ang Lee.

crazycris said...

not complaining about Ang Lee being shut out in this category... leaves room for some other film to gain some recognition (which his films don't need anymore!)

personally, the FL Oscar isn't really about the "best" non-english language film of the year (how can it be when so few people vote? the final vote is on only 5 of the 63 submitted... and what about all the movies that weren't selected? many countries have more than 1 excellent film per year!)
for me it's more about generating awareness for film excellence in other parts of the world, trying to break out of their stupor the "scared of subtitles" crowd! Ang Lee doesn't need that anymore (and neither does Almodovar...).

So here's to discovering some new gems!!! ;o) (and while waiting on those, I'm going to catch Caramel and Persepolis next week and hopefully The Orphanage this weekend!)

Kamikaze Camel said...

As flawed as the Academy's system of submitting films is I think it's as good as we can hope for. Otherwise we'd have years where there are four French films nominated or something like that.

Also, I had no idea that The Home Song Stories had been submitted let alone have it accepted. I thought there was way too much english language in there to qualify. It's got a really great performance by Joan Chen. She screams a lot. And it's a big hearttugger by the end. I doubt it'll be nominated, but it's something to think about it.

J.J. said...

There's not *that* much English speaking in The Band's Visit. Pity.

The Counterfeiters, Persepolis and 4 Months are definites.

Anonymous said...

not complaining about Ang Lee being shut out in this category... leaves room for some other film to gain some recognition (which his films don't need anymore!)

That's a poor mentality to have. If Ang Lee delivers time and time again in this field, then he should be recognized for it, regardless of the need to cite other filmmakers just for the exposure.

Anonymous said...

Without le vie in rose, the band visit and lust caution there is more room for dark horses to show up in competition. My bet, the wonderful, amazing, breath taken lovely silent light from mexico

Anonymous said...

Silent Light (Mexico)
Persepolis (France)
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Romania)
The Edge of Heaven (Germany)
XXY (Argentina)

Anonymous said...

What a bad news! I was already predicting Ang Lee among the nominees again.
Well, actually, since LUST, CAUTION has opened in the United States, it can receives the nominations in the other cotegories.
I think the film has a very good shot in the cinematography and original score categories; instead Best Picture, Director and Leading I think are some tougher matters...and I'm sorry 'cause Tony Leung is my idol and Tang Wei's perf is receiving acclaims by all, even by people who didn't like LUST, CAUTION.

For what concernes Australian entry I hope it won't be rejected...because the always ravishing Joan Chen is the leading lady (the ever sultry goddess plays also a supporting role in Ang Lee's, she's Leung's wife...an important role, but unfortunately it seems unshowy). It should be a pity if both her two flicks will finish eliminated (even because her mother country, China, chose to not select The Sun Also Rises, another film in which she stars).
Anyway there's still a good news: Chen is very busy nowadays and fortunately she's committing herself in good quality pictures...even if IMHO she's always noteworthy, even in some crap movies she made after The Last Emperor...you know what I mean? Golden Gate, On Deadly Ground, The Hunted, Judge Dredd...however the last one was at least funny...

Mirko S.

NATHANIEL R said...

i understand the argument about letting other filmmakers in... except that it's terrible to penalize the greats for being as talented as they are. I'm all for shutting them out when someone new bests them. But that doesn't happen so often.

There aren't many filmmakers alive as consistent as Ang Lee. He's like the directorial version of Laura Linney I think ;) even when he's not exciting per se, he's quite good.

Anonymous said...

I like Ang Lee and all, but this film wasn't that good IMO. There are more worthy films.

VHS said...

Ang Lee is an american now. I never predicted it for FL.

My nominees predictions:

The Art Of Crying for Denmark
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days for Romania
Katyn for Poland
12 for Russia
The Year My Parents Went On Vacation for Brazil

I think Denmark takes the oscar.

Anonymous said...

I believe XXY (Argentina)may win the Oscar......

Great movie, controversial, well acted....definitley a strong contender.

Anonymous said...

Watch out for "Maldeamores" from Puerto Rico, produced by Oscar Favorite Benicio del Toro.

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Bar said...

Persepolis (France)
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Romania)
XXY (Argentina)
12 (Russia)
The Orphanage (Spain)

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Raymond said...

Caramel (Lebanon)
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Romania)
The Counterfeiters (Austria)
The Edge of Heaven (Germany)
... and who knows what else (Silent Light, The Orphanage, Persepolis -- let's hope not -- XXY, The Art of Crying)?

Caramel is a wonderfully accomplished film, accessible and eye-opening and a tour-de-force debut by writer - producer - director - star Nadine Labaki (and wowed Cannes, by the way). Edge of Heaven is strong, and moving, and should be a contender. The Counterfeiters, although conventional in presentation, is just the kind of film the Academy loves -- great peformances, too. And 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days cannot be denied -- especially with an outstanding performance by Anamaria Marinca.

Marcos said...

If Argentina were to win with XXY, it would be a rare case where the director of the 2nd winner for Argentina (Lucia Puenzo) is the daughter of the guy who directed Argentina's first win: Luis Puenzo with The Official Story (1985).

Kris said...

I don't believe in the chances of XXY and Silent light. Way too strange movies for academy's taste IMHO.

At the moment of the films I've seen, here's my top5:
1.Persepolis (France)
2.4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days (Romania)
3.Caramel (Lebanon)
4.Counterfeiters (Austria)
5.Class (Estonia)

(Here is the rest that I've seen in the order from best to worst: Iceland, Sweden, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Hungary). If Lust, caution would have been eligable, it would be on 4th place...

Kris said...

just saw another top contender!

Italy - La Scionsciuta

It was like a Hitchcock thriller! Even the music helped to build up the trills. This one might sneak into the top.

Plus, it won European Film Academy's "Audience" favorite film of the year! The girl in the lead speaks real russian (as she actually is a russian actress) not like the fake and lousy pronounciation of the "Eastern promises" guys...