- (2008) Slumdog Millionaire, Let the Right One In and The Reader
- (2009) The White Ribbon
- (2010) Fish Tank and Un Prophète.
Tis a pity we can't bring the world closer together for simultaneous multilingual film discussions.
The Best Director is filled with heavyweights. When will you ever see an Oscar lineup that's this populated with critical giants: Pedro Almodóvar Broken Embraces, Andrea Arnold for Fish Tank, Jacques Audiard for Un Prophete, Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire, Michael Haneke for The White Ribbon and Lars von Trier for Antichrist. Maybe a lot of what led to these nominations is reputation (I don't think this is anywhere close to the best work from any of the nominees, Audiard & Arnold excluded since I haven't yet seen those pictures) but it's still nice to read their names under "best".
Here's Best Actress because one should never go without them... Actresses that is, particularly the best ones.
- Penélope Cruz, Broken Embraces
- Charlotte Gainsbourg, Antichrist (Cannes Winner)
- Katie Jarvis, Fish Tank
- Yolande Moreau, Seraphine (César Winner)
- Noomi Rapace, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo --->
- Kate Winslet, The Reader (Oscar Winner)
You can see a full list of nominees here.
For me the big surprise was the snub of Giovanna Mezzogiorno. She's been collecting raves and honors for months as Mussollini's mistress in Vincere. Her absence feels like a snub not because she's deserving (I haven't seen the performance) but because the reputation of the star turn precedes it. Perhaps EFA voters just didn't like the movie (it was only recognized for Editing and Actor). The doubly nominated eyebrow raiser was Swedish thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which will compete for Best Actress and Best Composer. Good year for Sweden with two films in major play at the EFAs... the other being that little vampire movie that could.
That Oscarless Prophet
Maybe I'm naive about its content -- I understand that its brutal but Oscar isn't automatically squeamish (they're inconsistent on that front) -- but from this vantage point I think Sony Pictures Classics made a bad decision delaying Un Prophete (A Prophet) until next February in the U.S. With 10 spots open for Best Picture why weren't more arthouse distributors looking at opportunities like this one? Wherever the Audiard picture has played it seems to have seized audiences by the throat. People come away raving. Who's to say that it couldn't have become a critical pet here in the US and competed in more categories than just Foreign Film come Oscar time? Why not build its rep as a masterpiece (if that's what it is) by opening it in August or September and letting people discover it / become obsessive about it? Seems risky to chance it all, marketing wise, on the unpredictable response of the foreign film branch.