Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Oscar's List.

Jose here with some Oscar news.



If the Academy often gets trashed for its choices, their Foreign Language Committee takes this to the ultimate level. Year after year they specialize in ignoring avant garde, gritty, groundbreaking cinema in favor of WWII dramas, epic soap operas and unimaginative biopics.

This year however, they didn't mess it up so much, their shortlist released earlier today stands as follows:
  • Argentina, El Secreto de Sus Ojos, Juan Jose Campanella (discussed previously here)
  • Australia, Samson & Delilah, Warwick Thornton
  • Bulgaria, The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks around the Corner, Stephan Komandarev
  • France, Un Prophète, Jacques Audiard
  • Germany, The White Ribbon, Michael Haneke, director
  • Israel, Ajami, Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani
  • Kazakhstan, Kelin, Ermek Tursunov
  • The Netherlands, Winter in Wartime, Martin Koolhoven
  • Perú, The Milk of Sorrow, Claudia Llosa
Out of this list, five movies will move on and be nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar (if you aren't familiar with the nomination process you can read more about it here).

It's a relief of sorts to see how The White Ribbon and A Prophet, which have been considered the frontrunners since their debut in Cannes last May, weren't snubbed.
AMPAS has shown special reluctance to agree with the French film festival and has ignored prominent films like Gomorrah last year and 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days in 2007 to nominate more Oscar friendly pics.

This year alone we saw how Departures-the "safest" choice- won over The Class, Revanche and Waltz With Bashir.
Their shortlist however proves that they are perhaps vying for a change considering that only one of the movies (Winter in Wartime) deals specifically with WWII and they snubbed baity choices like Max Manus from Norway.

Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon which won the Golden Globe on Sunday and swept the European Film Awards in December, might prove to be a crossover hit with some people hinting at Haneke's possibility of being nominated in the Screenplay and Director categories at the Oscars.

Australia's submission also proves to be an interesting choice considering how this committee often disregards movies that contain any traces of the English language and the haunting love story between outback aborigines pushes their limits in this sense.

Of course no year can come without a conspicuous snub and once again the Foreign Language Committee shows that they aren't impressed by Romania's New Wave, snubbing the wonderful Police, Adjective altogether. This decade Romania has specialized in raw, documentary like cinema unafraid to look at the ugliest parts of their society through a darkly humorous lens.
AMPAS has yet to recognize any of their films.

Have you seen any of the possible nominees? Which do you think will make it to the top five?

24 comments:

Jeff said...

my country(Chile) really messed up by not submitting "The Maid" Idiots...

Andrew R. said...

Aw, where's About Elly? I heard that was awesome.

The only one I've seen is White Ribbon (my pick by default...but it'll probably win), but I've heard very good things about A Prophet and Milk of Sorrow.

I wish they had submitted Let the Right One In either this or last year...loved it.

George James said...

I'm pleasantly surprised to see Peru in that list. I was hoping for it but didn't think it had a chance. If La Teta Asustada gets a nom I'm gonna go crazy.

I was also pulling for Taiwan's No Puedo Vivir Sin Ti. That last frame is still etched in my brain since I saw it last Fall.

I've only seen half this list so far. I'm pretty sure The White Ribbon is going to take it, followed closely by Un Prophete.

Danzumees said...

I've seen 8 of the 9. Really happy about the list, and even more happy about the snub of Romania's dull film (sorry, that's just my personal taste).

My favourites are: 1.France; 2.Germany; 3.Bulgaria;

I also liked Israel and Netherlands, but I guess one of the movies without much words - Australia or Kazakhstan will get in. But then again there's some fuss about Argentina. Didn't have much love for the Argentinian movie though. Peru is yet to be seen tomorrow...

Who I think got snubbed: Sweden, Finland and Norway... but then again I'm living in this corner of the world, so I guess I relate to these movies better than the Academy...

Juan Carlos said...

I´m so happy for The Milk of Sorrow! I didn´t think it could make it to the shortlist, because it´s not the type of film the Academy goes for. It deserves to be nominated, it´s my favorite film of 2009 and it´s from my country.

lingu said...

really , what about "About Elly"? have you seen it. I am Iranian , but fairly it's one of the greatest Iranian movies ever made. I think it will be among the 5 finalists. see the article I have written in Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/About_Elly

Abe Fried-Tanzer said...

I've only seen A Prophet and The White Ribbon, and both are really good. I'd be happy with a win for either, but I really do hope to see the others before the Oscars happen. Do we know if any of them are getting released in the U.S.? Nathaniel, the only one you have listed as coming out here is Ajami. Any word on the others?

Marsha Mason said...

I saw "A Prophet" which I thought was completely engrossing. (Can't say the same for "Summer Hours," which I guess got snubbed by France, and which seemed too much an exercise to me.) Want to see "White Ribbon" ASAP. I'm guessing one of those is you're winnter.

Co said...

Let's go Peru!! I would love to see my country get a nomination! The movie is wonderful too!

Patricio said...

Probably the White Ribbon is gonna win. Nobody says nothing about The Secret in their Eyes.. is a great film from Argentina. I'm happy for Peru too.

ZiZo said...

Ajami is kind of a Crash with Jews, Arab-Israeli-Muslims, Arab-Israeli-Christians, Palestinians... So it's defintely in.

amir_uk said...

Dammit, About Elly didn't make it. Such a shame about that. A masterclass in cutting and tension-building... At least Ribbon, Prophet and Milk of Sorrow are here (which I full expect to translate to the shortlist)... Crash with Jews sounds like a hoot. Hmm...

Amir said...

i know mir_uk
what a shame, i totally thought about elly would make it.
did they see that movie?
*sigh*

Wellington Sludge said...

I've seen both "Samson and Delilah" and "The Milk of Sorrow" - both would be worthy nominees.

Glenn Dunks said...

It's a shame that we have become so accustomed to Asian cinema being snubbed here that nobody has mentioned Mother.

I am so excited for Samson & Delilah though! Oh to hear Quentin Tarantino and Pedro Almodovar say that name - even as just a nominee - on stage at the Kodak would be bliss.

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Y Kant Goran Rite said...

I'm so excited about The Milk of Sorrow getting mentioned (not just because it's excellent but because it is soo anti-Oscary) that I didn't pick up on the silly About Elly and Mother snubs.

Although I wouldn't say we're used to Asian cinema getting snubbed (do let's consider the most recent foreign film honoured with the Ampass stamp of mediocrity, as well as most of Zhang Yimou's filmography), but certainly Asian genre cinema (which Mother kinda sorta is).

NeiLDC said...

Spain has snubbed almodovar Broken Embraces as their entry instead they have send The Dancer and the Thief. Yet Broken Embrace was nominated in the Golden Globe. I have heard La teta asustada in International Fest. but id like to be included in top 5 is the one from The Netherlands, Oorlogswinter. Max Manus was snub. hmmm another favorite. Philippine Entry was Grandpa is Dead is dramedy.... second option was Kinatay by Brillante Mendoza winning him for Best Director in Cannes.

Bill_the_Bear said...

I haven't seen either "White Ribbon" or "A Prophet" (they haven't opened in Montréal), but I'd bet one of them will win...and likely "White Ribbon."

I suspected that Canada's "J'ai tué ma mère" wouldn't make the shortlist...and it didn't. It's not the sort of film AMPAS would go for.

Middento said...

Can I just say that I'm THRILLED with all the love for La teta asustada on here? I'm also (half-)Peruvian and study Peruvian film and I'm over the moon that the film has a shot at the big prize. (Look, getting into the final five would be a major leap for a Peruvian film.)

I've seen Un Prophete and really liked it -- not your typical French submission, so I'm not unhappy that it's here. I'm also heard wonderful things about The White Ribbon, Samson & Delilah and El secreto de sus ojos. It should be an interesting year, at least in this category.

(¡Viva, Perú!) (Couldn't help myself...)

Wayne said...

Have not seen any of the nominees but have it on good authority that the White Ribbon, A Prophet and The Secret in Their Eyes were all excellent. ;) I'm gonna say that Argentina, Australia, France, Germany and Peru will be the final shortlist.

Spartak said...

I have seen all of them (actually I have seen half of all the candidates,a bit more then 30)...
And again Academy surprised me for bad and for good...But I mostly agree with them (6 of 9 films are in my list too and only 4 of 9 from my prediction)...

Argentina - This oscar year stands out with "too many" crime films or relate to it. (except Argentina and France,it is Cuba, Denmark, Hungary,Israel,Japan,Mexico,Romania,Slovenia,South Korea.And it is only from the those I have seen).And I can't see how this film stand out of the line (for me half of the list above is better).The biggest accuse for this movie from me that it is to long for such a movie and also I think that the director "forgot" to chose if he wants to make crime movie or romantic one.The mix of both of them in this case was rather bad...For me it's rather hard to say if it gonna make it to the nomination or not...I hope not.

Australia - An interesting one...I like films that have little dialogue,I think that was the reason.The film also has great camera work (it was the director of the film,who stood behind it).But the thing I don't like about the movie is its' music.Don't understand me wrong,the music itself is good,but it doesn't come together with the theme of the film.Most of the songs are "too happy".Maybe it's only my feeling.I also think that it is one of the three films that make it to the list through the "professional" jury (together with Israel and Peru).

Bulgaria - Very cheerful and optimistic film,so I liked it...Also I was glad that the directors/writes didn't put to much attention to the "communist part" (making it much more dramatical picture)...One of my favourites (second one,after Germany).I think it is the dark horse of the competion,it can rathen win or even not make it to the final 5.

France - Obviously one of the favourites for winning...I am quite sure that it gonna make it to the nominations...An old-style crime drama.



Kazakhstan - Pure magic...Ermek Tursunov proves that you don't have to use even a single word (there is no dialogue in this movie) to provide a piece of art!It is the second film from my top 9 that wasn't in my predictions...As far as I know (correct me if I am wrong) the Academy is not too fond about the movies with little dialogue (or in this film even without it),one of the only exceptions was French "Le Bal",which was nominated back in 1983,but it was also a musical (or it is more correctly to say dancial)... I just think that the fact that two "silent" movies are in the list can possibly ruin for both of them,hope it won't happen.

Germany - I don't think that I have to speak too much about this film (everything is said already by a lot of people).I know that it has been more then 20 years since Golden Palm winner won Oscar in this category,but I think that this period can really come to the end this time.I think that "The White Ribbon" is the favourite to win (ok,in my original prediction it was Norway) and not only mine...

Spartak said...

Israel - My country...The only movie from the list I have seen twice...And...I don't like.Yeah,I would rather prefer to see "Lebanon" as Israel representive (but it is another story).The most intresting thing that the things I didn't like about it is the things that he getting good reviews for (like editing).The mosaic style doesn't suit the film and I am really got confused in all the characters,while I am watching it first time.Neither of the directors are Alejandro González Iñárritu (mosaic is his calling card) and all the action was not too fascinating for me...Also I think that the fact of two directors one Jewish and the second Arabic working together made most of the work and the desicion to put it on the list was more political than professional (hope I am wrong)...But a good word about the film,cinematography,which was great.Off course,I won't be against seeing it in the nominations (or winning),but I have to say that I won't be really happy.

Netherlands - When I have seen this film in the short-list I was really spokeless...From all the 9,it is the only film I can say even one good word about and also the least of them I would expect to see in the list...

Peru - I suppose that it was one of the 3 films that was chosen by the "professionals".It wasn't in my prediction,cause I thought that "Police,adj." would make it instead of it.Though I happy it didn't.Really great movie,I don't think it would make further.

A last word,I am really glad NOT to see Finland in this list,which I expected to get nominated as I thought it to be very "academic",it turned the good way,I was wrong...
The bad thing is the snub of Norway,which I thought to be the clear favourite as being exellent WW2 drama.And it was also one of my own favourites (and I had really hard thought before putting Germany uppon it).

Anonymous said...

To Jeff: I saw The Maid and I thought it was a wonderful film...not exotic enough for Oscar's taste but what a powerful performance by the lead. It is a film that needs to be seen and understood in Latin America because its social message is very important...