Jose here with a take on the Foreign Language Film Oscar race.
The World is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner (read my review here) not only has the coolest name in AMPAS' foreign film shortlist, it might also go ahead and get Bulgaria its very first Oscar win.
First we must consider that this whole post might be irrelevant come Tuesday, but for now indulge me while I explain why I think this movie might make it to the final five and snatch the damn thing.
The movie doesn't have even have a Stateside release date yet (except for a film festival in Florida) but I've read many articles that proclaim they'd nominate the film merely because of its awesome title. AMPAS of course can't do that, because the people who vote for this category need to have seen all the movies.
Fortunately for them, they won't have to do that much thinking, given how the movie is made out of previous Oscar winners and nominees!
The first scene which narrates the main character's birth is straight out of Amélie (complete with sepia cinematography and a musical theme ripped off Yann Tiersen's score for Jeunet's movie).
And later in the plot there's a certain reference to how a childhood treasure can trigger healing adulthood qualities.
I know Amélie didn't win the Oscar but there's more...
The plot contains elements that do more than recall Roberto Benigni's Life is Beautiful, which like it or not, was a big hit with AMPAS. In this movie a grandfather (played by Kusturica regular Miki Manojlovic) helps his ailing grandson (Carlo Ljubek) recover his health by devising a way to make life a game based on backgammon rules. This doesn't only ease the grandson's trauma from living in a refugee camp during his childhood, but makes him see how positive thinking can Auntie Mame the iron curtain! The whole "let's make a game out of historical misfortune" strategy is perfect to hint of the film's importance while ignoring any trace of reasoning on the audience's part.
But wait! There's also moments from Zorba the Greek, Manojlovic's performance is one part Pelle the Conqueror, two parts Phillipe Noiret in Cinema Paradiso (he even looks like him in some scenes) and before you can say "Greatest Hits: Foreign Oscar version" you'll get references to The Lives of Others.
Oh and did I mention the film is based on an autobiographical novel?
If this doesn't sound like Oscar slam dunk I don't know what does then...
Has anyone else seen this movie? If so, what do you think of its Oscar chances?