Foreign Frontrunners

I need help in trying to identify the submitted Best Foreign Language hopefuls that have a decent chance of being included on the short list. I know Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s Biutiful has to be on it…c’mon. And that star Javier Bardem (winner of Best Actor prize in Cannes) should be included among the Best Actor hopefuls, and that it ought to qualify for Best Screenplay, Cinematography (Rodrigo Prieto), Musical Score (Gustvao Santaolalla) and Editing (Stephen Mirrione).

After that I’m more or less lost. Adrift. Looking for guidance. Because I really don’t know very much.

Possible frontrunners: Rachid Bouchareb‘s Outside The Law (Algeria), Danis Tanovic‘s Cirkus Columbia (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Susanne Bier‘s In A Better World (Denmark), Xavier BeauvoisOf Gods and Men (France), Feo Aldag‘s When We Leave (Germany), Jacek Borcuch‘s All That I Love (Poland), Oliver SchmitzLife Above All (South Africa).


40 thoughts on “Foreign Frontrunners

  1. clockwork taxi on said:

    what about Animal Kingdom? One of the best of the year.

  2. Is A Prophet not eligible for 2010? I’m not sure when it came out, but that movie is fantastic. I know it has it’s flaws, but I would expect Mesrine to make some kind of showing, or am I misreading what has been submitted and what can be submitted?

  3. A Prophet was nominated last year for best foreign film. While Mesrine wasn’t picked by France to represent them. They choosed Xavier Beauvois’ Of Gods and Men instead.

  4. You’re wise to pick “Life, Above All,” Jeff. Basically catnip to that voting branch: sombre, socially conscious, ultimately uplifting drama told from the perspective of an appealing child. That it’s also pretty good (and Ebert-endorsed) is just gravy.

    I think it’s the one to beat — If only it had a Holocaust angle, I’d declare the race over already.

    I haven’t seen Iraq’s “Son of Babylon” yet, but I’ve heard many people say it’s a threat for similar reasons.

  5. Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies has a very good chance of being nominated, I think. Great film, very topical (it deals with violence in the Middle East) while also telling a moving personal story. You know, it might even win the damn thing, who knows?

  6. ‘I Am Love’, from Italy? Not sure if it’s eligible, but it was quite good, and it has Tilda Swinton in the lead, so at least it has one actor the average person outside of Italy has heard of. She speaks Italian and even a little Russian in it (character is Russian-born, living in Italy) – in a perfect world, she’d be in the Best Actress hunt as well. She’s just awesome, really.

  7. Red Riding is in English (no accent jokes please), so that would disqualify if nothing else

    Carlos is ineligible because the long version played on European TV before it got any sort of theatrical release — the Academy doesn’t care if the theatrical and TV versions are different, it’s disqualified if “any version” plays on TV before the the theatrical release

  8. DOGTOOTH is Greece’s official entry and in a just world it would make it to the final five, but I doubt it. Be prepared for critical outcry when it is inevitably passed over a la GOMORRAH and 4 MONTHS.

  9. I doubt there will be as much of an outcry since (unlike those films) nobody who has seen Dogtooth could possibly mistake it for something the Academy would go for. I haven’t seen Uncle Boonmee, but from Apichatpong’s record I’d be sorta surprised if it even makes the shortlist. They’re “in the running” in the same sense that Taxidermia and Tsai Ming-liang were “in the running”.

  10. “I Am Love” is not in the running — the Italians submitted “The First Beautiful Thing” instead.

    Also, Ibeale and Clockworktaxi, the category title is Best Foreign Language film.

  11. Incendies by Montreal, Canada hometown hero will win the foreign film category. In fact, he should’ve been nominated for POLYTECHNIQUE last year. A searing drama about a University shooting in which 14 women were hot dead by a misogynist. But I digress, Incendies is very much of the now, surprised you didn’t see it. Maybe I’ll write up a review.


  12. I’ll spare everyone the usual shtick, but let’s face it: We all know that America makes better movies, HANDS DOWN, than the rest of the world. Foreign movies are a bunch of opium-tinted green-sheened bullshit where you can’t tell anybody apart because face it, most foreign people look the same.

  13. O.k., I screwed up on “Red Riding.’

    But discuss: given that so many great films debut on TV, given that commercial Hollywood fare basically sucks, if a film gets a theatrical release, even AFTER it’s played on TV, what makes it unworthy for nomination? I mean, if ‘You Don’t Know Jack’ had played a week im some West L.A. theater, wouldn’t Al Pacino be worthy of a Best Actror nom? The lines have blurred, folks. Time to chyange the rules.

  14. Confessions, which I believe is Japan’s entry, is brilliant, chilling, stylish stuff. Although I’d much rather see Miike’s 13 Assassins get the nod. A 45-minute non-stop samurai battle? Unbelievable.

  15. Each country picks a film. France picked Of Gods and Men instead of Certified Copy.

    Many of these films sound really good. I am most excited for Biutiful!

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