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Sep 14 2016

More "Best Foreign Language Film"Oscar News

by Nathaniel R

Look at this cute still fromTrain Driver's Diary.That's Serbia's submission to the Foreign Language Film Oscar race which was announced yesterday.It won the audience prize at the Moscow Film Festival and tells the story of a retiring train driver training his son to take over.The old man holds an infamous record: the most accidental killings on the job.

Forty-one countries have now made their announcements official including high profile choices like Chile'sNerudawhich stars Gael García Bernal and could put the auteur Pablo Larraín in contention for yet another nomination towhatever haul his brilliantJackiepicks up.

Spain's submission ofJulieta,is even more high profile given Pedro Almodóvar's international stature...

This is only the sixth time that Spain has submitted an Almodóvar during his illustrious career.They've often picked strange times to both submit and shun their most world famous auteur since Luis Buñuel.We'll never forgive Oscar for passing onVolver(2006) in the category it should have won but at least Spain submitted it.Spain is currently in its longest dry spell ever without a nomination (12 years).

It would be a stretch to callMa Rosafrom the Philippines "high profile"but this submission is still of note for a few reasons.It's the first timeThe Philippineshave ever submitted a film by Brillante Mendoza,one of their most lauded directors.The film took the Best Actress prize forJaclyn Joseat Cannes. And,finally,one has to think that eventually The Philippines will receive a nomination.They've been submitting irregularly since 1953 and almost every year since 1993 without any success and they've tried everything from hit comedies,warm coming of age films,intimate character studies,historical dramas,and auteurist epics.Ma Rosais their 28th attempt.(Even so The Philippines are not the leader in this agonizing statistic;Portugal,Romania and Egypt have all submitted 30 or more times now without a nomination)

Oscar's two favorites in this category France & Italy have yet to announce but both are less popular with voters than they once were.France is in its longest dry spell without a win (25 years). Germany,the fourth most popular country in the category historically behind those two and Spain,has vaulted to first place in the context of this new century - 5 nominations and 2 wins in the past 15 years.Statistically that's good news for Germany'sToni Erdmannand bad news for Spain'sJulieta.(Not that such statistics matter in the face of viewers feelings for very specific films in specific calendar years once they're watching them.But it's interesting for trivia,general proclivities,and punditry purposes.)

Current Predictions for the nine finalists before nominations
Australia,Chile,Finland,Germany,Georgia,Norway,Romania,Serbia,and Spain.
(highly subject to change with more announcements)

Submission Charts
Afghanistan to Finland- 16 submissions thus far
George to Morocco- 9 submissions thus far
Nepal to Venezuela- 15 submissions thus far

Two high profile foreign films that werenotsubmitted by their home countries despite international acclaim but which are hitting US theaters...
Brazil'sAquarius(starring Sonia Braga) has won nothing but raves abroad but has had political trouble with the new region at home opens October 14th. Meanwhile South Korea didn't risk submitting the outre double-crossing period sex epicThe Handmaidenwhich opens October 21st.That's a shame becaues it is whollyamazing.You must see it in theaters.In a just world the Academy would shower it with craft love.

Official submissions that played or will play theatrically in the US in 2016
Venezuela'sFrom Afar(June 8th),Australia'sTanna(Sept 16th),Sweden'sA Man Called Ove(Sept 30th),Chile'sNeruda(Dec 16th),Spain'sJulieta(Dec 21st),Germany'sToni Erdmann(Dec 25th).Sadly not as many as usual.No submissions are yet scheduled to hit US theaters in the first quarter of 2017 but at least a few films each year try that route,banking on a nomination which may or may not come.

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Reader Comments (21)

I'm still so pissed about Volver not getting nommed in 2006!!Particularly when the final slate of nominees ended up being nothing to write home about.

September 14,2016 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos

The still from the Almodovar movie looks like a remake of Moonstruck.

September 14,2016 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

I'm super stoked for The Handmaiden!And I'm glad you loved it because it gives me confidence that it'll be great.I'm not a big fan of Park Chan Wook but the actors here are people I love to watch onscreen.

Being Filipino and all,I find Brillante Mendoza's stuff...unjustifiably punishing or just plain stank.I'm definitely more for Lav Diaz's craft.

September 14,2016 | Unregistered CommenterClarence

You can also add 'A Man Called Ove' to your US releases.Opens on September 30.

September 14,2016 | Unregistered CommenterSquasher88

Go Toni Erdmann!

September 14,2016 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

I'm an Indonesian and I am sure that they only will choose another boring male biopic movie for consideration.

September 14,2016 | Unregistered CommenterCraver

I personally find "Ma' Rosa"as mid-tier Brillante Mendoza at best.Jaclyn Jose though is quite great,especially her last scene where she's eating the fish balls.Jury member Donald Sutherland said that scene got her the award and I can definitely see why.

September 14,2016 | Unregistered CommenterIrvin

I noticed this year many countries made their submissions quite early in the game.That's a wise move.Coupled with a qualifying release in the States the same year,the situation is ideal.Witness Amour,Ida,A Separation and The White Ribbon,just to mention some recent examples.

I don't know the deadline for submissions,but I sure hope Argentina stops doing the same thing over and over again.They submit at the last minute.Right now there is not even a shortlist and the Argentine Academy's website is not up-to-date and makes no mention of when voting will take place.

There have been rumors that the chosen one would be "The Tenth Man",but now -what with Oscar Martinez's Best Actor Award at the Venice Film Festival- maybe they will go for "The Distinguished Citizen".

September 14,2016 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

México selects Desierto,from Jonas Cuarón

September 14,2016 | Unregistered CommenterDiego

In the first interview that Penélope gave minutes after being nominated for Volver,she was clearly upset for the snub.Also,let me just say that Carmen Maura was better than the entire best supporting lineup.

September 14,2016 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

From Afar was bleak and sticks with me.Alfredo Castro was fantastic.On Netflix now if anyone wants to see it.

September 14,2016 | Unregistered CommenterChris K

Peggy Sue - true!I recall her saying how bittersweet the nominations morning was because she was convinced that Volver was a lock in foreign film and had good chances for original screenplay,but in the end only she was nommed.

September 14,2016 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos

Luckily Netflix is abundant of foreign films and actually very quickly after they open in US ( if they open ).The main reason I keep a Netflix account.

September 14,2016 | Unregistered Commenteradelutza

I loved Volver and it was a shame it was not nominated for Foreign Language,Original Screenplay or Supporting Actress (Maura).

Speaking of snubs - the Brazilian committee headed by a rightwing conservative has snubbed Aquarius and submitted Little Secret.Could this mean Sonia Braga might FINALLY get a nomination for Best Actress?

Lets hope this doesn't mean Isabelle Huppert gets snubbed again.She is great in Elle and she is thoroughly deserving of a 'career' Oscar nomination this year.

p.s.we all know Viola Davis will win Best Actress - but is it true that it is a supporting role?Talk about reverse category fraud.

September 14,2016 | Unregistered CommenterBette Streep

Russia is choosing between:
- Venice Best Director winner "Paradise"by Andrey Konchalovskiy
- Russian Guild of Film critics Best Film winner "My good Hans"by Aleksandr Mindadze
- Russian Golden Eagle Best Film winner "Pro lyubov"by Anna Melikyan
- "The Duelist"by Aleksey Mizgirev,shot in IMAX,story about 19th century Czarist Russia is yet to have it's premiere at the end of September.
- Won special Jury prize in Karlovy Vary - "Zoology"by Ivan I.Tverdovskiy.
- "The disciple"by Kirill Serebrennikov,won some award in Cannes.

September 14,2016 | Unregistered CommenterKrister

Viola Davis will win Best Actress - but is it true that it is a supporting role?Talk about reverse category fraud.

Frances McDormand

September 14,2016 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

/3rtful -- off.Frances McDormand in Fargo is NOT a supporting role.

Bette -- that depends on who you talk to.In the first production of FENCES the Tony committee deemed the role supporting.and in the second production lead,so perhaps it's a borderline case.

September 15,2016 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

Carlos: I also love Volver,but I actually thought that year's Foreign Language Film lineup was one of the best ones of the aughts.The winner was The Lives of Others,which was one of the best winners to come out of Germany,and the other nominees were Denmark's After Wedding (a terrific Susanne Bier melodrama),Algeria's Days of Glory (the only one I haven't seen,though I've heard great things),Canada's Water (a lovely film) and my favorite of the bunch,Guillermo Del Toro's El Laberinto del Fauno.So,while it's a real shame that Volver couldn't make it in (I recently saw it again,it hasn't lost an ounce of what made it delicious 10 years ago),the overall lineup was a strong one.

September 15,2016 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

Fargo is 98 minutes and her screen time is less than 50.

September 15,2016 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

/3rtful - screentime is less important than narrative and Fargo has two leads: William H Macy and Frances McDormand

September 15,2016 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

"Viola Davis will win Best Actress - but is it true that it is a supporting role?Talk about reverse category fraud.

Frances McDormand"

Frances McDormand was definitely leading in Fargo.But I am not so sure about Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs.Wasn't he in the movie only for about thirty minutes?

September 16,2016 | Unregistered CommenterIshmael

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