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Dec 14 2018

Oscar's Foreign Race Pt 7 - Famous Auteurs / Frequent Oscar-Seekers

by Nathaniel R

On Monday the87 movie wide official list of Academy Award Foreign Film submissionswill be whittled down to 9 titles.It's a merciless cull  -- why aren't their 15 finalists as inAPP亚博娱乐 ?  -- and even moreignominiousis the knowledge that less that 50% of those that are deemed finalists will be discarded at the last second before they can taste victory.At least with a 10 wide list,just one more title,it would be kinder,giving you a 50/50 chance.That would feel like a toss of the die and thus more whimsical than unkind in the long run.

But nevertheless,until that fateful cull on Monday,all the competitors in the huge foreign film category can feel excited about their prospects.Here's a last look behind the scenes at the field.We've previously watchedthe trailers,broke the listdown by genre,and discussed thefemale directors,first time filmmakers,andinternational hunks.

Today we conclude the general field coverage with the 12 directors who ought to be familiar with the game at this point...

Just as in Hollywood where some directors are routinely favored by their hometown industry,each country tends to have its own darlings.NOTE: Due to several misunderstanding on Twitter and here in the comments,a reminder that this is NOT an all time list.This is a statistic lists solely based on directors who happen to be in play THIS year.Any foreign film regulars throughout history do not appear if they are not in play this year.

Carlos Diegues(sometimes referred to as Cacá Diegues) is the all-time leader in Brazilian Oscar submissions and an influential figure in his country's cinema.He's been entered into the Oscar race for the following films:Xica(1976),Bye Bye Brazil(1979),Subway to the Stars(1987),Better Days Ahead(1989),Tieta of Agreste(1996),andOrfeu(1999).His submission this year is the decades spanning circus dramaThe Great Mystical Circus(2018).None of his films have been nominated yet but he's still working at 78 years of age!

Nuri Bilge Ceylan(Turkey),is a Cannes and cinephile favorite,who has been submitted five times beginning with his international breakthroughDistant(2002).Distant was his third film and all of his features since then have been submitted by Turkey exceptClimates(2006).The three hour longWild Pear Tree(2018) is his current submission. Turkey has never been nominated for the foreign language Oscar category.Three Monkeys(2008),also by Ceylan,was the closest they came within the current system of Oscar voting since it made the January finalist list in its year.

Markus Imhoof(Switzerland) has been submitted four times.More on him in the "previously nominated"section below.


Mohamed Al-Daradji(Iraq) has been submitted quite a lot when you consider that Iraq has only submitted 9 films to date.His filmography accounts for 33% of their entries!His three submissions wereDreams(2006),Son of Babylon(2010),and nowThe Journey(2018).Iraq has yet to be nominated for the Oscar.

Alvaro Brechner of Uruguay
Alvaro Brechnerhas been submitted by Uruguay every time he's made a feature:Bad Day to Go Fishing(2009,his debut),Mr Kaplan(2014),and now the prison dramaA Twelve Year Night(2018).A Twelve Year Nightstars the rising actor Chino Darín who also co-stars in Argentinia's submission this yearEl Angel.

Silvia Caiozzihas been submitted by Chile three times forThe Moon in the Mirror(1990,the country's very first Oscar submission),Coronation(2000),and nowAnd Suddenly the Dawn(2018) which is the longest film from the 87-wild fieldclocking in at over 3 hours and fifteen minutes.It's his return to features after a 13 year absence.The 74 year old director made his debut as a director back in 1974 after a few years serving as cinematographer on other people's movies.

Mostofa Sarwar Farooki (the one in the boxing gloves) of Bangladesh
Mostofa Sarwar Farookihas been submitted by Bangladesh more times than any of his peers.Previously submitted forThird Person Singular Number(2010) andTelevision(2013) his latest isNo Bed of Roses(2018)

Nadine Labakiis one of world's cinema's most successful female directors.She's three-for-three at home since every feature she's directed Lebanon has submitted:Caramel(2007),Where Do We Go Now?(2011) and nowCapernaum(2018).No other Lebanese director has been submitted more than twice.What's more,all three of her films have been successful outside of Lebanon.Caramelbroke the million dollar mark at the US box office (which is hard to do for foreign titles) and made $14 million globally andWhere Do We Go Now?a musical,was also an international success,making over a ½ million in the States and winning a Critics Choice nomination for Best Foreign Film.Her new featureCapernaum,which we just barely discussed on the podcast,just opened in select cities.It won the Jury prize at Cannes this summer and is now nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Foreign-Language Film.GO SEE IT.

Lee Chang-dongis one of the greatest South Korean filmmakers,a country with no small shortage of truly gifted filmmakers so that's saying a lot.Strangely South Korea has yet to be nominated.Lee was submitted previously forOasis(2002),Secret Sunshine(2007),and nowBurning(2018) which recently tied withShopliftersas the best foreign film of 2018 at the LAFCA awards.Despite his reknown in South Korea they did not submit what we personally consider his best film,Poetry(2010).Burningis now in theaters in select cities so GO SEE IT.

Pietra Brettkelly(New Zealand) submitted for two documentariesA Flickering Truthand now the fashion docYellow is Forbidden
Sergei Dvortsevoy(Kazakhstan) submitted for both of his narrative features,TulpanandAyka(his submission this year which won Best Actress at Cannes in the summer).He also makes documentaries.
Benedikt Erlingsson(Iceland)  this actor turned director (who we're personally huge fans of) has been submitted for both of his movies to date,Of Horses and Menand this year'sWoman at War(which Jodie Foster has just optioned for a remake vehicle for herself).
Matteo Garrone(Italy) submitted forGomorrahand nowDogman
Hirokazu Koreeda(Japan) submitted forNobody Knowsand nowShoplifters,this year's Palme D'or winner.Read our interview with the master filmmakerhere
Nour Eddine Lakhmari(Morocco) submitted forCasanegraand nowBurnout
Dante Lam
(Hong Kong) This prolific action director has been submitted forTo the Foreand now the war dramaOperation Red Sea
Jamshid Mahmoudi
(Afghanistan) submitted for both of his movies to date,A Few Cubic Meters of LoveandRona Azim's Mother.He also produced and wroteParting,another Afghan submission though he didn't direct that one.

And these three,who are discussed in the next section below.
László Nemes(Hungary),Pawel Pawlikowski(Poland),Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck(Germany)

These directors are more familiar with Academy members having been on the circuit before promoting their films,or sometimes working in Hollywood.That does not,however,mean that their films will be favored though it does give them a slight advantage in that filmmakers who are more well-known always get more attention in any category.The Foreign race has a complicated nomination process which helps make the nominations more defendable given that the movies are actually being watched to a larger degree than in the more high profile categories where all AMPAS members in that branch are free to vote whether or not they've actually seenanything.

Alfonso Cuaróndirected Mexico's hopefulRoma(reviewed) a year in the life narrative about a housemaid to a wealthy family in the Mexico City of 1970.It's his first Spanish language film sinceY Tu Mama Tambien,an international hit that wasnotsubmitted by Mexico for foreign film.After that Mexican classic,Cuarón went on to make only English language films (until now) and won two Oscars,亚博主页both forGravity(2013) in the categories of Directing and Film Editing.

Imhoof promoting "El Dorado"at Berlinale

Markus Imhoofdirected Switzerland's entryEldorado,a documentary about the current refugee crisis.He's been submitted four times but the first time he was submitted in 1981 withThe Boat is Full,Switzerland received a nomination.That '81 film was also about a refugee crisis but an earlier crisis,as it took place in World War II.

Géza Röhrig and László Nemes.Credit: Jose Solis

László Nemesis up for Hungary's Oscar submissionSunset,a pre-World War I drama about a woman taking over her family's millinery business.It's his second feature.His debut was the Holocaust dramaSon of Saul,which won the Oscar in this category.

Pawlikowski won the Oscar for "Ida"

Pawel Pawlikowskidirected Poland's tragic romanceCold War,about a singer and musical director having a passionate affair that stretches all over Europe during the 1950s and 1960s.Pawlikowski previously directed Poland's only Oscar win in this category,Ida(2013) the black and white drama about a novitiate nun.Idawas also nominated for Best Cinematography and since Pawlikowski has the same cinematographer again forCold Warand the film is even more breathtaking to look at,we hope that this one repeats that *extra* nomination.While many directors featured in the foreign-language film category go on to make English language films after breaking through in their home countries,Pawlikowski went in the opposite direction.He started his career with well reviewed English language films.He made the beautifully sadLast Resortand the sapphic romantic dramaMy Summer of Love(which introduced the world to Emily Blunt) before he started making acclaimed Polish dramas.

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarckdirected Germany's three hour dramaNever Look Awayabout two university students and a disapproving father.Von Donnersmarck's last submissionThe Lives of Others(2006),his debut,won the Oscar in this category in a hotly competitive year where it faced off with Mexico'sPan's Labyrinth.Never Look Awayis only his third film.Inbetween his two German submissions,he faceplanted with his only English language picture,The Tourist(2010) starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie.

(because lolz and wtf?)

Teemu Nikkihas the honor of being Finland's submitted directed this year withEuthanizer.It's only his third feature though he makes a ton of short films.CuriouslyEuthanizerlost Best Picture at Finland's own Oscars (called the Jussi Awards) but the film it lost to,亚博主页The Eternal Road,would have only been eligible for submission by Finland in last year's Oscar race due to release dates,but they went withTom of Finlandinstead for reasons we cannot fathom still.Name recognition doesn't mean much once people are actually watching the movies and that movie was not good.

That's it for general field coverage.From now on we'll be concentrating on individual films,including those which make the finals of course.See the prediction chart here.

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Reader Comments (22)

It should be 15 films.It'll allow for all the top contenders to make the shortlist,and yet still allow the smaller,not as popular,yet still brilliant films to make the list.

I've watched 33 of the foreign films right now and I'm always disappointed when the 9 are announced.

December 14,2018 | Unregistered CommenterRod

Rod -- share your rankings of the 33.

December 14,2018 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Rod,33 films!that´s awesome.What 9 films would you pick?

December 14,2018 | Unregistered CommenterRafael

Oh yessss tell us!!Please!

December 14,2018 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

The Spanish director was nominated in the short fil category a few years ago

December 14,2018 | Unregistered Commenterh

You left off Burning's Lee Chang-dong.His magnificent Secret Sunshine was South Korea's submission in 2007.

December 14,2018 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

Also,so obvious that I,too,overlooked it - Cambodia's Rithy Panh,whose Graves Without a Name is a sequel to his Oscar-nominated Missing Picture.

December 14,2018 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

It's a shame that The Great Mystical Circus is an awful submission,does not represent at all the greatness of Brazilian movies this year.Loveling or Araby has should be picked instead.

December 14,2018 | Unregistered CommenterElton Telles

Promise this is the last one.Hirokazu Koreeda' Nobody Knows was Japan's submission in 2004.

December 14,2018 | Unregistered Commenterken s.


please,share your rank!

I honestly hope that

ROMA* | Shoplifters* | Burning* | Capernaum | The Wild Pear Tree* | Birds of Passage | Border | Sunset |

Be on the final nine.And the *be nominated.

December 14,2018 | Unregistered CommenterJon

I've seen 29 of the submissions and would go with the following list:

Burning,South Korea
Birds of Passage,Colombia
Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts,Indonesia (available on iTunes!)
Girl,Belgium (I feel like I must preface: I'd love it except for the horrible ending)
El Ángel,Argentina
Woman at War,Iceland

Honorable Mention: Never Look Away,Germany;The Guilty,Denmark;I Am Not a Witch,the United Kingdom

Come to think of it,if they come up with their standard,majority European shortlist this year,that will be a real shame with all the great films out of Asia and Latin America.

Dishonorable Mention: Euthanizer,Finland (that photo above makes so much sense given the horrible worldview of that is brutal and angry);Cocote,Dominican Republic (pretentious directorial choices,long ethnographic scenes of death rituals that bore you to tears);Operation Red Sea,Hong Kong (all action,no characterization or of the worst films I've ever seen)

December 14,2018 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Funny thing is that I haven't watched Roma yet.It's in theatres now where I live so I'm watching it tomorrow.

Family First - Canada
Birds of Passage - Colombia
The Guilty - Denmark
Woman at War - Iceland
The Cakemaker - Israel
Dogman - Italy
Shoplifters - Japan
Capernaum - Lebanon
What Will People Say - Norway
Burning - South Korea
Border - Sweden
The Family - Venezuela

I wasn't a fan of Cold War.

I haven't watched Girl,Never Look Away ...

Worst one by far - Operation Red Sea,although Gutland was terrible too.

December 14,2018 | Unregistered CommenterRod

I don't have a list of all Argentine submissions through the years (those who made it to the shortlist / nomitation or not),but Juan Jose Campanella was submitted twice,for Son of the Bride and Secret in Their Eyes.Additionally,I am practically sure he was submttied with either Luna de Avellaneda o El mismo amor,la misma lluvia.
Same thing with Pablo Trapero.Submitted for The Clan and Lion's Den.And (not 100% sure) for White Elephant.

December 14,2018 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos


Thanks for the list.I don't liked Cold War too..


Nathaniel consider only the submit movies and directors of this year.

But,yes: if we consider all the time,Campanella would be on the list.Like Almodóvar,Fellini,Bergman,De Sica,etc

December 14,2018 | Unregistered CommenterJon

I wish I could see Brazilian movies more often.I usually love them: Central do Brasil,O Quatrilho,Tieta do Agreste,Aquarius...

Rooting hard for Dogman because I got the feeling that it won't make the cut.Such an unequal fight this year.

December 14,2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue


December 14,2018 | Unregistered CommenterHarmodio

The list is missing the Panamanian director Abner Benaim who has directed two documentaries that have represented Panama at the Oscars.亚博主页
"Invasion"which was the first time that Panama participated in the Oscars.亚博主页
"Ruben Blades Is Not My Name"which participates this year.

Abner Benaim also directed "Chance"which was a great blockbuster in Panama but did not participate in the Oscars.亚博主页

December 14,2018 | Unregistered CommenterHarmodio

Oh dear!I forgot Cold War,which is literally my favorite movie of the year.I'd replace Woman at War with it.

Can't believe I did that!

December 15,2018 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

"Signal Rock"is the second time Chito S.Roño was submitted by the Philippines.His previous submission was "Dekada '70"which had a similar-ish theme to "Roma"(but from the point of view of the matriarch rather than the maid).

Our most submitted directors however is a tie between Gil Portes and Marilou Diaz-Abaya who were submitted three times each.

December 15,2018 | Unregistered CommenterIrvin

peggy sue --- i would so love to do blog histories or even "smackdowns"of this category but in my research over the years I've found very few years (if any) where all five nominees are available

December 15,2018 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Deny Arcand (CANADA) was submitted 5 times,getting 3 nominations (Jesus of Montreal,Decline of the American Empire) and one win (Barbarian Invasions) Xavier Dolan was submitted twice;I Killed My Mother,and Mommy (which was a finalist).

December 16,2018 | Unregistered CommenterIshmael

I hate ROMA!!!!so pretentious empty and boring....BORING!!!!!

December 17,2018 | Unregistered CommenterStjeans

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