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« August.It's (Nearly) a Wrap| Main| Mark Your Calendars!Awards Season Takes Shape »
Aug 28 2019

Will Brazil finally return to Oscar's spotlight with "Invisible Life..."?

by Nathaniel R

Brazil has arguably had a rough go of it with the Oscars.亚博主页Though they've been nominated four times they have yet to win,and at least a couple of their "misses"are pretty major.Lately they've also been beset by political problems at home which has extended into their arts.Note the shunning of the intimidatingly greatAquarius(2016) in its year due to the righteous politics of both the film and its creative team.

But perhaps this year's awards season will hold a happy ending to Brazil's 21 year Oscar drought?Their candidate this year isthe Un Certain Regard winner at Cannes,The Invisible Life of Euricie Gusmao(based on the novel of the same name,pictured left) a 1950s period melodrama about two sisters.The film is directed byKarim Aïnouz(previously best known forMadame SataandFuturo Beach) and co-stars the legendary Fernanda Montenegro (Central Station) who has some Oscar history herself...

Brazil's four nominations to date

  • Keeper of Promises(1962)
    This drama about a man keeping a promise to carry a cross 29 miles and donating his land to the poor is the only Brazilian winner ever of the Palme D'Or at Cannes.It also holds the distinction of being the very first South American movie nominated in the Best Foreign Film category.It's sometimes referred to as "The Given Word".

  • O Quatriloh(1995)
    An turn of the century drama about two immigrant couples from Italy

  • Four Days in September(1997)
    A fictionalized take on a true story about a kidnapping of a US ambassador in 1969.Alan Arkin played the kidnapped American.

  • Central Station(1998)
    The last time Brazil was up for the Best Foreign Language Film prize they had considerable momentum (3 nominations in four calendar years time),a big crossover foreign hit (it more money than some of the English language Oscar nominees that year likeHilary & Jackie,Velvet Goldmine,andLittle Voice) and they even swung a Best Actress nomination for the estimable Fernanda Montenegro.In any year that didn't have a foreign film smash the size ofLife is Beautiful,they surely would have won.They still should have,don'cha know,but sometimes the timing is just working against you.

Three of Brazil's most notable (unnominated) submissions.

  • Pixote(1980)...five years before Hector Babenco made a real Oscar splash with the English languageKiss of the Spider Woman,he made this classic about street kids which amassed many filmmaker and cinephile fans.Sadly it was disqualified for an absurd reason (test screenings before the eligibility dates in Brazil or some such)

  • City of God(2002)...though it wasn't nominated in its submission year it surprised everyone (includingallpundits) by receiving an incredible 4 nominations (including Best Director) the following Oscar season nearly an entire year after its US release (it was one of those films that tried scheduling itself in February,assuming it could piggyback on a foreign film nomination for box office interest,but the nomination didn't come.) The movie had the last laugh,though.

  • The Year My Parents Went on Vacation(2007) made the finalist list but didn't end up with a nomination.

Do you have a favourite Brazilian film?Do you like the work of Karim Anouz?


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Reader Comments (16)

There was some grumbling online that the Brazilian selection committee had deliberately snubbed Bacurau because of Kleber Mendonca Filho's politics,as they did with Aquarius years ago.I wouldn't be surprised in the least,but I can't help but think that Brazil stands to do much better with 'Euridice Gusmao' in the Oscar race than they would have with Bacurau,which is a very unusual mix of genres.

August 28,2019 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Few seemed to think Bacarau was as strong as AQUARIUS though.

"the only Brazilian winner ever of the Palme D'Or at Cannes."I guess *technically* although BLACK ORPHEUS won the Palme d'Or and the Oscar as a French production.BAFTA lists is it as France AND Brazil though (and Italy).I don't know if anybody would go "Ah yes that great classic of French cinema.:.Black Orpheus."Hmmm.

August 28,2019 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

@Evan I read "bacurau"also had strong support,but "euridice"was the ultimate choice.with no protest at cannes this year,I think the government didn't bother to interfere this year (like they could care less about cinema,cannes etc unless it 'targeted' them).

"bacurau"is a different beast from "aquarius",but a wonderfully twisted film!

August 29,2019 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo

also "keeper of promises"is incredible (as is the play which is based on),people should check it out.

August 29,2019 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo

Love everything about Brazilian films.The very first film I saw wasCentral do Brasilwhen it wowed the Berlin crowd and later the Oscar-friendly film industry.I was disappointed it didn't win Best Foreign Language film that year at the Oscars and even more disappointed that Fernanda Montenegro didn't win lead actress.亚博主页I know that almost everyone here in TFE are rooting for Cate Blanchett as the deserving winner but Montenegro's Dora tugged at my emotional heartstrings in ways I can't quite articulate.

I am excited to seeBacurauandEuridice Gusmãoat some point when they are widely distributed.

If Fernanda Montenegro is not (yet) a national treasure,she should be a national institution by now.Few actresses moved me with their unsentimental performances and yet manage to do so with nary a false or wrong note or beat.It might be a longshot but I hope Fernanda M.gets a surprise supporting actress nod somewhere someplace.

August 29,2019 | Unregistered CommenterOwl

I thought BACURAU was brilliant but I will try to keep an open mind about Euridice Gusmão since I loved FUTURO BEACH,also by Karim Aïnouz.

August 29,2019 | Unregistered CommenterSteve G

I wanted Sonia Braga smashing the red carpet.

August 29,2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy

The actresses who play the sisters as younger women,Carol Duarte and Julia Stockler,are Both really good actresses.

Carol exploded a couple of years ago playing a trans teen FTM in a soap opera.She is a very Strong and technically able young actress.

August 29,2019 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

I live in Toronto,and one of my best TIFF experiences was seeing AQUARIUS at its premiere back in 2016.
Sonia and Kleber were there,and the whole audience was completely enamoured with them and the film.

Its snub that year was the cherry on top of a big year of disappointment with the politics of Brazil ...

But another favourite of mine is THE SECOND MOTHER!It didn't make much of an awards season splash,but Regina Casé is phenomenal!

August 29,2019 | Unregistered CommenterSpencer

Central Station is one of my favorite films of all time,and to see it lose to the odious Life Is Beautiful was especially offensive.One of the worst results in Academy history,which is saying a lot.

Yesterday I happened to see O Qu4trilho,Brazil's nominee in 1995.Wish I liked it,but it's thoroughly mediocre and feels like the remnants of a film twice as long.It's especially poor at trying to show the passage of time (wasn't any money budgeted for makeup?).

Brazil should have been nominated for Neighboring Sounds (2013) The Way He Looks (2014) and,especially,The Second Mother.(2015).

August 29,2019 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

The second mother is fantastic.

August 29,2019 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Thanks for this incredible coverage!

I also was surprised to realize that "Black Orpheus"was technically a winner for France;everything about it is tied to Brazil so it's just the quirkiness of this category.Of course "Central do Brasil"is just...incredible,and Fernanda is amazing.Can't wait to fill in the gaps with some of the other films mentioned here.

August 29,2019 | Unregistered CommenterRobert

Edge of Democracy also has a shot in the documentary slot.

August 29,2019 | Unregistered Commenterremy

I loved EURIDICE when I saw it earlier this month (it was a beautiful way for me to end the Melbourne Film Festival),and am so glad it got the submission.(BACARAU would have been a worthy submission too,but IMO they went with the better film.)

EURIDICE also has bonus Fernanda Montenego in the last act of the movie (So,Owl,there may be a chance...)

Te only thing that worries me about the film getting the shortlist/nomination is the presence of a semi-erect penis in the early stages.The scene itself doesn't worry me,but I am concerned that it will be a distraction for more conservative voters.(Then again,DOGTOOTH got a nomination,so here's hoping...)

(PS still rooting for an ultimate win for PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE,though - the hands-down best movie of the year so far!)

August 29,2019 | Unregistered CommenterTravis C

My favorite brazilian movie is Wood & Stock: Sexo,Orégano e Rock and Roll but i need to watch more.

P.S.I love the poster of The Invisible Life of Euricie Gusmao

August 29,2019 | Unregistered CommenterCésar Gaytán

It received no awards buzz whatsoever in the US,maybe because it's a nearly 3-hour-long period arthouse film,but if you are seriously interested in Brazilian cinema,check out To the Left of the Father.Not sure if anything made here in this century has topped it.

September 21,2019 | Unregistered CommenterGustavo

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