Oscar Monday: record numbers, but who is going to make the cut?


On Friday, the list of 83 submissions, a record number, for the Foreign Language Film Oscar were revealed. As is the case every year, there were a few notable omissions, including Cannes entries Incompresa and The Wonders, which have gone on to be successful at festivals around the world, and Lukas Moodysson’s comeback We Are the Best!, but no omission has rivalled the uproar that occurred when Palme d’Or winner Blue is the Warmest Colour missed the cut last year due to its late release date (it’s eligible for this year, but, thankfully, France’s board realised what a silly decision submitting it this year would be).

Here is the full list:

Afghanistan, “A Few Cubic Meters of Love,” Jamshid Mahmoudi, director;
Argentina, “Wild Tales,” Damián Szifrón, director;
Australia, “Charlie’s Country,” Rolf de Heer, director;
Austria, “The Dark Valley,” Andreas Prochaska, director;
Azerbaijan, “Nabat,” Elchin Musaoglu, director;
Bangladesh, “Glow of the Firefly,” Khalid Mahmood Mithu, director;
Belgium, “Two Days, One Night,” Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne, directors;
Bolivia, “Forgotten,” Carlos Bolado, director;
Bosnia and Herzegovina, “With Mom,” Faruk Loncarevic, director;
Brazil, “The Way He Looks,” Daniel Ribeiro, director;
Bulgaria, “Bulgarian Rhapsody,” Ivan Nitchev, director;
Canada, “Mommy,” Xavier Dolan, director;
Chile, “To Kill a Man,” Alejandro Fernández Almendras, director;
China, “The Nightingale,” Philippe Muyl, director;
Colombia, “Mateo,” María Gamboa, director;
Costa Rica, “Red Princesses,” Laura Astorga Carrera, director;
Croatia, “Cowboys,” Tomislav Mršic, director;
Cuba, “Conducta,” Ernesto Daranas Serrano, director;
Czech Republic, “Fair Play,” Andrea Sedlácková, director;
Denmark, “Sorrow and Joy,” Nils Malmros, director;
Dominican Republic, “Cristo Rey,” Leticia Tonos, director;
Ecuador, “Silence in Dreamland,” Tito Molina, director;
Egypt, “Factory Girl,” Mohamed Khan, director;
Estonia, “Tangerines,” Zaza Urushadze, director;
Ethiopia, “Difret,” Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, director;
Finland, “Concrete Night,” Pirjo Honkasalo, director;
France, “Saint Laurent,” Bertrand Bonello, director;
Georgia, “Corn Island,” George Ovashvili, director;
Germany, “Beloved Sisters,” Dominik Graf, director;
Greece, “Little England,” Pantelis Voulgaris, director;
Hong Kong, “The Golden Era,” Ann Hui, director;
Hungary, “White God,” Kornél Mundruczó, director;
Iceland, “Life in a Fishbowl,” Baldvin Zophoníasson, director;
India, “Liar’s Dice,” Geetu Mohandas, director;
Indonesia, “Soekarno,” Hanung Bramantyo, director;
Iran, “Today,” Reza Mirkarimi, director;
Iraq, “Mardan,” Batin Ghobadi, director;
Ireland, “The Gift,” Tom Collins, director;
Israel, “Gett, the Trial of Viviane Amsalem,” Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz, directors;
Italy, “Human Capital,” Paolo Virzì, director;
Japan, “The Light Shines Only There,” Mipo O, director;
Kosovo, “Three Windows and a Hanging,” Isa Qosja, director;
Kyrgyzstan, “Kurmanjan Datka Queen of the Mountains,” Sadyk Sher-Niyaz, director;
Latvia, “Rocks in My Pockets,” Signe Baumane, director;
Lebanon, “Ghadi,” Amin Dora, director;
Lithuania, “The Gambler,” Ignas Jonynas, director;
Luxembourg, “Never Die Young,” Pol Cruchten, director;
Macedonia, “To the Hilt,” Stole Popov, director;
Malta, “Simshar,” Rebecca Cremona, director;
Mauritania, “Timbuktu,” Abderrahmane Sissako, director;
Mexico, “Cantinflas,” Sebastián del Amo, director;
Moldova, “The Unsaved,” Igor Cobileanski, director;
Montenegro, “The Kids from the Marx and Engels Street,” Nikola Vukcevic, director;
Morocco, “The Red Moon,” Hassan Benjelloun, director;
Nepal, “Jhola,” Yadav Kumar Bhattarai, director;
Netherlands, “Accused,” Paula van der Oest, director;
New Zealand, “The Dead Lands,” Toa Fraser, director;
Norway, “1001 Grams,” Bent Hamer, director;
Pakistan, “Dukhtar,” Afia Nathaniel, director;
Palestine, “Eyes of a Thief,” Najwa Najjar, director;
Panama, “Invasion,” Abner Benaim, director;
Peru, “The Gospel of the Flesh,” Eduardo Mendoza, director;
Philippines, “Norte, the End of History,” Lav Diaz, director;
Poland, “Ida,” Pawel Pawlikowski, director;
Portugal, “What Now? Remind Me,” Joaquim Pinto, director;
Romania, “The Japanese Dog,” Tudor Cristian Jurgiu, director;
Russia, “Leviathan,” Andrey Zvyagintsev, director;
Serbia, “See You in Montevideo,” Dragan Bjelogrlic, director;
Singapore, “Sayang Disayang,” Sanif Olek, director;
Slovakia, “A Step into the Dark,” Miloslav Luther, director;
Slovenia, “Seduce Me,” Marko Šantic, director;
South Africa, “Elelwani,” Ntshavheni Wa Luruli, director;
South Korea, “Haemoo,” Shim Sung-bo, director;
Spain, “Living Is Easy with Eyes Closed,” David Trueba, director;
Sweden, “Force Majeure,” Ruben Östlund, director;
Switzerland, “The Circle,” Stefan Haupt, director;
Taiwan, “Ice Poison,” Midi Z, director;
Thailand, “The Teacher’s Diary,” Nithiwat Tharathorn, director;
Turkey, “Winter Sleep,” Nuri Bilge Ceylan, director;
Ukraine, “The Guide,” Oles Sanin, director;
United Kingdom, “Little Happiness,” Nihat Seven, director;
Uruguay, “Mr. Kaplan,” Álvaro Brechner, director;
Venezuela, “The Liberator,” Alberto Arvelo, director.

The Foreign Language category is notoriously difficult to predict, due to it existing almost beyond the rest of the race. But, like any category, films will begin to gather buzz in the coming months (some already have begun this), getting a better idea of what will make the shortlist and eventual nominations. At this point, predicting is purely spitballing. In alphabetical order, here’s the hottest contenders currently.

Wild Tales, Argentina 

For: getting substantial early chatter; played very well at TIFF; has Sony Pictures Classics in the US, who are well known for getting films into the Foreign Language race; it’s been #1 in Argentina for 8 weeks

Against: could be overtaken by another film, SPC have to maintain buzz

Two Days, One Night, Belgium

For: the Dardennes are long overdue, Marion Cotillard stars, was a hot Palme d’Or contender, topical subject matter

Against: IFC will be putting most of their energy behind Boyhood; the Dardennes have never been nominated before, so why now?

Mommy, Canada

For: first Dolan film since I Killed My Mother to be submitted, easily his ‘biggest’ and most talked about film yet, breaking box office records in Canada, shared a prize at Cannes with Godard, has a ‘wunderkind’ narrative going for it, Roadside Attractions distributing, sounds like an upbeat watch

Against: could be too ‘young’ skewed, Dolan could be seen as too young and having plenty more opportunities

Ida, Poland

For: early in the year release that is still being talked about, strong reviews, surprisingly very strong box office, known director

Against: early release, chatter could peter out

Winter Sleep, Turkey

For: Palme d’Or winner, played well at festivals, Adopt Films is distributing (got Omar into the category last year), known director

Against: distributor may not be strong enough, length could make voters apprehensive to watch

Possibilities – The Way He Looks, Brazil; Tangerines, Estonia; White God, Hungary; Timbuktu, Mauritania; Norte, the End of History, Phillippines; Leviathan, Russia; Force Majeure, Sweden


2 thoughts on “Oscar Monday: record numbers, but who is going to make the cut?

    1. Yup 🙂 Odd, isn’t it? I do too, it deserves recognition. But yeah, it wouldn’t have done very well if submitted this year, the chatter’s moved on.

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