Thursday, January 20, 2011

Best Foreign Language Film

One of the most difficult categories in the Academy has whittled the selection down to nine films fighting for the five slots next Tuesday morning:

  • Biutiful (Mexico)
    • Mexico has earned 7 nominations; 0 wins.
  • Confessions (Japan)
    • Japan has earned 12 nominations; including 1 win.
  • Dogtooth (Greece)
    • Greece has earned 5 nominations; 0 wins.
  • Even the Rain (Spain)
    • Spain has earned 19 nominations; 4 wins.
  • In a Better World (Denmark)
    • Denmark has earned 7 nominations; 2 wins.
  • Incendies (Canada)
    • Canada has earned 4 nominations; 1 win.
  • Life Above All (South Africa)
    • South Africa has earned 2 nominations; 1 win.
  • Outside the Law (Algeria)
    • Algeria has earned 4 nominations, 1 win.
  • Simple Simon (Sweden)
    • Sweden has earned 14 nominations, 3 wins.
 How many of these films has opened in the United States?  I joke, because the answer is none, except the little, tiny late 2010 release of Biutiful, which is the highest profile of the top nine, with it's headlining star, Javier Bardem and director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Babel.)  Golden Globe winner In a Better World, directed by Suzanne Bier (Brothers, the original Danish film that inspired the 2009 Tobey Maguire-Natalie Portman one, and Things We Lost in the Fire) made it into the second round, as did festival favorites Incendies, and Dogtooth, which surely on it's reputation is the most surprising on the list, and surely the work of the outside Academy critical vote, rather than the populist one-- the foreign film committee has a bonkers voting process, in that a few films are selected each year based on the critical consensus, it was changed the year after the Academy stupidly snubbed the great Romanian abortion drama 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007.)  The only one I've viewed out of the group, out of luck not accessibility, was Spain's entry Even the Rain, which stars Gael Garcia Bernal; let's hope it's the weakest of the group, otherwise it's a sad slate!

Missing in action: the top prize winner from Cannes: Uncle Boomnee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Thailand) and festival favorite Of Gods and Men (France, always the Academy favorite country.)

Not eligible: Italy shamefully overlooked it's likely best shot in I Am Love and missed out on a nomination.  Sweden made the cut, but not for it's most successful import of 2010-- The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo wasn't submitted.

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