Wednesday, 18 January 2012

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM SHORTLIST


BULLHEAD - Belgium
FOOTNOTE - Israel
IN DARKNESS - Poland
MONSIEUR LAZHAR - Canada
OMAR KILLED ME - Morocco
PINA - Germany
A SEPARATION - Iran
SUPERCLASICO - Denmark
WARRIORS OF THE RAINBOW: SEEDIQ BALE - Taiwan



The selection process for Best Foreign Language Film is rather different from the majority of Oscar categories. First, the films are submitted by their countries - only one film per country, and it must be both financed by sources mostly from this country and also mostly in one of this country's official native languages. The films do not have to meet the strict release guidelines for films eligible in main categories, though. Then, this shortlist is decided upon. Last year, a committee was established with the intention of allowing more alternative films the chance to be nominated, as many of the voters' choices were extremely conventional. You only need to look back over previous nominees and winners to see this. The committee is responsible for reserving places for specific films which might not otherwise have been nominated. This resulted in a nomination for Dogtooth last year - a very good, very un-Oscar style of film and a choice which infuriated many voters. This year, a lot of the more critically acclaimed, original, inventive films haven't made the cut at this stage, alongside many of the better known films. Voters must watch all of these films if they're to so much as vote for this category, which might suggest that the best films will be nominated next week, but don't be ridiculous. Committee or no, there'll be at least one stinker. A Separation currently leads the way; thank goodness it's here. It had bloody better be nominated, and it had bloody better win.

A SEPARATION has got to get in. It has everything going for it.
PINA has veteran Wim Wenders at the helm, is one of the most well-known and successful, and one of the most critically acclaimed. It may be a little too alternative for them, though.
IN DARKNESS is a Holocaust film from respected director Agnieszka Holland. It'll probably win, fs.
MONSIEUR LAZHAR, I haven't seen, but apparently it's very good, and not very challenging.

Is it shameful that the only other one I've heard of is Seediq Bale? Nah, the other films haven't made much of a splash internationally. But Seediq Bale isn't up their street, I don't think, and there's usually at least one nominee which I'm totally unaware of.