Friday, December 16, 2016

89th Academy Awards Foreign-Language Film Shortlist

Yesterday AMPAS announced the shortlist of nine (9) film that advance to the next round of voting in the Foreign-Language Film category.  Eighty-five (85) films had originally been considered in the category.

Foreign Language Film nominations are determined in two phases.  The Phase I committee, consisting of several hundred Los Angeles-based Academy members, screened the original submissions in the category between mid-October and December 12.  The group’s top six choices, augmented by three additional selections voted by the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee, constitute the shortlist.

In Phase II, the shortlist will be winnowed down to the category’s five nominees by specially invited committees in New York, Los Angeles and London.  They will spend Friday, January 13, through Sunday, January 15, viewing three films each day and then casting their ballots.

There is no need to read the articles by industry journalists as with a bird's eye to the list found what will be highly controversial for the next days.  No, the Academy doesn't have an easy task selecting 9 films in a year with many extraordinary films in the list of 85; but, there are some omissions that are inexplicable like Pedro Almodovar's Julieta, Pablo Larrain's Neruda and let's also include a more controversial film, the winner of Venice Golden Lion, From Afar by Lorenzo Vigas.

Then we have Italy's submission and  Berlin Golden Bear winner, Fire at Sea by Gianfranco Rosi that didn't make it to the shortlist but there is always a chance that will get a Best Documentary nomination.  What puzzles me is the inclusion of Switzerland's submission My Life as a Zuchinni by Claude Barras as was expecting film to get a Best Animation Film nomination and now wonder if film has chances in the more visible animation category.

Every major industry film journalist/critic is talking about the omission of Elle by Paul Verhoeven; me, I understand it as didn't enjoyed film that much.  If film didn't had Isabelle Huppert as the lead, film would have been forgettable as French cinema and when I consider the many films by Huppert that I have seen, she has many more with better outstanding performances. So, it's understandable that film didn't advance in this category.  I'm still hoping Huppert to get a Best Actress nomination.

But the list has some films that I'm glad are honored with a pre-nomination accolade.  Most pleased with Xavier Dolan's film advancing as well as with Asghar Farhadi's latest; with all the European honors film is collecting Denmark's submission seems to deserve the place in the shortlist and not crazy about director but Russia's submission really looks like having great visuals and dramatic story.

Australia: Tanna, Martin Butler and Bentley Dean

Canada: Juste la fin du monde (It's Only the End of the World), Xavier Dolan

Denmark: Under sandet (Land of Mine), Martin Zandvliet

Germany: Toni Erdmann, Maren Ade

Iran: فروشنده Forushande (The Salesman), Asghar Farhadi

Norway: Kongens nei (The King's Choice), Erik Poppe
Russia:  Рай Rai (Paradise), Andrei Konchalovsky

Sweden: En man som heter Ove (A Man Called Ove), Hannes Holm

Switzerland: Ma Vie de Courgette (My Life as a Zucchini), Claude Barras

Considering the 9 films above, my crystal ball tells me the American Academy will do as the European Academy and succumb to Toni Erdman.  Not that I mind as will be great to have a female director winning the category, so hope to be right and AMPAS members will not snub film because of the same reason I wish could win. Sigh.

To check announcement at official site go here.  Nominations for the 2017 Oscars will be announced on Tuesday, January 24, 2017. The 89th Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live on the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. 

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