Friday, December 15, 2017

#Oscars2018 Foreign-Language Films Shortlist

Yesterday AMPAS announced the shortlist of nine (9) films that advance to the next round of voting in the Foreign-Language Film category.  Ninety-two 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 11.  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.

Academy members eligible to participate in the Nominations round of voting in New York, London, Los Angeles and, for the first time, the San Francisco Bay Area, will screen the nine shortlisted films in theaters over a three-day period from Friday, January 12, through Sunday, January 14, with three films screening each day.  Additionally, international members (who live outside of the U.K.) will be invited to opt-in to stream the nine shortlisted films on the Academy’s member site.  Members must see all nine films before casting their ballots.

Shortlist has fantastic films but my biggest disappointment is France submission, BPM being snubbed and perhaps the only slightly controversial selection belongs to Lebanon a spot that absolutely belonged to BPM, sigh.

This time did copy and paste from foreign-language submissions post to include film main honors.  It's very visible that all films, with the exception of one, are award winners at one of the three main film festivals.  Only South Africa submission is not a winner but film had the honor to open the Berlinale Panorama section.  Not very often AMPAS honors only films from major festivals but it happened this year and NO doubt there will be no reason to reprehend the Academy once again as their selections have the highest credentials.

But then BPM also was a major festival winner ... grrr. Sigh.

There is one very-controversial film in the shortlist, at least in its country of origin, Israel.  Yes, Foxtrot was very controversial at government, press and audiences levels but managed to become the country submission to 2018 Oscars and now, made it to the shortlist.  Haven't seen yet film BUT have seen everything Samuel Maoz has done -well,  Foxtrot is his second feature, first one was absolutely extraordinary, hypnotic and even claustrophobic, Lebanon. Of course I'm dying to see Foxtrot and very glad made it to the shortlist as know will give a necessary push among viewers.

Maoz is not the only director that have seen almost all his films and belong to -believe it or not- short list of contemporary directors I admire and follow very closely.  Sebastian Lelio from Chile has a magnificent contemporary body of work and he's still developing his style but his previous films are puzzling, engaging and outstanding.  Simply love Andrey Zvagintsev since his very first film I saw, The Banishment; his films are an absolute pleasure to watch, magnificent visual voyages with a very engaging story and both are blended into the most outstanding cinematic experience.  Both Lelio and Zvagintsev films are must be seen for me.

To go faster, have to see everything by Fatih Akin and Ruben Östlund and lucky me, haves seen everything they have done before and no doubt will see everything they do in the future. So this is my little homage to great directors that made it to the shortlist even when one of my most admired directors, Michael Haneke -Austria submission- didn't made it to the list, sigh.

Too early to get my crystal ball but a little peak into the future tells me The Square has too-many good chances to win top award and probably the other four that will have nominations could be Chile, Hungary, Russia and Israel.

Shortlist of Nine

Chile: Una Mujer Fantástica (A Fantastic Woman), Sebastián Lelio (2017 Berlinale Best Screenplay winner)

Germany: Aus dem Nichts (In the Fade), Fatih Akin (2017 Cannes Best Actress winner)

Hungary: Testről és lélekről (On Body and Soul), Ildikó Enyedi (2017 Berlinale Golden Bear winner)

Israel: פוֹקְסטְרוֹט Foxtrot, Samuel Maoz (2017 Venice Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize winner)

Lebanon: قضية رقم ٢٣ (aka قضية رقم 23) L'Insulte (The Insult), Ziad Doueiri (2017 Venice Best Actor winner)

Russia: Нелюбовь Nelyubov (Loveless), Andrey Zvyagintsev (2017 Cannes Jury Award winner)

Senegal: Félicité, Alain Gomis (2017 Berlinale Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize winner)

South Africa: Inxeba (The Wound), John Trengove (2017 Berlinale Panorama)

Sweden: The Square, Ruben Östlund (2017 Cannes Palme d'Or winner) 

Nominations for the 90th Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 23, 2018.  The awards show will be held on Sunday, March 4th.

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