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Wednesday, December 25, 2019

#Oscars2020 International Feature Film Shortlist

Yes, I'm back after traveling in such a busy time for cinema crowded awards season but it's impossible to say NO to Paris in Christmas and la Cité de la Lumière was even more luisant.  Did followed the news so was aware of the shortlists announced on December 16 and here is the one that always has our attention now with 10 films instead of 9.

This edition AMPAS accepted ninety-one films which in the Phase I of the voting the International Feature Film Committee will view all and vote by secret ballot.  The group's top seven choices, augmented by three additional selections voted by the Academy's International Feature Film Award Executive Committee, constitutes the shortlist of ten films.

These 10 films are now subject to the voting Phase II where the International Feature Film Committee must view the ten shortlisted films and vote by secret ballot to determine the category's five nominees.  Just for your info the final voting for the award is restricted to active and life Academy members who have viewed all five nominated films.

Shortlist has surprises but the biggest of all is the inclusion of the film that absolutely called my attention when learning about each country submission and immediately became must be seen for me, Czech Republic submission The Painted Bird.  Sees that selection process now is working better than ever as almost all films in list are extraordinary films.

If you follow the awards season probably know that all expectations are for Parasite winning this Oscar, the question is if movie will break the ice ceiling and win the Best Motion Picture of the Year. Nevertheless, you never know how committee members will behave, so wouldn't be nice to hear the award going to other international feature and only at the end of the show learn that the Academy members know better than the committee and vote for Parasite.  Gee, that will be fantastic but let me remind you that no matter how many new members are invited each year, AMPAS member age average is still high and older industry people tend to be very conservative which means no opening to something that is not USA.  But still hope for a surprise.

No doubt it's a great year for European cinema and should say great European cinema as films are of the highest quality in storytelling and production values.  Eight of ten are European and to the surprise of many list has an African film and the "sure-thing" film from South Korea.  Out of the ten films only two did not transit the main film festival circuit and it's one of those years when almost all Cannes award winners are in the shortlist as we have the Palme d'Or winner, the Grand Prix winner, Jury Prize winner and the Best Actor winner.  Then there is Cannes Un Certain Regard Best Director winner, a film that is from Russia and surprise, surprise was competing for the Queer Palm Award! Definitively it's strange country authorities allowing a "Queer" film to repesent Russia, isn't?

Seems is the first time a documentary could have two nominations as Honeyland is shortlisted here but also got shortlisted in the documentary feature category.  This is also highly surprising for a film that was commissioned as publicity by country government; but undoubtedly shows that creativity and filmmaking mastery can happen even in advertising.

Shortlist of Ten

Czech Republic: Nabarvené ptáče (The Painted Bird), Václav Marhoul (#Venezia76 Competition, Cinema for Unicef award winner)

Estonia: Tõde ja õigus (Truth and Justice), Tanel Toom

France: Les Misérables, Ladj Ly (#Cannes2019 Jury Prize winner)

Hungary: Akik maradtak (Those Who Remained), Barnabás Tóth

North Macedonia: Медена земја Medena Zemja (Honeylad), Tamara Kotevsk and Ljubomir Stefanov (documentary) (2019 Sundance multiple award winner)

Poland: Boże Ciało (Corpus Christi), Jan Komasa (#Venezia76 Giornate degli Autori Europa Cinemas Label and Edipo Re awards winner)

Russia: Дылда Dylda (Beanpole), Kantemir Balagov (#Cannes2019 Un Certain Regard Best Director award, and FIPRESCI UCR award winner - Queer Palm Competition)

Senegal: Atlantique (Atlantics), Mati Diop (#Cannes2019 Grand Prix winner)

South Korea: 기생충 Gisaengchoong (Parasite), Bong Joon-ho (#Cannes2019 Palme d'Or winner)

Spain: Dolor y Gloria (Pain and Glory), Pedro Almodóvar (#Cannes2019 Best Actor award and Disque d'Or for Best Composer award winner)

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