Wednesday, February 10, 2021

#Oscars2021 International Feature Film Shortlist

Yesterday, February 9, 2021 as promised AMPAS released on time the infamous shortlists for several Oscars categories. Must admit had fun with all silly memmes from those waiting all day for the announcement and the Academy taking its time, they even released a "sarcastic" meme with Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs. Playing time for the academics, isn't nice. Well, the result is that for me and so many others from around the world it was February 10 and yes, I was still awake waiting to see if certain movie and certain short film made it to the list. Good news: they did!!! So, went to sleep and woke up late. Sigh, too-much info!

Know is not the post category name BUT will share the good news, Pedro Almodovar's The Human Voice made it to the Live Action Short Film shortlist! Bravo!

First there were only the nominations, then there was a shortlist of 9 that eventually got to be a shortlist of 10 and then was changed again to a shortlist of 15 which is a good number of films when it's considered there were 93 countries with submissions; but, hope the Academy stops with 15 and would appreciate if they go back to 10, as there should be "something special" left to those that make it in this category, even if is only being listed in the shortlist.

Thanks to the unusual 2020 year and the proliferation of streamers options plus festivals opting to stream OPEN to the world, was able to watch many of the 93 films. But, shortlist has just a few I have seen (lol) so perhaps one of those fancy cinema streamer services I subscribe will decide to (pay rights) show the 15 movies in this fantastic shortlist. The very-good news is that most of my favorites made it to the list; but the biggest snub for me is Georgia's submission Dea Kulumbegashvili's Begining.

So, what's in the shortlist? There are five (5) films directed by female directors which keeps the 33% distribution shown with the 93 submissions.  There are two (2) documentaries and surely the most interesting fact is both being listed also in the Documentary category and doubling their chances of getting an Oscar nomination.  There are five (5) films not released in a major film festival which means ten films come from major film festivals and due to the unusual cinema year, most come from Venice International Film Festival.

There is no doubt that current Oscars edition could be major for Netflix and yes, all categories shortlists have several Netflix films advancing to next voting round.  It's not easy to identify if an international feature film is or is not in Netflix as unfortunately there is still the region system imposed by archaic cinema theaters and that many wish will transfer to streamers, but I hope will not.  Anyway, there are at least 2 films in below list that are available on Netflix, submissions from Mexico and Taiwan; have seen both but was flabbergasted with Mexico's submission, film stayed with me for days and not because immigration story (it's common) but because execution and filmmaker unexpected point-of-view. 

What happens with Netflix also happens with HBO; so, Romania's submission is available to watch on HBO's streamer version in some regions. I love Romanian new wave cinema but was not impressed by this documentary filmmaking style, the story is truly outstanding but production values and general style was not for me. There are 2 movies that absolutely blew my mind and strongly recommend to watch as have great stories with outstanding filmmaking style and production values, Denmark and Guatemala submissions. As a matter of fact my award goes to ... Denmark' submission! Yes, believe has what Academics like and it's an outstanding film by none other than master-filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg. But IF there is an #Oscars2021 miracle my wish goes to a representative of the new generation of master filmmakers in-the-make: Jayro Bustamante painful, surreal and magical La LLorona.

Next step are the nominations on Monday, March 15 and the awards show on Sunday, April 25. So there is enough time between shortlist, nominations and winners to speculate about nominees and winners, to make all the fuzz and buzz about films to stimulare those that haven't seen it to do so and well, there are two more months where Oscars become relevant to some outside the cinema industry. Sigh.

Shortlist of Fifteen (15)

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Quo Vadis, Aida?, Jasmile Žbanić (#Venezia77 Competition)
Chile: El Agente Topo (The Mole Agent), Maite Alberdi (documentary)
Czech Republic: Šarlatán (Charlatan), Agnieszka Holland (#Berlinale2020 Special Gala)
Denmark: Druk (Another Round), Thomas Vinterberg (#Cannes2020)
France: Deux (Two of Us), Filippo Meneghetti
Guatemala: La LLorona (The Weeping Woman), Jayro Bustamante (#BiennaleCinema2019 Giornate degli Autori Director's Award winner)
Hong Kong: 少年的你 Shao nian de ni (Better Days), Derek Tsang
Iran: خورشید Khorshid (Sun Children), Majid Majidi (#Venezia77 Competition)
Ivory Coast: La Nuit des Rois (Night of the Kings), Philippe Lacôte (#BiennaleCinema2020 Orizzonti)
Mexico: Ya no estoy aquí (I'm No Longer Here), Fernando Frías
Norway: Håp (Hope), Maria Sødahl (#Berlinale2020 Panorama Label Europa Cinemas award winner)
Romania: Colectiv (Collective), Alexander Nanau (documentary) (#Venezia76 Out of Competition)
Russia: Дорогие товарищи! Dorogie Tovarishchi! (Dear Comrades!), Andrei Konchalovsky (#Venezia77 Special Jury Prize winner)
Taiwan: 陽光普照 Yang guang pu zhao (A Sun), Chung Mong-hong
Tunisia: الرجل الذي باع ظهره The Man Who Sold His Skin, Kaouther Ben Hania (#BiennaleCinema2020 Orizzonti Best Actor and Edipo Re Award winner)

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