Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Ranking the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Submissions

The Hunt is the arguable frontrunner.

It was announced yesterday that 76 foreign language films - an all-time high - are eligible for the 86th Annual Academy Awards. In honor of this news, I took a foolhardy crack at ranking them according to the likelihood of being nominated. This was far from an exact science, and I kind of hope my bottom pick makes the cut in January. After all, this category is usually a crap shoot.

The Past

1. Denmark, "The Hunt," Thomas Vinterberg, director
2. Saudi Arabia, "Wadjda," Haifaa Al Mansour, director
3. Iran, "The Past," Asghar Farhadi, director
4. Canada, "Gabrielle," Louise Archambault, director
5. Romania, "Child’s Pose," Calin Peter Netzer, director
6. Germany, "Two Lives," Georg Maas, director
7. Chile, "Gloria," Sebastián Lelio, director
8. Australia, "The Rocket," Kim Mordaunt, director
9. Austria, "The Wall," Julian Pölsler, director
10. Czech Republic, "The Don Juans," Jiri Menzel, director

Neighboring Sounds

11. Palestine, "Omar," Hany Abu-Assad, director
12. Cambodia, "The Missing Picture," Rithy Panh, director
13. Israel, "Bethlehem," Yuval Adler, director
14. Bangladesh, "Television," Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, director
15. Ecuador, "The Porcelain Horse," Javier Andrade, director
16. United Kingdom, "Metro Manila," Sean Ellis, director
17. Georgia, "In Bloom," Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross, directors
18. Brazil, "Neighboring Sounds," Kleber Mendonça Filho, director
19. Kazakhstan, "Shal," Yermek Tursunov, director
20. Colombia, "La Playa DC," Juan Andrés Arango, director

The Grandmaster

21. Italy, "The Great Beauty," Paolo Sorrentino, director
22. Latvia, "Mother, I Love You," Janis Nords, director
23. Moldova, "All God’s Children," Adrian Popovici, director
24. Hong Kong, "The Grandmaster," Wong Kar-wai, director
25. Afghanistan, "Wajma – An Afghan Love Story," Barmak Akram, director
26. Hungary, "The Notebook," Janos Szasz, director
27. Bosnia and Herzegovina, "An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker," Danis Tanovic, director
28. Turkey, "The Butterfly’s Dream," Yilmaz Erdogan, director
29. Russia, "Stalingrad," Fedor Bondarchuk, director
30. Croatia, "Halima’s Path," Arsen Anton Ostojic, director

Back to 1942

31. France, "Renoir," Gilles Bourdos, director
32. Albania, "Agon," Robert Budina, director
33. Poland, "Walesa. Man of Hope," Andrzej Wajda, director
34. Sweden, "Eat Sleep Die," Gabriela Pichler, director
35. Lebanon, "Blind Intersections," Lara Saba, director
36. India, "The Good Road," Gyan Correa, director
37. Greece, "Boy Eating the Bird’s Food," Ektoras Lygizos, director
38. Mexico, "Heli," Amat Escalante, director
39. China, "Back to 1942," Feng Xiaogang, director
40. Morocco, "Horses of God," Nabil Ayouch, director

I Am Yours

41. Nepal, "Soongava: Dance of the Orchids," Subarna Thapa, director
42. Slovenia, "Class Enemy," Rok Bicek, director
43. Norway, "I Am Yours," Iram Haq, director
44. Switzerland, "More than Honey," Markus Imhoof, director
45. Belgium, "The Broken Circle Breakdown," Felix van Groeningen, director
46. Azerbaijan, "Steppe Man," Shamil Aliyev, director
47. Egypt, "Winter of Discontent," Ibrahim El Batout, director
48. Japan, "The Great Passage," Ishii Yuya, director
49. Philippines, "Transit," Hannah Espia, director
50. Pakistan, "Zinda Bhaag," Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi, directors

Ilo Ilo

51. Indonesia, "Sang Kiai," Rako Prijanto, director
52. Finland, "Disciple," Ulrika Bengts, director
53. Spain, "15 Years Plus a Day," Gracia Querejeta, director
54. Estonia, "Free Range," Veiko Ounpuu, director
55. Serbia, "Circles," Srdan Golubovic, director
56. Lithuania, "Conversations on Serious Topics," Giedre Beinoriute, director
57. New Zealand, "White Lies," Dana Rotberg, director
58. Singapore, "Ilo Ilo," Anthony Chen, director
59. Venezuela, "Breach in the Silence," Luis Alejandro Rodríguez and Andrés Eduardo Rodríguez, directors
60. Ukraine, "Paradjanov," Serge Avedikian and Olena Fetisova, directors


61. Taiwan, "Soul," Chung Mong-Hong, director
62. Montenegro, "Ace of Spades - Bad Destiny," Drasko Djurovic, director
63. Iceland, "Of Horses and Men," Benedikt Erlingsson, director
64. Peru, "The Cleaner," Adrian Saba, director
65. South Korea, "Juvenile Offender," Kang Yi-kwan, director
66. Chad, "GriGris," Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, director
67. Bulgaria, "The Color of the Chameleon," Emil Hristov, director
68. Portugal, "Lines of Wellington," Valeria Sarmiento, director
69. Uruguay, "Anina," Alfredo Soderguit, director
70. Slovak Republic, "My Dog Killer," Mira Fornay, director

Blind Spot

71. South Africa, "Four Corners," Ian Gabriel, director
72. Argentina, "The German Doctor," Lucía Puenzo, director
73. Netherlands, "Borgman," Alex van Warmerdam, director
74. Luxembourg, "Blind Spot," Christophe Wagner, director
75. Thailand, "Countdown," Nattawut Poonpiriya, director
76. Dominican Republic, "Quien Manda?" Ronni Castillo, director


  1. Wow. I've literally only seen The Hunt and The Past, two films I'd be very happy to see win, let alone be nominated. It is rather strange that New Zealand has a submission in there, especially as White Lies got some pretty middling reviews, but I suppose it won't get a nomination. Great to see so many submissions, though!

    1. Yeah, films that don't get great reviews are often submitted in this category. I can't wait to see The Hunt and The Past!

  2. I've only seen The Hunt, which was amazing. I'm curious about The Past,The Rocket, Borgman, and In Bloom, mainly due to recent film fest coverage at bonjourtristesse. Who ever watches all 76 films is a dedicated cinephie :)

    1. Ha, they'd be dedicated, indeed. I usually don't even see all of the ones that are nominated. I'm interested in the films you mentioned, though. :)

  3. Interesting. I'd put 'The Broken Circle Breakdown' and 'Ilo Ilo' much higher though.

    1. You might be right. It's hard to predict how the Academy will react to a lot of these.

  4. I love that there's one submission from my home country Indonesia, I've got to check that out somehow. So how many have you seen so far Josh? I hope The Hunt makes the cut, at least it should be nominated!

    Btw, I reddited this: http://www.reddit.com/r/moviecritic/comments/1o2sgo/ranking_the_best_foreign_language_film_oscar/

    1. Thanks for posting it on reddit! Ha, I've only seen The Grandmaster so far. I'm really looking forward to The Hunt and The Past. :)

    2. I have The Grandmaster on loan from my dear friend Michael (Le0pard13 as he's known on Twitter). I hope to see that once TCFF wraps up. You have got to see The Hunt before Oscar starts Josh!

    3. The Hunt is out on DVD in December, so that shouldn't be a problem. :)

  5. I think I may actually go on hunger strike if The Hunt doesn't win. Mikkelsen should win too, but the distributor and the studio are not campaigning enough :(

    1. That's one of my most anticipated films. I probably won't be able to see it until it comes out on DVD in December. :(