Image from "The Great Beauty"

Bérénice-Bejo-Ali-The-PastI will always continue to say, probably for the rest of my life, that I don’t watch enough foreign cinema.  I’m discovering lots of new films I’ve never experienced, and I’m anxious and awaiting quite a bit from the upcoming slate.  In just under a week’s time, I’ll finally be able to weigh in on “Blue is the Warmest Color” that will be screening at New York Film Festival.  Alas, that film won’t be in the race this year.  As it stands today, there are 67 films that have been officially submitted and I’m sure plenty more to come.

The list so far looks like this:

  • Afghanistan, Wajma (An Afghan Love Story) (dir. Barmak Akram)
  • Argentina, Wakolda (dir. Lucía Puenzo)
  • Australia, The Rocket (dir. Kim Mordaunt)
  • Austria, The Wall (dir. Julian Pölsler)
  • Bangladesh, Television (dir. Mostofa Sarwar Farooki)
  • Belgium, The Broken Circle Breakdown (dir. Felix van Groeningen)
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina, An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker (dir. Danis Tanović)
  • Brazil, Neighbouring Sounds (dir. Kleber Mendonça Filho)
  • Bulgaria, The Colour of the Chameleon (dir. Emil Hristov)
  • Cambodia, The Missing Picture (dir. Rithy Panh)
  • Canada, Gabrielle (dir. Louise Archambault)
  • Chile, Gloria (dir. Sebastián Lelio)
  • Colombia, La Playa DC (dir. Juan Andrés Arango)
  • Croatia, Halima’s Path (dir. Arsen Anton Ostojić)
  • Czech Republic, Burning Bush (dir. Agnieszka Holland)
  • Denmark, The Hunt (dir. Thomas Vinterberg)
  • Dominican Republic, Who’s the Boss? (dir. Ronni Castillo)
  • Ecuador, Porcelain Horse (dir. Javier Andrade)
  • Egypt, Winter of Discontent (dir. Ibrahim El-Batout)
  • Estonia, Free Range (dir. Veiko Õunpuu)
  • Finland, Disciple (dir. Ulrika Bengts)
  • France, Renoir (dir. Gilles Bourdos)
  • Georgia, In Bloom (dirs. Nana Ekvtimishvili, Simon Groß)
  • Germany, Two Lives (dir. Georg Maas)
  • Greece, Boy Eating the Bird’s Food (dir. Ektoras Lygizos)
  • Hong Kong, The Grandmaster (dir. Wong Kar-wai)
  • Hungary, The Notebook (dir. János Szász)
  • Iceland, Of Horses and Men (dir. Benedikt Erlingsson)
  • India, The Good Road (dir. Gyan Correa)
  • Iran, The Past (dir. Asghar Farhadi)
  • Israel, Bethlehem (dir. Yuval Adler)
  • Italy, The Great Beauty (dir. Paolo Sorrentino)
  • Japan, The Great Passage (dir. Yuya Ishii)
  • Kazakhstan, The Old Man (dir. Ermek Tursunov)
  • Latvia, Mother I Love You (dir. Jānis Nords)
  • Lebanon, Ghadi (dir. Amin Dora)
  • Lithuania, Conversations on Serious Topics (dir. Giedrė Beinoriūtė)
  • Luxembourg, Blind Spot (dir. Christophe Wagner)
  • Mexico, Heli (dir. Amat Escalante)
  • Montenegro, Bad Destiny (dir. Draško Đurović)
  • Morocco, God’s Horses (dir. Nabil Ayouch)
  • Nepal, Soongava: Dance of the Orchids (dir. Subarna Thapa)
  • Netherlands, Borgman (dir. Alex van Warmerdam)
  • New Zealand, White Lies (dir. Dana Rotberg)
  • Norway, I Am Yours (dir. Iram Haq)
  • Pakistan, Zinda Bhaag (dirs. Meenu Gaur, Farjad Nabi)
  • Palestine, Omar (dir. Hany Abu-Assad)
  • Peru, The Cleaner (dir. Adrián Saba)
  • Philippines, Transit (dir. Hannah Espia)
  • Poland, Walesa (dir. Andrzej Wajda)
  • Portugal, Lines of Wellington (dir. Valeria Sarmiento)
  • Romania, Child’s Pose (dir. Călin Peter Netzer)
  • Russia, Stalingrad (dir. Fedor Bondarchuk)
  • Saudi Arabia, Wadjda (dir. Haifaa al-Mansour)
  • Serbia, Circles (dir. Srdan Golubovic)
  • Singapore, Ilo Ilo (dir. Anthony Chen)
  • Slovakia, My Dog Killer (dir. Mira Fornay)
  • Slovenia, Class Enemy (dir. Rok Biček)
  • South Africa, Four Corners (dir. Ian Gabriel)
  • South Korea, Juvenile Offender (dir. Kang Yi-kwan)
  • Spain, 15 Years and One Day (dir. Gracia Querejeta)
  • Sweden, Eat Sleep Die (dir. Gabriela Pichler)
  • Switzerland, More than Honey (dir. Markus Imhoof)
  • Taiwan, Soul (dir. Chung Mong-Hong)
  • Thailand, Countdown (dir. Nattawut Poonpiriya)
  • Turkey, The Butterfly’s Dream (dir. Yılmaz Erdoğan)
  • Ukraine, Paradjanov (dirs. Serge Avedikian, Olena Fetisova)
  • United Kingdom, Metro Manila (dir. Sean Ellis)
  • Venezuela, Breach in the Silence (dirs. Luis and Andrés Rodríguez)
Image from "The Great Beauty"
Image from “The Great Beauty” submitted from Italy

Judging on the buzz and the slate so far, Asghar Farhadi’s “The Past” is probably our frontrunner for at least a nomination after being submitted by Iran.  Academy Awards tend to go with films that they’ve heard about all year and with the film landing well at Cannes and still having lots of fans, the film could score a key mention.  It’s biggest competition is probably in the form of “Wadjda” from Saudi Arabia, a film that has had lots of buzz over the past few weeks.

I caught two of the entries at Tribeca back in April.  Belgium’s “The Broken Circle Breakdown” was a lively and unique effort.  I need to revisit it again before I give it a proper review.  I was very high on the likes of Australia’s “The Rocket” which is a hybrid of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” that takes in the Down Under.  The film won the Screenplay award at the April festival.  Joey caught up with “Omarthis past Monday, and I’ll be able to respond about Wong Kar Wai’s “The Grandmaster” which will represent Hong Kong and “The Hunt” which will represent Denmark, two earlier year films I missed.

Gloria” screens for NYFF festival goers on Friday, which I cannot wait for.  There’s also an outside chance for Lead Actress Paulina Garcia to capture some awards season heat for herself.  She’ll likely split votes with the “other” buzzed foreign performance in Adèle Exarchopoulos.

As Oscar Predictions continue to be updated throughout the week, the Foreign Language category will get much attention.  We are a community comprised of American and International readers and I feel I owe to all of you to give the respect and attention, to foreign cinema.  Feel free to recommend or respond to any of the films you might have seen in your respective countries or film festivals.

CURRENT FOREIGN LANGUAGE OSCAR PREDICTIONS

  1. Iran, The Past (dir. Asghar Farhadi)
  2. Saudi Arabia, Wadjda (dir. Haifaa al-Mansour)
  3. Australia, The Rocket (dir. Kim Mordaunt)
  4. Chile, Gloria (dir. Sebastián Lelio)
  5. Belgium, The Broken Circle Breakdown (dir. Felix van Groeningen)

NEXT TIER

  1. Romania, Child’s Pose (dir. Călin Peter Netzer)
  2. Denmark, The Hunt (dir. Thomas Vinterberg)
  3. Italy, The Great Beauty (dir. Paolo Sorrentino)
  4. Palestine, Omar (dir. Hany Abu-Assad)
  5. Hong Kong, The Grandmaster (dir. Wong Kar-wai)

Discuss.