Tuesday, March 13, 2012

85th Oscar Foreign Language Predictions (2012-2013 Awards Season) (3/13/12)

The director and cast of Just The Wind (Csak A Szel)
Making predictions for the Foreign Language race before the Cannes lineup has been announced may seem a little strange, but I enjoy learning about new films, and sharing some of the titles that have come to my attention. In truth, we’re almost half way through the eligibility period for foreign language films (which runs from October through September), so it is likely that a few films that will be entering the race have already been seen somewhere.

The casual observer will note that I didn’t include either the winner of the Berlin or Sundance Film Festivals in my to 5 (although both do appear in my top 15). Caesar Must Die won the Golden Bear at Berlin, just as A Separation did last year, and might be seen as a logical front-runner. I’m concerned, however, that the documentary nature of the film may mean that Italy will choose a different entry, one that might represent a larger portion of their national film industry. Meanwhile, Valley Of Saints, which took home the audience prize at Sundance, is a co-production of India and the United States, which could potentially lead it to be disqualified by the rules (simply a speculation, I have no proof), or overlooked by the Indian decision makers in favor of a film that is produced entirely within India. In both cases, I can anticipate moving them higher up my list if they are actually chosen by their selection committees.

I went with a list of 100 films this time instead of 50, because once I had spent some time learning about them I thought I might as well share them. While I have tried to create some balance between different countries and regions, I did not strictly apply the Academy’s one-film-per-nation rule to this round of predictions.

I also know that I have many international readers, so I encourage everyone to add suggestions in the comments section regarding films that are being released in your area, and to let me know if you have seen a film and think it should be moved up or down in the rankings. Enjoy!

1. Benedek Fliegauf for Just The Wind (Csak A Szel)
2. Marialy Rivas for Young & Wild (Joven Y Alocada)
3. Ji Huang for Egg And Stone (Jidan He Shitou)
4. Eytan Fox for Yossi (Ha-Sippur Shel Yossi)
5. Miguel Gomes for Tabu

6. Christian Petzold for Barbara
7. Aleksander Sokurov for Faust
8. Pablo Giorgelli for Las Acacias (previously listed in 84th Oscar race, rank 7)
9. Nikolaj Arcel for A Royal Affair (En Kongelig Affaere)
10. Rasit Celikezer for Can
11. Alberto Morais for The Waves (Las Olas)
12. Edwin for Postcards From The Zoo (Kebun Binatang)
13. Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Taviani for Caesar Must Die (Cesare Deve Morire)
14. Musa Syee for Valley Of Saints
15. Maja Milos for Clip (Klip)
16. Quan’an Wang for White Deer Plain (Bai Lu Yuan)
17. Ursula Meier for Sister (L’enfant D’en Haut)
18. Kim Nguyen for War Witch (Rebelle)
19. Michael Haneke for Love (Amour)
20. Kar Wai Wong for The Grandmasters (Yut Doi Jungg Si)

21. Emin Alper for Beyond The Hill (Tepenin Ardi)
22. Catalin Mitulescu for Loverboy (O Agapitikos)
23. Julia Murat for Found Memories (Historias Que So Existem Quando Lembradas)
24. Levan Akin for Certain People (Katinkas Kalas)
25. Deepa Nehta for Midnight’s Children (Winds Of Change)
26. Ra’anan Alexandrowicz for The Law In These Parts (Shilton Ha Chok)
27. Clement Oubrerie and Marguerite Abouet for Aya Of Yop City (Aya De Yopougon)
28. Pen-Ed Ratanaruang for Headshot (Fon Tok Kuen Fah)
29. Konstantin Bojanov for Ave
30. Nawaf Al-Janahi for Sea Shadow
31. Alain Gomis for Today (Aujourd’hui) (Tey)
32. Patricia Benoit for Stones In The Sun (Woch Nan Soley)
33. Yi Seung-jun for Planet Of Snail
34. Julio Hernandez Cordon for Dust (Polvo)
35. Johnnie To for Life Without Principle (Dyut Meng Gam)

36. Alvaro Longoria for Sons Of The Clouds (Oulad Lemzun)
37. Hiroyuki Okiura for A Letter To Momo (Momo E No Tegami)
38. Pablo Trapero for White Elephant (Elefante Blanco)
39. Mads Matthieson for Teddy Bear (10 Timer Til Paradis)
40. Manoel De Oliveira for Gebo And The Shadow (Gebo Et L’ombre)
41. Brillante Mendoza for Captive
42. Giorgos Lanthimos for Alp (Alpeis)
43. Cedric Kahn for A Better Life (Une Vie Meilleure)
44. Markus Schleiner for Michael (previously listed in 84th Oscar race, rank 20)
45. Vibeke Lokkeberg for Tears Of Gaza (Gazas Tarer)
46. Jairo Eduardo Carrillo and Oscar Andrade for Little Voices (Pequenas Voces)
47. Ki-Duk Kim for Arirang
48. Mads Brugger for The Ambassador (Ambassadoren)
49. Antonio Chavarrias for Childish Games (Dictado)
50. Kleber Mendonca Filho for Neighboring Sounds (O Som Ao Redor)

51. Ruben Ostlund for Play
52. Babis Makridis for L
53. Kamen Kalev for The Island (Ostrovat)
54. Bety Reis, Irim Tolentino and Luigi Acquisto for Beatriz’ War (A Guerra Da Beatriz)
55. Lasse Hallstrom for The Hypnotist (Hypnotisoren)
56. Susan Youssef for Habibi: My Beloved (Habibi Rasak Kharban)
57. Kelichi Kobayashi for About The Pink Sky (Momoiro Sora O)
58. Mohammed Rasoulof for Goodbye (Be Omid E Didar)
59. Maiwenn Le Besco for Polisse
60. Bouli Lanners for The Giants (Les Geants)
61. Alfredo Leon Long for A Monkey Among The Hens (Mono Con Gallinas)
62. Jahmil X.T. Qubeka for A Small Town Called Descent
63. Lucy Mulloy for One Night (Una Noche)
64. Benoit Jacquot for Farewell My Queen (Les Adieux A La Reine) (previously listed in 84th Oscar race, rank 29)
65. Teona Strugar Mitevska for Man On Asphalt (The Woman Who Brushed Off Her Tears)

66. Jacques Audiard for Rust And Bone (De Rouille Et D’os)
67. Takashi Miike for Ichimei (Hara-Kiri: Death Of A Samurai)
68. Aktan Aryn Kuba for Mother’s Paradise (Raj Dija Mamy)
69. Anca Damian for Crulic: The Path To Beyond (Crulic: Drumul Spre Dincolo)
70. Spiros Stathoulopoulos for Meteor (Meteora)
71. Boudewijn Koole for Kauwboy
72. Michel Lipkes for Malaventura
73. Fonseca Soares and Alexis Tsafas for The Girl With Big Eyes (A Menina Dos Olhos Grandes)
74. Sky Crompton for Citizen Jia Li
75. Petri Kotwica for Rat King
76. Daniel Dorobatu for Tau
77. Midi Z. for Return To Burma (Gui Lai De Ren)
78. Ngoc Dang Vu for Lost In Paradise (Hot Boy Hoi Loan - Cua Chuyen Ve Thang Cuol, Co Gai Diem Va Con Vit)
79. Davy Chou for Golden Slumbers (Le Sommeil D’Or)
80. Matthias Glasner for Mercy (Gnade)

81. Magnus Martens for Jackpot (Arme Riddere)
82. Gerardo Chijona for Ticket To Paradise (Boleto Al Paraiso)
83. Sharon Bar-Ziv for Room 514
84. Djamel Azizi for The Last Safari (La Dernier Safar)
85. Sameh Zoabi for Man Without A Cell Phone (Ish Lelo Selolari)
86. Bohdan Slama for Four Suns (Ctyri Slunce)
87. Joel Novoa for God’s Slave (Esclavo De Dios)
88. Ermanno Olmi for The Cardboard Village (Il Villaggio Di Cartone)
89. Shion Sono for Himizu
90. Gianluca De Serio and Massimillano De Serio for The Seven Acts Of Mercy (Sette Opere Di Misericordia)
91. Ognen Dimitrovska et. al. for Skopje Remixed
92. Phillippe do Pierpong for She Is Not Crying, She Is Singing (Elle Ne Pleure Pas, Elle Chante)
93. Everardo Valerio Gout for Days Of Grace (Dias De Gracia)
94. Alexander Hahn for Monsieur Taurins
95. Michale Boganim for Land Of Oblivion (La Terre Outragee)
96. Nathan Collett for Togetherness Supreme
97. Baltasar Kormakur for The Deep (Djupia)
98. Akhat Ibrayev for Fairytale Forest
99. Anka Sasnal and Wilhem Sasnal for It Looks Pretty From A Distance (Z Daleka Widok Jest Piekny)
100. Carlos Hernandez for Anything Else Than Air (De Puro Aire)

As always, check the Tracker Pages in the upper right hand corner of this blog for the most updated predictions in all categories!   
See Foreign Language predictions for other years HERE.
See predictions for other categories at the 85th Oscars HERE.
Switch to another year: 84th,  85th,  86th,  87th,  88th,  89th  


  1. Which ones are animated as well as foreign?

    Also, are any of them going to show up on the Animated Feature section?

    1. From this list, Aya Of Yop City, A Letter To Momo, and Crulic are all animated.

      I hope to update my animated predictions in the next few days, and these will all appear on that long list. However, given the extra rules about showing in the US, I'm not sure whether any or all of these will qualify in that category.

      I do think that Arrietty has a pretty good chance at a nomination though!

  2. I'm so excited to see Egg and Stone in the top 5 list. I've never heard about this movie until now but apparently it has gotten some international recognition.
    Wang Quan'an's White Deer Plain (Bai Lu Yuan, not Bal Lu Yuan :)) is based on a very well-known novel but from its acceptance in Berlin I guess the director's execution might be problematic.
    There have been so few good Chinese movies in the past few years, and I'm so sad Zhang Yimou has lost his touch - Flowers of War was a total disaster. I really miss the years of The Story of Qiu Ju and Farewell My Concubine.
    I guess I just revealed my nationality. :)

    1. Egg and Stone picked up a Tiger award at Rotterdam, and sounds like the type of film that could really impress if it is chosen. White Deer Plain picked up an award for cinematography at Berlin, but the critics seemed a little harsh on it.

      Do you think that Flowers Of War was chosen because it was Zhang Yimou, because it was big budget, or because the committee thought Christian Bale would give them a boost?

      And thanks too for the spelling correction. It is one of those unfortunate places where my spreadsheet program makes "i" and "L" look too similar. I have fixed it now!

    2. I'm really looking forward to Egg and Stone. Gotta find a way to see it.

      For your question about Flowers of Was, my answer is a little bit of all. It looks like Zhang and his team were 'targeting' the Oscar with all that you mentioned. In this case motivation really dictated how the movie was produced. Zhang's earlier success was largely due to his down-to-earth style, and the depth his movies were able to reach. His latest movies have too much "design" in the stories, and too much focus on visual effects, which dilute the effort of exploring the very core of human nature. It is the very opposite of 13 glamorously dressed prostitutes dancing around that can help viewers understand the weight and damage of a war, and the worst of it, the massacre of the capital.
      I'm glad to help with the spelling.:) It's really fun to discuss films here.

    3. Thanks for this. I figured that this might be the case that the film tried too hard to fit into Oscar's definition, which often backfires, as it sounds like it did here.

  3. I just read about Michael Haneke’s upcoming film Amour, I think that one might be a strong contender considering how well-received White Ribbon was. I'm curious about Flowers of War but the reviews are surprisingly mixed.

    1. I was tempted to put Amour higher on the list, but I started wondering whether the anticipation might hurt it. Still, it will probably rise in my next set of predictions if it turns out well.

  4. Nice work, there are a bunch here that even I have never heard of. I'm rooting for Wong Kar Wai and Haneke, I hope they make it to Cannes.

    Might I suggest including the country of origin beside each one?

    1. Thank you Bonjour! I know I'm doing well if there are some that you haven't heard of yet!

      I would be really surprised if Amour didn't make it to Cannes, since some sources were already talking about it being a possibility last year.

      I will probably list the countries in my next round of predictions. I had hoped to do it this time, but several of these films were listed as being co-produced by multiple countries, and I worried that I might start an international incident if I categorized any of them wrong!

  5. Impressive work Never! I can't even predict this category a week before the Oscars and you do it a whole year ahead of time with a massive list :)

    1. Thanks Castor! I still haven't seen most of last year's list, but figured I can still speculate for next year/this year!

  6. Wow, this list is really impressive. I can only imagine all the work it must have taken to compile it and then rank them. Nice work! I look forward to seeing how this list does at next year's Oscars!!

  7. Thanks Kristin. These genre categories do take me a while longer to do, only because it is harder to find out about all of the films--especially when I don't speak all the languages. I'm just glad that it has been a few days and the Cannes lineup hasn't come out yet. I was afraid that they'd end up announcing as soon as I posted, making me instantly out of date!

  8. I wish I could see them ALL! I'm pretty happy that you put Postcard From Zoo in your #12 since it's from my country. But I haven't watch it yet. Great list!

    1. Thanks Andina. I almost included The Raid on this list also, but it sounds so violent that I really hope Indonesia sends Postcards From The Zoo instead.

  9. i am from Indonesian, i hope postcard from the zoo (kebun binatang)get nominated :D

    1. I think it could have a good chance Haryo! Have you heard of any other films from Indonesia that might be the selection?

    2. so far I do not know which one to Indonesian movie oscar 2013, but there are a few Indonesian films that I think deserve to represent Indonesia oscar like postcards from the zoo, the raid, lovely man, soegija. Do you know the names of these movies?

    3. Official Selection for best foreign film from Indonesian sang penari (Tiny Dancer) :)

    4. Thanks! Have you had a chance to see Tiny Dancer yet? What do you think its chances are?

      I hope to do a full update once the complete list comes out and I can do some research on each film.

    5. film about the culture of West Java in Indonesia, if talk about chances i hope Sang Penari (Tiny Dancer) can be nominated although it's so hard. because Sang Penari doesn't going to international festival competion...