Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Oscar Winner Predictions: Best Foreign Film

The competition: Ida (Poland), Leviathan (Russia), Tangerines (Estonia), Timbuktu (Mauritania), Wild Tales (Argentina)

Previous winners: The Great Beauty (Italy), Amour (Austria), A Separation (Iran), In a Better World (Denmark), The Secret in their Eyes (Argentina), Departures (Japan), The Counterfeiters (Austria)
My winner: Announcing shortly after the Oscars!
The facts: Argentina has won twice, in 1985 and 2009, out of seven nominations and forty submitted films. Russia has won once, in 1994, out of six nominations and twenty-two submitted films. This is the tenth nomination for Poland out of forty-six submitted films, and this year would mark its first win. Estonia this year earns its first nomination after ten past submissions. This is the first time Mauritania has ever submitted. All filmmakers are new to this race.

Who should win: Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to see “Tangerines,” so I can’t speak to the quality of that film. I was, however, quite underwhelmed by “Ida,” which many people loved. It just didn’t engage me, and I understand that most were enthralled by it. “Timbuktu” also lacked a cinematic quality I had expected, and I think it may more be a statement on the success of a country in its film industry than a reward for a strong film. “Leviathan,” which won the Golden Globe, was decent but depressing, and very long. That’s why I would vote enthusiastically for one of the best films I saw at Sundance this year, “Wild Tales,” which was entertaining, hilarious, and fully worthwhile. If only Oscar voters could agree.
Who will win: I’m crossing my fingers for an upset by “Wild Tales,” since that kind of thing has happened before as frontrunners “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “The White Ribbon” were ousted by lesser-seen films. I will, however, still predict Ida to prevail over Globe champ “Leviathan.”

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