Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Oscar Winner Predictions: Best Foreign Film

The competition: A Fantastic Woman (Chile), On Body and Soul (Hungary), The Insult (Lebanon), Loveless (Russia), The Square (Sweden)

Previous winners: The Salesman (Iran), Son of Saul (Hungary), Ida (Poland), The Great Beauty (Italy), Amour (Austria), A Separation (Iran), In a Better World (Denmark)
My winner: Announcing shortly after the Oscars!

The facts: “Loveless” director Andrey Zvyagintsev’s previous film, “Leviathan,” was nominated in 2014, while “A Fantastic Woman” director Sebastián Lelio and “The Square” director Ruben Östlund had previous features, “Gloria” and “Force Majeure,” that came close to being nominated in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Sweden has won three times out of fifteen nominations, Hungary has won twice out of nine, and Russia has won once out of six. This is the second nomination for Chile, following “No” in 2012, and the first for Lebanon. “In the Fade,” from Germany, won the Golden Globe and the Critics’ Choice Award but didn’t make this list.

Who should win: The one film on this list that truly astounded was “The Insult,” which takes what should be a simple disagreement and turns it into something much more representative of clashing cultures. “A Fantastic Woman” and “On Body and Soul” were both very strong, while I felt the same way about “Loveless” and “The Square” as I did about their directors’ previous films: some decent features but less than effective and well-rounded overall.

Who will win: I’m going to go ahead and predict The Insult even though that’s probably not smart and “The Square” or “A Fantastic Woman” will win.

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