Thursday, January 3, 2019

Golden Globe Winner Predictions: Best Foreign Language Film

The competition:
Capernaum (Lebanon) is directed by Nadine Labaki, marking her third feature film and first Golden Globe nomination. This is Lebanon’s first nomination as well.

Girl (Belgium) is directed by Lukas Dhont, marking his feature film debut. Belgium has been nominated five times before in this category, winning in 1994 and 1997 for “Farinelli” and “My Life in Pink.”

Never Look Away (Germany) is directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, marking his third film. He was nominated in this category in 2006 for his directorial debut, “The Lives of Others.” Germany has fourteen nominations since 1990, with twelve mentions before that for West Germany. Germany has won three times, in 1991 for “Europa Europa,” in 2009 for “The White Ribbon,” and last year for “In the Fade.”

Roma (Mexico) is directed by Alfonso Cuaron, marking his eighth film. He is also nominated for Best Director and Best Screenplay. He was previously nominated in this category in 2001 for “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” and took home the Best Director prize in 2013 for “Gravity.” Mexico has been nominated eight times previously but has yet to win.

Shoplifters (Japan) is directed by Hirokazu Koreeda, marking his thirteenth narrative film. This is his first Golden Globe nomination. Japan has been nominated ten times previously, and its only win comes from additional citation for co-producing the American-made Clint Eastwood film “Letters from Iwo Jima” in 2006.

Additional notes: Of these five, only “Girl” missed the finalist list for the Oscar race. The past two winners of this award, “In the Fade” and “Elle,” both went on to miss the list on nine finalists for the Oscar, and only six winners in this category have gone on to win the Oscar in the past fifteen years. Every time a film nominated here has also contended for Best Director, it’s taken home this prize, most recently with “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Letters from Iwo Jima,” and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.”
What should win? I had lots of problems with “Girl,” and it definitely shouldn’t take home this prize. “Never Look Away,” which runs three hours and nine minutes, isn’t nearly as good as its director’s first film. “Shoplifters” is worthwhile and would be a decent choice here. I really liked “Capernaum” and “Roma” and would be happy with either.
What will win? The only movie that could have taken down Roma would have been “Cold War,” which wasn’t even nominated. This is one of the only sure things this year.

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