Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Oscar Winner Predictions: Best Foreign Film


The competition: Capernaum (Lebanon), Cold War (Poland), Never Look Away (Germany), Roma (Mexico), Shoplifters (Japan)

Previous winners: A Fantastic Woman (Chile), 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: “Roma” is the first nominee in this category to contend both for Best Picture and for any acting award since “Amour” in 2012, and the first-ever nominee here to be up for two acting prizes, competing in ten categories overall. “Roma” director Alfonso Cuaron is himself nominated for producing, directing, writing, and shooting his film, and previously won for directing and editing “Gravity” in 2013. “Cold War” director Pawel Pawlikowski, who is also nominated for Best Director, won this award in 2014 for “Ida.” “Never Look Away” director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck won this award in 2006 for “The Lives of Others.” This is the first time since 1976 that two films here are also nominated for directing and only the second time ever that three of these films are cited for cinematography. Japan has four wins in this category out of fifteen nominations. Germany has two wins out of ten nominations. Poland has one win out of ten nominations. Mexico has yet to win after eight nominations, and this is the second consecutive bid for Lebanon and its second overall. “Roma” has taken home prizes in this category from the Critics’ Choice Awards, BAFTA, and the Golden Globes.

Who should win: I didn’t love the very long “Never Look Away” despite some positive elements, and had similar issues with “Cold War.” “Shoplifters” is certainly good, but both “Capernaum” and “Roma” are near the top of my list of overall favorites this past year, and both would be equally deserving of a win.
Who will win: It could be “Cold War” in an upset, but I think Roma takes it easily.

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