Friday, February 4, 2022

Oscar Predictions: Best International Feature

This year, Oscar nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 8th. I’ll be offering detailed predictions in all categories.

Last year’s nominees: Another Round (Denmark), Better Days (Hong Kong), Collective (Romania), The Man Who Sold His Skin (Tunisia), Quo Vadis, Aida? (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

My choices: Coming soon!

This year’s locks: Drive My Car (Japan), A Hero (Iran), The Hand of God (Italy)

Very likely: The Worst Person in the World (Norway)

Possible: Lununa: A Yak in the Classroom (Bhutan), Plaza Catedral (Panama), Flee (Denmark), Playground (Belgium), Compartment No. 6 (Finland), I’m Your Man (Germany)

Unlikely: Great Freedom (Austria), The Good Boss (Spain), Lamb (Iceland), Hive (Kosovo), Prayers for the Stolen (Mexico)

The rundown: I’ve seen all fifteen of the finalists in this category, and this year feels like we actually have five locked films. The issue is that I think there are dark horses that can make a dent in the race, but it’s hard to figure out what to drop as a result. Let’s start with the presumed short things. I can’t imagine that Drive My Car (Japan) gets left off, and A Hero (Iran) and The Hand of God (Italy) both come from filmmakers who have previously won this race, so they seem safe too. The Worst Person in the World (Norway) is probably solid, and the last expected nominee is Flee (Denmark), which I’m predicting to score double bids, for Best Documentary and Best Animated Feature, but I think that’s the one that misses. In its place, I’ll bet on Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (Bhutan), but I’d also like to make room for Plaza Catedral (Panama). It would mark the first nomination for both countries, so maybe it’s unlikely that both score spots. The other film to watch out for is Playground (Belgium), especially since last year’s bullying-centric film, Hong Kong’s “Better Days,” got nominated even though I had it in absolute last place. Compartment No. 6 (Finland) was a Golden Globe nominee and could get in here too, while I’m Your Man is pleasant enough and has a British actor in the leading role, Dan Stevens. Spain would probably be a frontrunner in this race if it had submitted “Parallel Mothers,” but the Javier Bardem starrer The Good Boss (Spain) seems much less likely. Great Freedom (Austria), Lamb (Iceland), Hive (Kosovo), and Prayers for the Stolen (Mexico) are all also possible, but I don’t see any of them happening.

Forecasted winner: I don’t know what can beat Drive My Car.

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