UPDATED, with more detail: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has pulled back the curtain on its shortlist for the International Feature Film Oscar race. Not surprisingly, the expanded field of 10 includes Bong Joon Ho’s Palme d’Or winner Parasite, which already has been making waves this awards season, and Pedro Almodóvar’s Pain And Glory, whose star Antonio Banderas won Best Actor at Cannes and is up for a Golden Globe Award. Also on the list is France’s Les Misérables from Ladj Ly, one of the breakout filmmakers of this year’s Cannes. Each of those titles received Golden Globe nominations last week in the comparable Foreign Language category.
As expected, Russia’s Beanpole from Kantemir Bagalov, Barnabas Toth’s Hungarian pic Those Who Remained and Mati Diop’s Atlantics from Senegal further made the Oscar shortlist cut today. The four films that round it out are Vaclav Marhoul’s The Painted Bird (Czech Republic), Tanel Toom’s Truth And Justice (Estonia), Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov’s Honeyland (North Macedonia) and Jan Komasa’s Corpus Christi (Poland).
There were no major snubs on the roster released today (full list below), though we had expected Colombia’s Monos and Iceland’s A White, White Day to make the cut, while it’s somewhat surprising not to see Italian master Marco Bellocchio’s The Traitor here. And, Romania just can’t seem to catch a break as Corneliu Porumboiu’s The Whistlers failed to advance.
The Painted Bird debuted in Venice and is based on the controversial Jerzy Kosinski novel that follows a young Jewish boy in Eastern Europe who seeks refuge during World War II where he encounters many different characters speaking in an invented language described by Marhoul as a “Slavic Esperanto.” Harvey Keitel, Stellan Skarsgard, Julian Sands and Udo Kier feature in the cast. IFC picked up U.S. rights out of Toronto and will open the movie next year.
The last time the Czech Republic won at the Oscars was in 1996 with Jan Sverak’s Kolya.
Truth And Justice, the debut feature from Estonian director Tanel Toom, is based on a classic local novel, and tells the story of a landowner who finds himself struggling to balance the demands of his land, his religion and his family. The movie broke box office records at home earlier this year, becoming the most-watched film ever in the market, easily overtaking previous king Avatar. Toom’s 2010 The Confession was nominated for a Live Action Short Oscar.
Estonia has been nominated once for an Oscar since it began submitting to the Foreign Language/International Feature race in 1992.
Poland is back on the shortlist this year after last year’s Cold War and 2014 winner Ida, both from Pawel Pawlikowski. This year, it’s Jan Komasa with Corpus Christi, another Venice premiere that has made the cut.
Inspired by real events, it’s the story of a 20-year-old who experiences a spiritual awakening while in a youth detention center. Barred from entering the seminary as a result of his crimes, the young man pursues his dream by dressing as a priest and ministering a smal-town parish.
A box office hit at home, it will be released by Film Movement in the States and has sold to over 30 international markets.
North Macedonia, meanwhile, has advanced to the shortlist for the first time since scoring an Oscar nomination in 1994. Narrative documentary Honeyland, from directors Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov, won multiple prizes in Sundance and has recent ASC and PGA nominations under its belt. Neon (which also has Parasite) released in July in the U.S. where the movie has grossed over $700K.
The film follows the life of the last female beekeeper in Europe, living in an isolated mountain region deep within the Balkans.
Here is the alphabetical shortlist, culled from the 93 countries that submitted their films, 91 of which were ultimately eligible:
Czech Republic, The Painted Bird
Estonia, Truth And Justice
France, Les Misérables
Hungary, Those Who Remained
North Macedonia, Honeyland
Poland, Corpus Christi
South Korea, Parasite
Spain, Pain And Glory
The Academy notes that an international feature film is defined as a feature-length motion picture (more than 40 minutes) produced outside the United States with a predominantly non-English dialogue track.
Nominations for the 92nd Oscars will be announced on Monday, January 13, and the Academy Awards will be handed out on Sunday, February 9.
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