Oscars 2019: Best International Feature Shortlist

Let’s do Foreign Language Film next.

They changed it to International Feature, but I hate that distinction. It’s trying to be politically correct when it just sounds like a euphemism designed to make them sound more inclusive when we know they’re same ass people we get mad at every damn year.

Anyway, we went over the 91 eligible films two weeks ago. So this is really just cleaning up all of that and making my life easier. Let’s get into what they shortlisted and then we’ll figure out the rest as we go.

Here’s your shortlist for Best International Feature:

The Painted Bird (Czech Republic)
Truth and Justice (Estonia)
Les Misérables (France)
Those Who Remained (Hungary)
Honeyland (North Macedonia)
Corpus Christi (Poland)
Beanpole (Russia)
Atlantics (Senegal)
Parasite (South Korea)
Pain and Glory (Spain)

And now all I wanna do is see how I did on the shortlist I guessed…

Painted Bird, Les Mis, Corpus Christi, Atlantics, Parasite, Pain and Glory. Six of the ten. Sweet. Though granted, at least three of those were gimmes. I had Honeyland and Beanpole on my longer list of ones that could have easily made it on. Hungary made the third tier. Estonia I didn’t have on, because they’ve submitted a bunch and got their ‘newbie’ nomination a few years ago with Tangerines.

Looking quickly at higher profile films that didn’t make it (remember, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is ineligible because France chose Les Mis instead as their submission)…

Weathering with You didn’t make it, as I knew it probably wouldn’t. Animation is not their speed on this list. Monos is a big one that also felt like maybe it wouldn’t make it. So I’m not wholly surprised there. I’ll still watch it anyway though. Germany missed out, and they’re up there with France for a country that always seems to get on. Invisible Life was getting a lot of play for Brazil. And that didn’t make it. I kinda want to see that one still and probably will. The Traitor from Italy didn’t make it, but I kinda half-expected that, given how so-so Italy has done as a country over the past decade (save Paolo Sorrentino).

But otherwise, yeah, they’ve about gone to the places I’d have expected them to go. Only one moderate surprise, which I know I straight up said would happen.

The way voting worked on this is that 7 films got voted on by people who saw them, and the committee who oversees it all had three ‘saves’, of films that didn’t make it but that they wanted to put on. Estonia is clearly one of those. The other two are likely Czech Republic, Macedonia or Hungary. Generally it’s the films you haven’t heard of. To their credit, they didn’t obviously save the countries submitting for the first time like they have in the past. So that’s good, I guess.

Of this list — I’ve seen Parasite, have copies of Atlantics, Beanpole, Honeyland and Pain and Glory. So that’ll get me to 50%. Which is nice. The rest likely won’t happen until into the New Year at the earliest. I suspect some of these I won’t see at all unless they get nominated.

but anyway, looking at these at face value, I suspect your category will look a little like this in the end:

Atlantics (Senegal)
Les Misérables
(France)
Parasite
(South Korea)
Pain and Glory
(Spain)
The Painted Bird
(Czech Republic)

Alternate: Corpus Christi (Poland)

Dark Horse: Honeyland (North Macedonia)

Surprise: Beanpole (Russia), Those Who Remained (Hungary), Truth and Justice (Estonia)

Technically nothing counts as a surprise in this category, but I had to put something there.

This is all based on absolutely nothing, by the way. I like to just have something to track as I see more stuff and see which way the winds are blowing and change my mind. I’ll have seen at least half this category by the time the year wraps up and I’ll have a better idea which way I’m thinking as we get closer to nominations.

I’m gonna assume Les Mis and Parasite are for sure on. Almodovar is 50/50. He hasn’t gotten nominated since he won in 1999. Even Talk to Her, which got him nominated for Best Director and Screenplay, didn’t get on Foreign Language. Nor did Volver, which got Penelope Cruz nominated in 2006. So I’m not totally sold on him getting on, but keeping him on for now looks good and feels safe. My gut says probably not in the end, though. But we’ll see. Atlantics jut feels like an easy slide through to a nomination, especially since it’s Senegal and it’ll look inclusive for them. So that feels likely. Painted Bird just felt like a nominee to me from the jump. Three hour black and white art film. I think they nominate it. Corpus Christi makes a lot of sense and I suspect I’ll jump that on instead of Almodovar in the end, but we’ll see. Honeyland I have to see first, but I’m thinking my gut is gonna be as it always is with a documentary — prove it. Leave it off and go ahead and get nominated. Because I’m looking… documentaries in Foreign Language… The Missing Picture in 2013. Waltz with Bashir in 2008. You’re struggling to find more than one a decade. You see what I’m saying? So I’m not sold on that getting on here so much as I am on documentary. Beanpole just doesn’t have the name of something I’d expect to see, but I’ll watch it and see what I think. Those Who Remained just feels like generic Holocaust stuff to me, so that feels like something, unless I see a reason to otherwise, I’ll just probably leave it off and see if they go there. Estonia… they clearly saved it. So it has a shot. I just don’t know if they’re gonna be able to resist the bigger names here. Now we’re in the zone of… everyone can watch these ten and vote for what they liked best. That doesn’t always favor the smaller films. is all I’m saying.

So yeah, that’s what I’m thinking for now. I’ll finish what I have, try to see some of the other 5, and then report back in January where I’m at on the thinking with this one.

Seven more shortlists to go.

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One response

  1. A

    Almodóvar gets in and is the alternate winner if not for Parasite. He has only been submitted twice before post 2000, for Volver and Julieta. Talk to Her, shockingly, was not Spain’s submission that year. So the only real miss is Volver. Considering that Banderas is probably getting in for Best Actor and that the film could be nominated for Score and Screenplay or Director, there’s no way it’s going to miss the International Feature category.

    December 17, 2019 at 3:18 am

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