Oscars 2020: Best International Feature Submissions

And now International Feature. There are 93 countries that submitted films, which is the same as last year, only this time two countries haven’t been disqualified. So technically this year is the record. Last year was really only 91. But anyway, we’ll do what we normally do — go over each film and see what it’s about and get acquainted with all the choices.

Last year, they upped the shortlist from 9 to 10. This year, it’s now 15. How it used to work was, they’d do preliminary voting, and then the PriceWaterhouseCooper people would tell the results behind closed doors to the branch executive committee, who would then argue it out like it’s the NFL Hall of Fame. If I remember correctly, how it worked was six films would get on naturally and then they’d allow three ‘saves’, films that they felt belonged on the shortlist that didn’t get enough votes through the branch. Which is something they started pretty recently, when “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” generally regarded as the best foreign film of that year, didn’t make the shortlist. So now they can save some of the better, beloved or higher profile films for the shortlist. Though I feel like a lot of the time the stuff does make the shortlist and a lot of times gets left off the final list.

They don’t ever tell you what the saves were (but curiously a lot of first time countries always seemed to curiously make shortlists a lot of the time this past decade), but that was the norm for over a decade. Now, they’ve done away with it and it’s just top 15. Which I assume means they’ve done the math and looked at past voting and figured if they just go to 15 like Doc Feature everything people feel should get on will get on. Though there are some lower profile but great films that might not be saved, since I’m sure there’s no way a lot of people are gonna watch all the choices and will just vote for the handful they know about. But we’ll see. It’s the first year of this.

Anyway, here are the 93 submissions for Best International Feature:

Albania, Open Door

A married Albanian mother and her pregnant sister try to find a man to play the part of the sister’s husband before they meet up with their strict, traditional father.

Argentina, The Sleepwalkers

Tracking the tandem voyages of a mother and daughter into fraught emotional terrain, Argentinian director Paula Hernández examines the ways desire and expectation clash when familial pressures push women to their limits.

Armenia, Songs of Solomon

From the two time academy award winning producer and writer of “Green Book” and Inspired by true events, comes a film about a childhood friendship torn apart by a horrible empire set out to destroy everything in its path. A brave woman at a time of dire prejudice risks her life and the life of her family to save her best friend who is hunted down for her religious beliefs. This epic portrayal takes place at the turn of the century in Constantinople, taking us on an emotional and musical journey. A film of love, hope, courage, deceit and pain – And music, a film just as much about music…Ancient pagan music. Music that would bind an entire people to the heavens and the earth, to the rivers and the stars. The music of Komitas, also know as Solomon.

Austria, What We Wanted

A couple facing fertility issues finds their marriage tested on a vacation to a Sardinian resort – and the family next door only adds to the tension.

Bangladesh, Sincerely Yours, Dhaka

Eleven emerging Bangladeshi filmmakers present a collection of gritty shorts centered on the capital city and the people living in its margins.

Belgium, Working Girls

Everyday, three sex workers cross the border from France into Belgium to practice their trade. At the end of one particularly hot summer, all three share a secret that will bind them together forever.

Bolivia, Chaco

In 1934, Bolivia is at war with Paraguay. Liborio and Ticona and other Bolivian indigenous soldiers are lost in the hell of the Chaco, under the commandment of German Captain Kundt. They’re looking for the Paraguayan enemy that they haven’t seen for months, and that they will never find. They leave together in a search that will make them realize, progressively, the destiny they have been pushed into and the inevitable condition of a defeated troop. They’re walking like shadows, wandering forever in the middle of dust and silence.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Quo Vadis, Aida?

Aida is a translator for the UN in the small town of Srebrenica. When the Bosnian Serb army takes over the town, her family is among the thousands of citizens looking for shelter in the UN camp.

Brazil, Babenco – Tell Me When I Die

“I have already lived my death and now all that is left is to make a film about it.” So said the filmmaker Hector Babenco to Bárbara Paz when he realized he did not have much time left. She accepted the challenge to fulfill the last wish of her late partner: to be the main protagonist in his own death. In this tender immersion into the life of one of the greatest filmmakers from South America, Babenco himself consciously bares his soul in intimate and painful situations. He expresses fears and anxieties, and also memories, reflections, and fantasies, in this face-off between his intellectual vigor and physical frailty, which were the hallmarks of his career. From the onset of cancer at the age of 38 until his death at 70, Babenco made of the cinema his medicine and the nourishment that kept him alive. “Babenco – Tell me when I Die” is Barbara Paz’s first feature film, but is also in a way Hector’s last work: a film about filming so never to die.

Bulgaria, The Father

Vasil has just lost his long-time partner in life, his wife Valentina. When a woman at her funeral proclaims that the dead woman called her cell phone, Vasil seeks out the help of a well-known psychic in order to contact his wife. His son Pavel tries to bring him to his senses, but Vasil stubbornly insists on doing things his own way. “The Father” is an intimate family drama about the difficulties of connecting with those close to us. As the picture slowly gathers momentum, its story unfolds many carefully arranged absurd or comic situations.

Cambodia, Fathers

Based on a true story, Losing one leg, a man lives on his cyclo-trisaw drives to provide for two children his wife abandons at a pagoda’s corner.

Cameroon, The Fisherman’s Diary

Ekah is determined to go to school in a village of fishermen where a girl child’s education is considered a taboo. Her drive to break this old adage gets her embroiled with her father, Solomon’s past.

Canada, 14 Days, 12 Nights

Isabelle and her partner adopted Clara in Vietnam, who died several years after. In order to heal her wounds, Isabelle flies to Hanoi to discover the culture of Clara and meet her biological mother, who will later become her friend.

Chile, The Mole Agent

A private investigator in Chile hires someone to work as a mole at a retirement home where a client of his suspects the caretakers of elder abuse.

China, Leap

After 12 years, the Chinese women’s volleyball team again reached the Olympic final. The ups and downs of the Chinese women’s volleyball team for more than three decades have slowly spread away.

Colombia, El Olvido Que Seremos (Memories of My Father)

The story about a Colombian writer’s father. His father was an University md professor who promoted tolerance and human rights in his country. Writer exposes his feelings related to his lovely father and he describes his family story and all drama related with the killing of his father. It is a moving film based on a book with the same title. It is a sample of violence related events to political Colombia’s social life during last three decades.

Costa Rica, Land of Ashes

Selva (13) lives in a coastal town in the Caribbean. After the sudden disappearance of her only motherly figure, she is left to take care of her grandfather who doesn’t want to live. Between shadows and wild games, she must decide if she will help her grandfather die, even though that means going through her last moments of childhood alone.

Croatia, Extracurricular

The recently divorced father of a nine-year-old, furious his daughter can’t spend her birthday with him, bursts into her classroom with a birthday cake and a rifle. A hostage crisis ensues, and the mayor of the town in which the events take place will try to use the situation to gain advantage ahead of the elections, stopping at nothing. The son of a young policeman is in the same class, and before the events unfold, he’ll have to answer a question as well.

Cuba, Buscando a Casal

When criticizing a high representative of power, a young poet will be subjected to all kinds of pressure. He will only manage to survive thanks to his elegant fantasy and admirer. That artist is Julián del Casal, who will live in colonial Havana at the end of the 19th century.

Czech Republic, Charlatan

The breathtaking story of a man gifted with exceptional abilities set against the background of the events of the totalitarian fifties.

Denmark, Another Round

Four friends, all high school teachers, test a theory that they will improve their lives by maintaining a constant level of alcohol in their blood.

Dominican Republic, A State of Madness

A film noir evocative Caribbean drama set in 1953 in the Dominican Republic during the cruel dictatorship of Leonidas Trujillo.

Ecuador, Emptiness

Lei and Wong clandestinely arrive to Ecuador, on their way to the port city of Guayaquil. From here Lei plans to continue her journey to New York, but Chang, a bipolar mobster will decide her fate. Wong unwillingly gets entangled in the web of corruption that operates the encroachment of Chinese immigrants. His only objective is to bring his twelve-year-old son from China. Chang falls in love with Lei, whereas she becomes conscious that her “china dream” of reaching New York is in jeopardy. Victor, a local young man becomes a possible escape. Mr Lu, an older calligrapher, helps the young immigrants. Lei’s rejection of Chang uncovers his ruthless personality. When a smuggling scheme sets Lei and Wong at a crossroads, they can only rely on each other to chase their freedom.

Egypt, When We’re Born

When we are born, we each have a life path, which is then influenced by how we are raised and the beliefs ingrained in us. The film interweaves the hopes and dreams of three characters at the center of the Egyptian lifestyle, accompanied by musical narration: a son who yearns to pursue a singing career against his father’s will, a romantic Christian woman who is in love with a Muslim man, and a newly-wed personal trainer who must compromise his principles for a chance to own a gym. Will these characters make the best choices for themselves and the people they love?

Estonia, The Last Ones

A struggling mine owner supplies his workers with drugs so they’ll forget a tough existence. Nearby a small community of reindeer breeders also struggles.This critique of capitalism unfolds against a Western like Lapland landscape.

Finland, Tove

The movie centres on the life of Tove Jansson, showing both her personal relationships, and the creation of the popular Moomin books.

France, Two of Us

Pensioners Nina and Madeleine have hidden their deep and passionate love for many decades, but their bond is put to the test when they are suddenly unable to move freely between each other’s apartments.

Georgia, Beginning

In a sleepy provincial town, a Jehovah’s Witness community is attacked by an extremist group. In the midst of this conflict, the familiar world of Yana, the wife of the community leader, slowly crumbles. Yana’s inner discontent grows as she struggles to make sense of her desires.

Germany, And Tomorrow the Entire World

How far one is willing to go for the sake of one’s political commitment.

Greece, Apples

Amidst a worldwide pandemic that causes sudden amnesia, middle-aged Aris finds himself enrolled in a recovery program designed to help unclaimed patients build new identities.

Guatemala, La Llorona

An aging paranoid war criminal, protected by his faithful wife, faces death while being haunted by the ghosts of his past.

Honduras, Days of Light

A solar storm hits Central America. Its inhabitants must face life disconnected from technology. Fear, friendship and love emerge as they come together with others, while the skies are lit by lights never seen before.

Hong Kong, Better Days

A bullied teenage girl forms an unlikely friendship with a mysterious young man who protects her from her assailants, all while she copes with the pressures of her final examinations.

Hungary, Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time

Márta, a forty-year-old neurosurgeon, falls in love. She leaves her shining American career behind and returns to Budapest to start a new life with the man. But the love of her life claims they have never met before.

Iceland, Agnes Joy

Rannveig is experiencing burnout in all aspects of her mundane suburban life. She’s stuck with a job she hates and a marriage that is slowly dying. On top of that, she’s constantly fighting with her rebellious daughter, Agnes, and can’t face the possibility of Agnes growing up and leaving her behind. When a new neighbor, Hreinn, shows up at their doorstep, Rannveig and family face new challenges that are beyond their control.

India, Jallikattu

A portrait of a remote village where a buffalo escapes and causes a frenzy of ecstatic violence.

Indonesia, Impetigore

Maya with her best friend, Dini, tries to survive in a city without a family. She realized that she might inherit a property from her rich family. Maya returns to the village with Dini and unaware of the danger was waiting for her.

Iran, Sun Children

12-year-old Ali and his three friends.Together they work hard to survive and support their families. In a turn of events that seems miraculous, Ali is entrusted to find hidden treasure underground.

Ireland, Arracht

Ireland, 1845 on the eve of The Great Hunger. Colmán Sharkey, a fisherman, a father, a husband, takes in a stranger at the behest of a local priest. Patsy, a former soldier in the Napoleonic wars arrives just ahead of ‘the blight,’ a disease that eventually wipes out the country’s potato crop, contributing to the death and displacement of millions. As the crops rot in the fields, Colmán, his brother and Patsy travel to the English Landlord’s house to request a stay on rent increases that Colmán predicts will destroy his community. His request falls deaf ears and Patsy’s subsequent actions set Colmán on a path that will take him to the edge of survival, and sanity. It is only upon encountering an abandoned young girl that Colmán’s resolve is lifted. Just in time for the darkness of his past to pay another visit.

Israel, Asia

Asia’s motherhood has always been an ongoing struggle rather than an obvious instinct. Becoming a mother at a very early age has shaped Asia’s relationship with her teenage daughter Vika. Despite living together, Asia and Vika barely interact with one another. Asia concentrates on her job as a nurse while Vika hangs out at the skate-park with her friends. Their routine is shaken when Vika’s health deteriorates rapidly. Asia must step in and become the mother Vika so desperately needs. Vika’s illness turns out to be an opportunity to reveal the great love within this small family unit.

Italy, Notturno

Gianfranco Rosi’s new documentary is an immersive portrait of those trying to survive in the war-torn Middle East.

Ivory Coast, Night of the Kings

A young man is sent to “La Maca”, a prison of Ivory Coast in the middle of the forest ruled by its prisoners. With the red moon rising, he is designated by the Boss to be the new “Roman” and must tell a story to the other prisoners.

Japan, True Mothers

A woman with an adopted child is contacted unexpectedly by the child’s birth mother.

Jordan, 200 Meters

A Palestinian father trapped on the other side of the separation wall is trying to reach the hospital for his son.

Kazakhstan, The Crying Steppe

70% of indigenous population of Kazakhstan died during the Great Famine, artificially imposed on people in the 1920s by the Bolsheviks. Overcoming blind fear of death and despair, an eagle hunter Turar tries to save his family.

Kenya, The Letter

Karisa’s city-life is interrupted when his Grandma back home is called a witch and receives a death threat. Returning to his rural village in Kenya, he finds a frenzied mixture of consumerism and Christianity.

Kosovo, Exile

EXIL tells the story of a chemical engineer of foreign origin who feels discriminated and bullied at work, plunging him into an identity crisis.

Kyrgyzstan, Running to the Sky

Twelve-year-old Jekshen is an exceptional runner. Lonely Jekshen only has his girlfriend from school and his father’s friends for support. They encourage him to take part in a big race that could change his life for the better.

Latvia, Blizzard of Souls

After losing his mother and his home, Arturs finds some consolation in joining the army. However, war is nothing like he imagined.

Lebanon, Broken Keys

A pianist tries to escape persecution in his Middle Eastern town where modern ways of living and music have been banned by an extremist group.

Lesotho, This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection

When her village is threatened with forced resettlement due to reservoir construction, an 80-year-old widow finds a new will to live and ignites the spirit of resilience within her community.

Lithuania, Nova Lituania

It’s late 1930’s. Foreseeing the upcoming war in Europe, Lithuanian geographer Feliksas Gruodis comes up with an idea to save his country by establishing a Lithuanian colony overseas. The plan is a massive exodus to the so called “Reserve Lithuania” in case of occupation. Feliksas tries to sell his idea to one of the most important persons of the state – a grey cardinal of the president, the prime minister Jonas Servus. Dismissing the idea at first, soon the prime minister experiences a heart stroke as the country gets the first signs of war at it’s borders. As the president uses his illness to turn him into a scapegoat, the already ex-prime minister gets back to Feliksas, persuades him to reveal his plan and offers his help. The hope to implement the plan doesn’t bring much light to Feliksas’ personal life. Him and his wife, a childless couple, live in a stiff and cold relationship. As Feliksas finds a fulfilment in his utopia, his wife Veronika finds no way to diminish her loneliness. As Feliksas’ political dream comes to realisation, his marriage approaches a collapse. As the country loses the first piece of it’s territory, ex-prime minister decides that the only way to implement the plan is to overthrow the president with the help of the military. He invites Feliksas to spend the last night at his home, together with his family. The ideal picture of it makes Feliksas to drop his plan at the last minute and try to save his personal life instead of saving the country.

Luxembourg, River Tales

While a Chinese businessman wants to take control of the interoceanic route in Nicaragua, actor and teacher Yemn creates a play with the local kids to reflect on their history, their identity and the country’s future.

Malaysia, Roh

Set in the past, in which a family gets a visit from a strange little girl with a frightening prediction.

Mexico, I’m No Longer Here

In Monterrey, Mexico, a young street gang spends their days dancing to slowed-down cumbia and attending parties. After a mix-up with a local cartel, their leader is forced to migrate to the U.S. but quickly longs to return home.

Mongolia, Veins of the World

A young Mongolian boy turns grief into a source of power, after the death of his father.

Montenegro, Breasts

Twenty year high-school reunion bring together four friends. One of them is gravely ill. The rest want to help her. But to do that, they firstly have to find out who they really are.

Morocco, The Unknown Saint

A criminal returns to the fake grave where he buried his loot years before and discovers that it has become the shrine of an unknown saint and a thriving little village.

Netherlands, Buladó

As the different mentalities of rational father Ouira and spiritual grandfather Weljo start to clash, eleven-year-old Kenza is determined to find her own path into adult life. A magical-realism film placed on a junkyard in Curaçao.

Nigeria, The Milkmaid

A Fulani milkmaid confronts religious extremists in rural Sub-Saharan Africa in a quest to locate her missing sister, but efforts to recapture her disrupted past prove complicated.

North Macedonia, Willow

The tale for love and wish to be a mother. Two half love stories and one only motherhood story.

Norway, Hope

The relationship between artist-partners Tomas and Anja is put to the test after Anja gets a life-threatening diagnosis.

Pakistan, Circus of Life

Circus of Life provides a calm and detailed picture of challenging issues of a man who live in Lahore.

Palestine, Gaza Mon Amour

Gaza, today. Sixty-year-old fisherman Issa is secretly in love with Siham, a woman who works at the market with her daughter Leila. When he discovers an ancient phallic statue of Apollo in his fishing nets, Issa hides it, not knowing what to do with this mysterious and potent treasure. Yet deep inside, he feels that this discovery will change his life forever. Strangely, his confidence starts to grow and eventually he decides to approach Siham.

Panama, Operation Just Cause

Operation Just Cause was the largest and most complex U.S. combat operation since the Vietnam war. Nearly 26,000 combat troops deployed in Panama, this is the story told by the Panamanians who lived it that Christmas of 1989

Paraguay, Killing the Dead

In 1978, Paraguay lives a dictatorship and, clandestinely, two men bury corpses. But one day they find a man who is still breathing. They have to kill him, but they never killed anyone before.

Peru, Song without a Name

Georgina’s newborn daughter is stolen at a fake health clinic. Her desperate search for the child leads her to the headquarters of a major newspaper, where she meets a lonely journalist who takes on the investigation.

Philippines, Mindanao

Mindanao tells the story of Muslim woman Saima Datupalo (Judy Ann Santos). While taking care of her cancer-stricken daughter named Aisa Datupalo (Yuna Tangog) in a temporary home for children with cancer called the House of Hope in Davao, her soldier husband Malang Datupalo (Allen Dizon), a combat medic, is an offensive operation in Maguindanao.

Poland, Never Gonna Snow Again

Zhenia, a Russian-speaking immigrant from the East works as a masseur in Poland and becomes a guru-like figure in a wealthy gated community of his clients.

Portugal, Vitalina Varela

A Cape Verdean woman navigates her way through Lisbon, following the scanty physical traces her deceased husband left behind and discovering his secret, illicit life.

Romania, Collective

Director Alexander Nanau follows a crack team of investigators at the Romanian newspaper Gazeta Sporturilor as they try to uncover a vast health-care fraud that enriched moguls and politicians and led to the deaths of innocent citizens.

Russia, Dear Comrades!

When the communist government raises food prices in 1962, the rebellious workers from the small industrial town of Novocherkassk go on strike. The massacre which then ensues is seen through the eyes of a devout party activist.

Saudi Arabia, Scales

Set in a dystopian landscape, SCALES is the story of a young strong-willed girl, Hayat, who lives in a poor fishing village governed by a dark tradition in which every family must give one daughter to the sea creatures who inhabit the waters nearby. In turn the sea creatures are hunted by the men of the village. Saved from this fate by her father, Hayat is considered a curse on the village and grows up an outcast. Nevertheless, she does not surrender to this fate and fights for a place within her village. After her mother gives birth to a baby boy, Hayat must accept the brutal custom of giving herself to the sea creatures or finding a way to escape.

Senegal, Nafi’s Father

A fight between an Imam and his powerful brother over their children’s marriage. At stake: how a small community slowly drifts towards extremism.

Serbia, Dara of Jasenovac

The film is set in the Nazi-occupied Croatian Ustasha regime “NDH” in former Yugoslavia during WWII. The film is told through the experiences of a little girl named Dara who is sent as a child during the Holocaust in the Balkans to the infamous extermination camp complex Jasenovac, also known as “Balkan’s Auschwitz”, when it was ruled by sadistic camp commander Maks Luburic until the liberation. The film is the first modern WWII movie that takes place in or shows this NDH era camp.

Singapore, Wet Season

A teacher and student at a Singapore high school form a special, self-affirming bond.

Slovakia, The Auschwitz Report

This is the true story of Freddy and Walter – two young Slovak Jews, who were deported to Auschwitz in 1942. On 10 April 1944, after meticulous planning and with the help and the resilience of their inmates, they manage to escape. While the inmates, they had left behind, courageously stand their ground against the Nazi officers, the two men are driven on by the hope that their evidence could save lives. Emaciated and hurt, they make their way through the mountains back to Slovakia. With the help of chance encounters, they finally manage to cross the border and meet the resistance and The Red Cross. They compile a detailed report about the systematic genocide at the camp. However, with Nazi propaganda and international liaisons still in place, their account seems to be too harrowing to believe.

Slovenia, Stories from the Chestnut Woods

In a decaying forest on the Yugoslav-Italian border in the years after World War II, a stingy, old carpenter and a lonely, young chestnut seller share imaginative memories of the past as they weigh fateful decisions for the future, in this touching homage to a lost way of life.

South Africa, Toorbos

Explores the uprooting of a young forest woman and her community during the time of the last forest inhabitants of South Africa’s Knysna forest of the 1930’s.

South Korea, The Man Standing Next

In the 1970s Korea is under the absolute control of the president Park who controls the KCIA the organization with the edge over any branch of government.

Spain, The Endless Trench

1936. A country taken by the fascism. A husband marked for the killing. A wife determined to all for saving him. An endless incarceration in his own home.

Sudan, You Will Die at Twenty

Shortly after Muzamil was born, the village’s holy man predicts that he will die at age 20. Muzamil’s father can’t stand the curse and leaves home. Sakina raises her son as a single mother, overly protective. One day, Muzamil turns 19.

Suriname, Wiren

When nine-year-old Wiren meets the American Dr. Young a world of opportunities opens up for the small deaf boy. Driven by his ambition to get ahead in life he leaves his life in rural Nickerie behind and winds up at the Kennedy boarding school in the capital Paramaribo. He struggles to comply to the strict, conservative Catholic methods at the school, but turns out to become the catalyst for the change that leads to the introduction of sign language. After being rejected by the university he realizes that deaf people do not enjoy the same rights and opportunities as hearing people. Witnessing the constant withhold of deaf people in Suriname leads Wiren to seek justice by suing the government to coerce them to adhere to the Convention of the Rights of People with Disabilities. Will he succeed?

Sweden, Charter

After a divorce, Alice hasn’t seen her children in two months as she awaits a custody verdict. When her son calls her in the middle of the night, Alice takes action, abducting the children on an illicit charter trip to the Canary Islands.

Switzerland, My Little Sister

Lisa has bid goodbye to her ambitions as a playwright and the Berlin arts scene and now lives in Switzerland with her husband, who runs an international school. When her twin brother falls ill, she returns to Berlin.

Taiwan, A Sun

A family of four fractures under the weight of unmet expectations, unexpected tragedy, and uncompromising pride.

Thailand, Happy Old Year

A woman wants to reorganize her house and convert it into a home office. She will throw away anything that has been lying around unused. However, she faces a great challenge when she comes across some items that belonged to her ex-boyfriend.

Tunisia, The Man Who Sold His Skin

The journey of Sam Ali, a Syrian man who fled to Lebanon to escape the Syrian war, hoping to eventually join his lover in Paris.

Turkey, Miracle in Cell No. 7

A story of love between a mentally-ill father who was wrongly accused of murder and his lovely six years old daughter. The prison would be their home. (Based on the 2013 Korean movie Miracle in Cell No. 7.)

Ukraine, Atlantis

A soldier suffering from PTSD befriends a young volunteer hoping to restore peaceful energy to a war-torn society.

Uruguay, Aleli

The death of their father causes three dysfunctional siblings to fight over their beloved childhood home.

Venezuela, Once upon a Time in Venezuela

Villagers in the Venezuelan community of Lake Maracaibo fight against pollution, corruption and neglect to keep homes and way of life.

Vietnam, Dreamy Eyes

A movie tells the one sided love story of young man – Ngan for his girlfriend from childhood – Halan.

– – – – – – – – – –

Before we get into how I think this is likely to go, I like to go over how each of the submitted countries has done historically.

(Note: The number of submissions includes this year. So some percentages will change, but you’ll get the general idea. Also, any crossed out country did not submit a film this year.)

  1. Afghanistan — 14 submissions, 0 nominations
  2. Albania — 13 submissions, 0 nominations
  3. Algeria — 21 submissions, 5 nominations (24%)
  4. Argentina — 47 submissions, 7 nominations (15%)
  5. Armenia — 9 submissions, 0 nominations
  6. Australia — 13 submissions, 1 nomination (8%)
  7. Austria — 43 submissions, 4 nominations (9%)
  8. Azerbaijan — 7 submissions, 0 nominations
  9. Bangladesh — 16 submissions, 0 nominations
  10. Belarus — 4 submissions, 0 nominations
  11. Belgium — 45 submissions, 7 nominations (16%)
  12. Bolivia — 12 submissions, 0 nominations
  13. Bosnia and Herzegovina — 20 submissions, 1 nomination (5%)
  14. Brazil — 48 submissions, 4 nominations (8%)
  15. Bulgaria — 31 submissions, 0 nominations
  16. Cambodia — 9 submissions, 1 nomination (11%)
  17. Cameroon — This is their first submission.
  18. Canada — 46 submissions, 7 nominations (15%)
  19. Chile — 25 submissions, 2 nominations (8%)
  20. China — 34 submissions, 2 nominations (6%)
  21. Colombia — 29 submissions, 1 nomination (3%)
  22. Costa Rica — 9 submissions, 0 nominations
  23. Croatia — 29 submissions, 0 nominations
  24. Cuba — 22 submissions, 1 nomination (5%)
  25. Czech Republic (and Czechoslovakia) — 50 submissions, 9 nominations (18%)
  26. Denmark — 58 submissions, 12 nominations (21%)
  27. Dominican Republic — 13 submissions, 0 nominations
  28. Ecuador — 9 submissions, 0 nominations
  29. Egypt — 35 submissions, 0 nominations
  30. Estonia — 18 submissions, 1 nomination (6%)
  31. Ethiopia — 4 submissions, 0 nominations
  32. Finland — 34 submissions, 1 nomination (3%)
  33. France — 67 submissions, 40 nominations (59%)
  34. Georgia — 19 submissions, 1 nomination (6%)
  35. Germany (incl. E/W Germany) — 64 submissions, 19 nominations (31%)
  36. Ghana — 1 submission, 0 nominations
  37. Greece — 40 submissions, 5 nominations (13%)
  38. Guatemala — This is their first submission.
  39. Haiti — 1 submission, 0 nominations
  40. Honduras — 3 submissions, 0 nominations
  41. Hong Kong — 39 submissions, 2 nominations (5%)
  42. Hungary — 56 submissions, 10 nominations (18%)
  43. Iceland — 41 submissions, 1 nomination (3%)
  44. India — 53 submissions, 3 nominations (6%)
  45. Indonesia — 22 submissions, 0 nominations
  46. Iran — 26 submissions, 3 nominations (12%)
  47. Iraq — 9 submissions, 0 nominations
  48. Ireland — 7 submissions, 0 nominations
  49. Israel — 53 submissions, 10 nominations (19%)
  50. Italy — 67 submissions, 31 nominations (46%)
  51. Ivory Coast — This is their first submission.
  52. Japan — 67 submissions, 16 nominations (24%)
  53. Jordan — 4 submissions, 1 nomination (25%)
  54. Kazakhstan — 15 submissions, 1 nomination (7%)
  55. Kenya — 5 submissions, 0 nominations
  56. Kosovo — 7 submissions, 0 nominations
  57. Kyrgyzstan — 13 submissions, 0 nominations
  58. Laos — 1 submission, 0 nominations
  59. Latvia — 12 submissions, 0 nominations
  60. Lebanon — 17 submissions, 2 nominations (12%)
  61. Lesotho — This is their first submission.
  62. Lithuania — 13 submissions, 0 nominations
  63. Luxembourg — 17 submissions, 0 nominations
  64. Malawi — 1 submission, 0 nominations
  65. Malaysia — 6 submissions, 0 nominations
  66. Mexico — 53 submissions, 9 nominations (17%)
  67. Mongolia — 6 submissions, 0 nominations
  68. Montenegro — 7 submissions, 0 nominations
  69. Morocco — 16 submissions, 0 nominations
  70. Mozambique — 1 submission, 0 nominations
  71. Nepal — 10 submissions, 1 nomination (10%)
  72. Netherlands — 53 submissions, 7 nominations (13%)
  73. New Zealand — 6 submissions, 0 nominations
  74. Niger — 1 submission, 0 nominations
  75. Nigeria — This is their first submission.
  76. North Macedonia — 17 submissions, 2 nominations (12%)
  77. Norway — 42 submissions, 5 nominations (12%)
  78. Pakistan — 10 submissions, 0 nominations
  79. Palestine — 13 submissions, 2 nominations (15%)
  80. Panama — 7 submissions, 0 nominations
  81. Paraguay — 4 submissions, 0 nominations
  82. Peru — 27 submissions, 1 nomination (4%)
  83. Philippines — 32 submissions, 0 nominations
  84. Poland — 52 submissions, 12 nominations (23%)
  85. Portugal — 37 submissions, 0 nominations
  86. Romania — 36 submissions, 0 nominations
  87. Russia (incl. Soviet Union) — 52 submissions, 16 nominations (31%)
  88. Saudi Arabia — 4 submissions, 0 nominations
  89. Senegal — 3 submissions, 0 nominations
  90. Serbia — 27 submissions, 0 nominations
  91. Singapore — 14 submissions, 0 nominations
  92. Slovakia — 24 submissions, 0 nominations
  93. Slovenia — 24 submissions, 0 nominations
  94. South Africa — 17 submissions, 2 nominations (12%)
  95. South Korea — 32 submissions, 1 nominations (3%)
  96. Spain — 63 submissions, 20 nominations (32%)
  97. Sudan — This is their first submission.
  98. Suriname — This is their first submission.
  99. Sweden — 59 submissions, 16 nominations (27%)
  100. Switzerland — 48 submissions, 5 nominations (10%)
  101. Syria — 1 submission, 0 nominations
  102. Taiwan — 46 submissions, 3 nominations (7%)
  103. Thailand — 27 submissions, 0 nominations
  104. Tunisia — 7 submissions, 0 nominations
  105. Turkey — 27 submissions, 0 nominations
  106. Ukraine — 13 submissions, 0 nominations
  107. United Kingdom — 17 submissions, 2 nominations (12%)
  108. Uruguay — 20 submissions, 0 nominations
  109. Uzbekistan — 1 submission, 0 nominations
  110. Venezuela — 30 submissions, 0 nominations
  111. Vietnam — 16 submissions, 1 nomination (6%)
  112. Yemen — 2 submissions, 0 nominations

Seven first-time countries on here.

So, removing the 7 first-timers, who haven o history to go by, of the 86 countries with previous submissions in this category, 41 countries have never been nominated.

And, just quickly, because I’m curious, here’s a percentage breakdown of which countries have been nominated the most historically:

20% or greater

  1. France — 67 submissions, 40 nominations (59%)
  2. Italy — 67 submissions, 31 nominations (46%)
  3. Spain — 63 submissions, 20 nominations (32%)
  4. Germany (incl. E/W Germany) — 64 submissions, 19 nominations (31%)
  5. Russia (incl. Soviet Union) — 52 submissions, 16 nominations (31%)
  6. Sweden — 59 submissions, 16 nominations (27%)
  7. Jordan — 4 submissions, 1 nomination (25%)
  8. Algeria — 21 submissions, 5 nominations (24%)
  9. Japan — 67 submissions, 16 nominations (24%)
  10. Poland — 52 submissions, 12 nominations (23%)
  11. Denmark — 58 submissions, 12 nominations (21%)

So, the usual suspects. Jordan has a high percentage because it got nominated early. But removing that: France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Russia, Sweden, Japan, Poland, Denmark. The places we know have robust film industries (and do not typically have output that is very much different than American audiences are used to, like an India, China or to an extent South Korea). The ultimate point here, it’s usually best to keep these films in mind for a shortlist most of the time.


10% or greater

  1. Israel — 53 submissions, 10 nominations (19%)
  2. Czech Republic (and Czechoslovakia) — 50 submissions, 9 nominations (18%)
  3. Hungary — 56 submissions, 10 nominations (18%)
  4. Mexico — 53 submissions, 9 nominations (17%)
  5. Belgium — 45 submissions, 7 nominations (16%)
  6. Argentina — 47 submissions, 7 nominations (15%)
  7. Canada — 46 submissions, 7 nominations (15%)
  8. Palestine — 13 submissions, 2 nominations (15%)
  9. Greece — 40 submissions, 5 nominations (13%)
  10. Netherlands — 53 submissions, 7 nominations (13%)
  11. Iran — 26 submissions, 3 nominations (12%)
  12. Lebanon — 17 submissions, 2 nominations (12%)
  13. North Macedonia — 17 submissions, 2 nominations (12%)
  14. Norway — 42 submissions, 5 nominations (12%)
  15. South Africa — 17 submissions, 2 nominations (12%)
  16. United Kingdom — 17 submissions, 2 nominations (12%)
  17. Cambodia — 9 submissions, 1 nomination (11%)
  18. Nepal — 10 submissions, 1 nomination (10%)
  19. Switzerland — 48 submissions, 5 nominations (10%)

And there’s the rest of your heavy hitter countries. Much like Animated Feature, you didn’t need me to tell you this, but a lot of the time it’s intuitive and you don’t really need hardcore data to back up your instincts. But I like looking at this stuff because it interests me, so here we are.


10% or less

  1. Austria — 43 submissions, 4 nominations (9%)
  2. Brazil — 48 submissions, 4 nominations (8%)
  3. Chile — 25 submissions, 2 nominations (8%)
  4. Australia — 13 submissions, 1 nomination (8%)
  5. Kazakhstan — 15 submissions, 1 nomination (7%)
  6. Taiwan — 46 submissions, 3 nominations (7%)
  7. China — 34 submissions, 2 nominations (6%)
  8. Estonia — 18 submissions, 1 nomination (6%)
  9. Georgia — 19 submissions, 1 nomination (6%)
  10. India — 53 submissions, 3 nominations (6%)
  11. Vietnam — 16 submissions, 1 nomination (6%)
  12. Bosnia and Herzegovina — 20 submissions, 1 nomination (5%)
  13. Cuba — 22 submissions, 1 nomination (5%)
  14. Hong Kong — 39 submissions, 2 nominations (5%)
  15. Peru — 27 submissions, 1 nomination (4%)
  16. Colombia — 29 submissions, 1 nomination (3%)
  17. Finland — 34 submissions, 1 nomination (3%)
  18. Iceland — 41 submissions, 1 nomination (3%)
  19. South Korea — 32 submissions, 1 nominations (3%)

And there we are. It’s interesting to see which countries you’d think might do better historically not do all that well. Something to keep in mind. Though since the shortlist is 15, it’s more for nominations. But even then, you have the films as a guide, so even then this is only marginally helpful.

That’s sort of the tagline for me and this site, though, isn’t it? “Marginally helpful.”

– – – – – – – – – –

Anyway, after that lengthy and unnecessary detour, here’s all the shortlists going back to 2006, when they began announcing shortlists (nominees italicized and winners bolded):

  • 2019: Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Russia, Senegal, France, Macedonia, Poland, Spain, South Korea
  • 2018: Colombia, Denmark, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Germany, Japan, Lebanon, Poland, Mexico
  • 2017: Germany, Israel, Senegal, South Africa, Hungary, Lebanon, Russia, Sweden, Chile
  • 2016: Canada, Norway, Russia, Switzerland, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Iran
  • 2015: Belgium, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Colombia, Denmark, France, Jordan, Hungary
  • 2014: Georgia, Netherlands, Sweden, Venezuela, Argentina, Estonia, Mauritania, Russia, Poland
  • 2013: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Belgium, Cambodia, Denmark, Palestine, Italy
  • 2012: France, Iceland, Romania, Switzerland, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Norway, Austria
  • 2011: Denmark, Germany, Morocco, Taiwan, Belgium, Canada, Israel, Poland, Iran
  • 2010: Japan, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Algeria, Canada, Greece, Mexico, Denmark
  • 2009: Australia, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, France, Germany, Israel, Peru, Argentina
  • 2008: Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Turkey, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Japan
  • 2007: Brazil, Canada, Italy, Serbia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Poland, Russia, Austria
  • 2006: France, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Algeria, Canada, Denmark, Mexico, Germany

Breaking that down further, here’s the countries that have been shortlisted in the past 14 years:

  • Germany 9 (5 nominations and 1 win)
  • Denmark 8 (6 nominations and 1 win)
  • Canada 7 (4 nominations)
  • France 6 (4 nominations)
  • Poland 5 (5 nominations and 1 win)
  • Russia 5 (3 nominations)
  • Sweden 5 (2 nominations)
  • Hungary 4 (2 nominations and 1 win)
  • Israel 4 (3 nominations)
  • Mexico 4 (3 nominations and 1 win)
  • Austria 3 (3 nominations and 2 wins)
  • Belgium 3 (2 nominations)
  • Italy 3 (2 nominations and 1 win)
  • Japan 3 (2 nominations and 1 win)
  • Kazakhstan 3 (1 nomination)
  • Spain 3 (1 nomination)
  • Netherlands 3
  • Switzerland 3
  • Algeria 2 (2 nominations)
  • Argentina 2 (2 nominations and 1 win)
  • Australia 2 (1 nomination)
  • Chile 2 (2 nominations and 1 win)
  • Colombia 2 (1 nomination)
  • Estonia 2 (1 nomination)
  • Iran 2 (2 nominations and 2 wins)
  • Lebanon 2 (2 nominations)
  • Norway 2 (1 nomination)
  • South Korea 2 (1 nomination and 1 win)
  • Senegal 2
  • South Africa 2
  • Cambodia (1 nomination)
  • Greece (1 nomination)
  • Jordan (1 nomination)
  • Macedonia (1 nomination)
  • Mauritania (1 nomination)
  • Palestine (1 nomination)
  • Peru (1 nomination)
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Czech Republic
  • Finland
  • Georgia
  • Hong Kong
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Morocco
  • Romania
  • Serbia
  • Taiwan
  • Turkey
  • Venezuela

Germany and Denmark. Look at them. Almost always on the shortlist. And Poland — always nominated when they get shortlisted. It should be noted that Canada, despite 7 shortlists, hasn’t been nominated since 2012, and that all but one of Mexico’s shortlists were because of Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro Inarritu or Guillermo Del Toro. And both of Iran’s shortlists were Asghar Farhadi. Point is, some countries get on because of auteurs. But also, you kinda know that they weight differently when you see them on here. So it all balances out.

– – – – – – – – – –

Okay, now for the absolute speculation part. This is based on nothing except my own intuition and experience with this category. These are the films that I feel likely won’t get shortlisted:

  • Albania, Open Door
  • Argentina, The Sleepwalkers
  • Armenia, Songs of Solomon
  • Austria, What We Wanted
  • Bangladesh, Sincerely Yours, Dhaka
  • Belgium, Working Girls
  • Bolivia, Chaco
  • Brazil, Babenco – Tell Me When I Die
  • Bulgaria, The Father
  • Cambodia, Fathers
  • Cameroon, The Fisherman’s Diary
  • China, Leap
  • Colombia, El Olvido Que Seremos (Memories of My Father)
  • Costa Rica, Land of Ashes
  • Croatia, Extracurricular
  • Cuba, Buscando a Casal
  • Dominican Republic, A State of Madness
  • Ecuador, Emptiness
  • Egypt, When We’re Born
  • Estonia, The Last Ones
  • Finland, Tove
  • Honduras, Days of Light
  • Hong Kong, Better Days
  • Iceland, Agnes Joy
  • India, Jallikattu
  • Indonesia, Impetigore
  • Ireland, Arracht
  • Japan, True Mothers
  • Jordan, 200 Meters
  • Kazakhstan, The Crying Steppe
  • Kenya, The Letter
  • Kosovo, Exile
  • Kyrgyzstan, Running to the Sky
  • Latvia, Blizzard of Souls
  • Lithuania, Nova Lituania
  • Luxembourg, River Tales
  • Malaysia, Roh
  • Mongolia, Veins of the World
  • Montenegro, Breasts
  • Morocco, The Unknown Saint
  • Nigeria, The Milkmaid
  • North Macedonia, Willow
  • Pakistan, Circus of Life
  • Palestine, Gaza Mon Amour
  • Panama, Operation Just Cause
  • Paraguay, Killing the Dead
  • Peru, Song without a Name
  • Philippines, Mindanao
  • Saudi Arabia, Scales
  • Senegal, Nafi’s Father
  • Singapore, Wet Season
  • Slovenia, Stories from the Chestnut Woods
  • South Korea, The Man Standing Next
  • Suriname, Wiren
  • South Africa, Toorbos
  • Thailand, Happy Old Year
  • Tunisia, The Man Who Sold His Skin
  • Turkey, Miracle in Cell No. 7
  • Ukraine, Atlantis
  • Uruguay, Aleli
  • Venezuela, Once upon a Time in Venezuela
  • Vietnam, Dreamy Eyes

That’s 62 films, leaving 31 left. So here are the remaining 31, which I picked based on which films I’ve heard of already (which is usually a good start), which films seem to be getting pushes, the countries that usually end up on shortlists, and (honestly) just which movies sounded cool or had good titles. Oh, and a couple of first time submissions, just because those seem to have a habit of making the shortlist. Though maybe not since there are no saves. But we’ll see. Either way. We’ve got 31 films here that I think are most likely to make up the majority of the shortlist.

The will not make up the entirety of it, because I’m never that good. Especially as little-versed in this part of the process as I am and there being 15. The odds of all 15 coming from this below list are almost astronomical. But I do think I can get 10, and that’s what I’m aiming for.

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina, Quo Vadis, Aida?
  • Canada, 14 Days, 12 Nights
  • Chile, The Mole Agent
  • Czech Republic, Charlatan
  • Denmark, Another Round
  • France, Two of Us
  • Georgia, Beginning
  • Germany, And Tomorrow the Entire World
  • Greece, Apples
  • Guatemala, La Llorona
  • Hungary, Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time
  • Iran, Sun Children
  • Israel, Asia
  • Italy, Notturno
  • Ivory Coast, Night of the Kings
  • Lebanon, Broken Keys
  • Lesotho, This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection
  • Mexico, I’m No Longer Here
  • Netherlands, Buladó
  • Norway, Hope
  • Poland, Never Gonna Snow Again
  • Portugal, Vitalina Varela
  • Romania, Collective
  • Russia, Dear Comrades!
  • Serbia, Dara of Jasenovac
  • Slovakia, The Auschwitz Report
  • Spain, The Endless Trench
  • Sudan, You Will Die at Twenty
  • Sweden, Charter
  • Switzerland, My Little Sister
  • Taiwan, A Sun

I can’t really parse this so much past that, so I’ll just say, right now, if I’m purely guessing a shortlist of 15, just to see how close I can get, I’ll go with these 15:

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Quo Vadis, Aida?
Chile, The Mole Agent
Denmark, Another Round
France, Two of Us
Georgia, Beginning
Greece, Apples
Italy, Notturno
Ivory Coast, Night of the Kings
Lebanon, Broken Keys
Mexico, I’m No Longer Here
Portugal, Vitalina Varela
Romania, Collective
Russia, Dear Comrades!
Switzerland, My Little Sister
Taiwan, A Sun

Again, pure guesswork. If I get half of these I’ll feel like a genius.

But anyway, shortlist gets announced in a week, and then it becomes much more interesting and easier to figure how the category is gonna go. I doubt anyone’s as crazy as me and is gonna try to pick the shortlist, but with 15 I would say go with the big countries and the big films. On a shortlist of 9, you can be pickier and go artier. Here, go with that stuff but also throw in some of the gimmes because I feel like the gimmes are easier to get in a situation like this. But what do I know.

Animated Feature eligibles coming soon.

– – – – – – – – – –


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