Oscar History

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New Oscar Chart ~ Foreign Hopefuls including Spain

Last month we shared speculation about what countries Argentina, Chile, Denmark, and The Czech Republic among others might submit to the Oscars this years. And we'll soon have more charts up. Spain narrowed down their finalists to three which is worth noting. The most successful countries in terms of Oscar in the later portions of the alphabet are Spain (19 nominations and 4 wins), Sweden (14 nominations and 3 wins) and Poland (10 nominations and 1 win). If you include the former Soviet Union stats with Russia's stats since 1992, they're approximately tied with Sweden.

Maribel Verdú in "Abracadabra" which is a finalist for Spain

Spain is currently in their longest dry spell of all time in this Oscar category (their last nominee The Sea Inside, which won, was 13 whole years ago). They will select their submission on September 7th but they've narrowed down their choice to the following three pictures: 

  • 1898: Our Last Men in the Philippines [This film is available to stream on Netflix]
    Luis Tosar and Javier Guteirrez star in Salvador Calvo's war epic about soldiers who held a town square under seige for almost a year in the Philippines even after Spain had surrended and The Philippines had become a free country.
  • Summer 1993 This is the first narrative feature from director Carla Simón who has previously made shorts and documentaries. It's in the Catalan language and about a six-year-old girl trying to adapt to a new life with her uncle after her mother's death. Simón won two prizes at Berlinale for this debut.
  • Abracadabra - My favorite Spanish submission of the past ten years was the great Snow White themed black and white silent Blancanieves.  The director (Pablo Berger) and star (Maribel Verdú) of that memorable entry (which inexplicably didn't make the finals) reunite for a colorful film which the director describes as a "paella of genres" but is at least partially a comedy about a woman who thinks her husband is possessed. Antonio de la Torre (Volver, The Last Circus) co-stars

I couldn't tell you which they'll choose as there's a definite pro for each, statistically. Consider: War films are often submitted to Oscar. Childhood-focused dramas are often beloved in this category. Countries generally like to return to directors they've submitted before. 

The foreign submission charts will be updated this weekend.

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Reader Comments (15)

Hey Nathaniel. It still looks blank to me. ?

August 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTravis C

Travis -- oops. This went up before it was ready. so i've adjusted it to just a post about Spain.


August 19, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

The 1898: Our Last Men in the Philippines sounds really intriguing. I am always fascinated by stories about the last days of a crumbling empire and the people who were caught up in it. While historical narratives have not been kind to a country's occupier, I always think that those 'spoils of war' have shattering stories that's not often told, much less seen onscreen.

The other two films Summer 1993 and Abracadabra look pretty solid. I too admire the aspiration behind Blancanieves but as often the case with me, films I admire outlast those films I love. Plus, I always had this huge crush on Maribel Verdú since Y Tu Mamá También.

August 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterOwl

Summer 1993. I have absolutely no doubt about it.

August 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

We'll have to see how the category end's up coming together, but I can't really see any of this getting nominated come Oscar time, to be honest...

This Oscar dry spell as it stands now should be shorter, since Volver definitely should've been nominated and, in my opinion, won 10 years ago!

August 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCarlos

Nathaniel- have you seen " The Queen of Spain" with Penelope Cruz- it's about the making of a big budget historical epic in Spain during the Franco dictatorship- inspired by film history- it made me think of all those Samuel Bronston epics like " El Cid" . Directed by Fernando Trueba who gave us the wonderful " Belle Epoque" (1992)

August 20, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjaragon

My opinion...

I would rule out "Abracadabra" unless they want to pursue promotion with Verdú - who's an Oscar overdue actress... but given she's unlkely to be an Oscar contender for this one, the fight would be among the other two films...

"1898" has something huge against it... this same story was examined in an recent episode of the 2nd season of hit series "El Ministerio del Tiempo" (Ministry of Time), a series that follows a special ministry of the Spanish Government that keeps track and surveillance on time travels and paradoxes, because there are doors that connect time and space all through the country. It's been a huge hit and the episode on this actual events was quite popular, diminishing the impact of the film itself afterwards (which failed to score big at the Goyas, limiting mostly to technicals). That leaves us with...

"Summer 1993" is the safer bet for the submission, specially after the Barcelona and Cambrils terrorists attacks a couple of days ago. It's set in Catalonia, it's in Catalonian, and basically will be irresistible in this moment of voting.


"Summer 1993" 60% chances
"1898" 25% chances
"Abracadabra" 15% chances

August 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso

4 countries have been submitted so far and you were right with Azerbaijan and Bosnia. Very impressive!!

August 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRod

How did Volver not get nominated? That was one of my favorite movies of that year.

August 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCash

Already four countries have selected their films that will compete in the Oscars. They are:

Azerbaijan: Pomegranate Orchard
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Men Don't Cry
Iraq: The Dark Wind
Switzerland: The Divine Order

It is too early to comment but the Swiss film could be a good contender considering its plot: Women fighting for their right to vote in 1971.
Of course it is too early to comment considering that at the moment there are only four countries registered and more than eighty films are expected to compete.

August 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterHarmodio

I've seen the three, and I also think Summer 1993 will be the chosen one. It's had better reviews, it has a more universal theme and appeal, and it's the best one.

August 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCCA

'Summer 1993' is a wonder.

August 20, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbonobo

Jesús -- Summer 1993 was the favourite movie way before the terrorist attacks. What a repulsive thing to say!

August 20, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I also reckon it'll be Summer 1993. It seems like the most natural selection although I doubt it could make the nominations unless perhaps the director gets out there and works it.

The Divine Order played a festival I worked for and I heard a lot of polite things about it, but nothing rapturous enough, although it does have a very current theme. But I suspect if SUFFRAGETTE didn't get anywhere then neither will this.

August 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

Peggy Sue... I'm an analyst, I put everything into consideration and I am not only spanish, but have lived and worked in Catalonia with intimate relationship to Barcelona (family, friends, and one ex), plus I also survived by chance the biggest terrorist attack in Barcelona (in the 80s, over 20 people dead), plus my family has been a terrorist target even before I was born (by basque terrorists). Plus, I also lived and worked in a country at war, crossing by corpses in the strreets... so forgive me if I sound insensitive, but be aware that my analysis wasn't repulsive, but professional. The sentiment for Catalonia will play a strong card in this moments, over two films that don't have the momentum, which of course, the cast and crew of "Summer 1993" would gladly not have for this reason.

August 22, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso

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