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French finalists on fire...

by Nathaniel R

Last year's international film Oscar race was one of its all-time most popular years with all of the pictures turning into arthouse hits (that never happens. Usually one is a flop). 2019's competition might be just as exciting. If countries choose well and the Academy follows suit, that is. Spain's Pain & Glory and South Korea's Parasite are the two highest profile international films in the race (both opening in early October in the US) and are likely to be successful in theaters, the former due to the consistent sales of Almodóvar imports and the latter due to its buzz and accessibility as entertainment. The third most high profile contender MIGHT be Portrait of a Lady on Fire from France. But France has yet to choose a film. UPDATE 9/20/19: THEY HAVE CHOSEN "LES MISERABLES"

They have however narrowed it down to three...

Portrait's presumed heavyweight contender is the Cannes hit Les Miserables which is not another telling of the Victor Hugo classic or remake of the British musical but a contemporary drama about tense relations between citizens and police which, like Portrait, has enthralled critics.

The third option is the very freshly arrived Proxima (which we reviewed at TIFF). That one stars Eva Green as an astronaut preparing for an internationally funded space journey. There's a lot of English in the film (Matt Dillon co-stars) but not enough to disqualify it as Green hops consistently from tongue to tongue speaking Russian, French, German, and English in the film depending on where the other actors/characters are from because Eva Green is magic and can transfix in all languages.

Still we suspect this is a nail-biter between Les Miserables and Portrait. If Portrait isn't selected we'll be sad (Chris and myself were obviously big fans at TIFF) but we'll console ourselves with the other 7 queer pictures in the running

59 films are now officially submitted and you can see them on the Oscar charts or on our frequently updated letterboxd list if you're into that service. 

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Reader Comments (9)

Nathaniel, I was reading some of the new predictions and considering some things...

-You still keep "The Two Popes" with the wrong placement, even when pundits are buying Pryce as lead and Hopkins in supporting, even when the story was verifiable as the context with Pope Francis story (With a flashback of the Dirty War in Argentina!!) and Netflix has mentioned they will promoted Pryce as lead.
-You still keep Portman, even when the film is a full critical bomb?
-Pundits are buying Tom Hanks as the supporting player.

September 18, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterleon

Nathaniel - if you get a chance to see it - check out the Colombian submission "Monos". Very strong work. Would be a worthy nominee (amazing cinematography and score by Mica Levi) however I don't see it making the shortlist.

September 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJW

cannot wait to see PORTRAIT... and it looks like it's not released in the US until december? ugh...

September 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCharles O

leon -- as it says on the pages "under construction".... they are not finished which is why i haven't mentioned them on the blog.

September 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

They don't give a fuck about the hype and they'll pick Les Miserables.

September 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

PORTRAIT is my favourite. I wasn't a fan of LES MIS, which actually sort of somewhat is inspired by the Hugo story and told on the streets where the original novel was set.

September 19, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

I co-sign the appreciation for Monos and its cinematography. Can't wait to see what Landes does next!

September 19, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Les Miserables got the nod.

September 20, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

Told y'all Les Misérables will be selected. It got a huge response in France and support from French industry people.

October 7, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterleon

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