Oscar History

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Documentary Finalists for Oscar

Cameraperson is the best film of the year. Nothing else is even close. -Mark

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Maria Schrader (Stefan Zweig...)
Boo Junfeng (The Apprentice
Gianfranco Rosi (Fire At Sea)
Chris Kelly (Other People)
NWR (Neon Demon)

Previous Interview Index



Official Foreign Film Submission Oscar Charts. Plus Trailers

Twenty-one Official Submissions for the 2015 Foreign Language Film Oscar race have been announced! That's just under a third of the list given the usual amount of submissions but things are already weird and wild with a colorful LGBT drama (Xenia from Greece), a disaster movie (The Wave from Norway), more documentaries than usual already including animated and 3D offerings (Palestine, Switzerland, and Panama), alongside your more usual type of competitor like World War II focused entries (Germany and Hungary, which I'm currently predicting for nominations) and historical epics (South Korea)

The foreign film charts are a major project each year behind the scenes and we're so proud to have raised the profile of this awards category over the past 15 years. The Film Experience was literally the first website to cover it in detail (all the way back to our humble beginnings) and slowly but surely the fever spread. As did all things Oscar. Now, everyone does it! It's no longer "ours" so to speak -- not that one can own an Oscar topic -- but we're still justified in feeling the pride of original adoption. And if we don't pat ourselves on the back who will since we get no damn respect from the larger online film culture. Ahem.

Greece's XENIA and South Korea's THE THRONE


Current Predictions and All Time Stats & Trivia on This Category


Afghanistan through Estonia
Will Brazil send The Second Mother? Will Argentina send festival-premiering crime drama The Clan? Info on Official entries from Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, and Croatia.
Ethiopia through The Netherlands
Mexico has a 14 film shortlonglist. Info on official entries from Finland, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, and Luxembourg
New Zealand through Vietnam
Speculation on The Philippines. Info on official entries from Norway, Palestine, Panama, Romania, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, and Venezuela


Click to read more ...


Emily Watson is nobody's mother (this time)

Here's Murtada on a favorite actress we'd like to see more of.

Watson at the press confrence

The paparazzi might have been more interested in jurors Diane Kruger and Elizabeth Banks. The trades were into what jury head Alfonso Cuaron had to say. Most of the press coverage had more pictures of her co-stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin and Jason Clarke. But on the first day of the Venice Film Festival we had our eyes for Everest star Emily Watson.

It was nice to see her smiling and looking good. As the only woman from the film making the press rounds - seems Robin Wright, Keira Knightley and Elizabeth Debicki had other plans - naturally eyes gravitated towards her. This is a far cry from the frumpy mothers she has played recently in The Book Thief, Testament of Youth and especially The Theory of Everything. The latter was the nadir of that niche that was carved for her by casting directors. It was no more than a cameo and was hilariously lampooned by Nathaniel & company on the podcast. 

Watson was born same year as Nicole Kidman. She’s one year older than Naomi Watts, 2 years older than Cate Blanchett. Those actresses are still getting plum parts in major movies. It’s too soon for Watson to start competing with Julie Walters and Brenda Blethyn for parts. While she’s never been the glamorous star, her fantastic turns in Breaking the Waves, Hilary & Jackie and Gosford Park certainly make her the equal of the actresses mentioned. But perhaps the more apt comparison is with someone like Helena Bonham Carter - who coincidentally turned down Watson career-making role in Waves. Helena still manages a varied range of opportunities. (We acknowledge we might be blind to fantastic work Watson has done recently for TV in the UK.)

on the boat with her co-stars John Hawkes, Clarke and Brolin (courtesy of Brolin's instagram).

This is a long way of saying that we hope Everest is the beginning of a new exciting phase of Watson’s career. She plays the base camp co-ordinater who is the climbers' main contact to the world outside the mountain. The reviews have been mostly positive. Some singled out Watson as “heartrending’’, others expected more. We are just grateful she has more to do than be somebody’s mother.

What would you like to see Watson do next?


"luck or no luck..."


British diplomats, evil pharmaceuticals and The Constant Gardener

Andrew Kendall looks back at The Constant Gardener for its 10th anniversary...

"This whole machine is driven by guilt."

To look back, after ten years, at the overly stylised hand-held camera visual style of The Constant Gardener, it might not seem particularly noteworthy; but, the almost unintelligible camerawork of Fernando Meirelles' first English language film, just off the success of City of God, remains key to what makes The Constant Gardener one of the century's most effective (pseudo)-political thrillers. True, it has faded in history as one of the slew of dramas that tried to break into that impenetrable 2005 Best picture line-up. We remember it for Rachel Weisz’s luminous Oscar winning turn, but The Constant Gardener has more to offer than just its place in awards history – it’s an unflinching, exact, and effective film which has not lost its vigour in the ten years since it premiered.


Click to read more ...


Dope Re-Release: What Does It Mean?

Please welcome our new contributor Kieran Scarlett.

Dope (discussed here) hits theaters again this weekend. The film made a splash at the Sundance Film Festival in January before opening wide earlier this summer to slightly less rapturous response and modest box office. Not that $16 million for a movie with a production budget of $700 000 is anything to sneeze at, mind you. Still, it's not quite the sleeper hit many at Sundance thought it would be. Will it be able to improve on those numbers? Perhaps. 

Is there hope for Dope?

With Straight Outta Compton performing very well, Dope's obsession with the early 90s could play well on re-release. Or will the audiences just see the megahit rap biopic and pass over the Sundance indie altogether? 

With the upcoming re-release of Dope and yesterday's DVD and Blu-ray release of Mad Max Fury Road (reviewed here), the question of awards prospects for films released in the first half of the year comes into play. It's possible that Dope's re-release could be priming the pump for an awards campaign - a reminder of The Little Indie They Thought Could And Still Might. Awards wise, it's going to be an uphill climb for something like Dope. Even if one takes into account the fact that the Academy has come under fire recently for lack of diversity in its nominations and might be looking to fix that, Dope may still have trouble standing up against other efforts. There's Tangerine, which in addition to being an absolute joy of a film has a better hook in terms of an awards narrative. And there's the aforementioned Straight Outta Compton, both a critical and commercial success. Still, if Dope is indeed trying to make an awards play, a re-release right now is a wise move, right before the Telluride Film Festival kicks off and things typically start to get very noisy in the world of awards punditry. 

Have you seen Dope yet? It's your last chance to check out Rick Famuyiwa's love letter to '90s hip-hop nostalgia before its DVD release next month.

Kieran is a Canadian expat whose love affair with movies began with Judy Garland and Julie Andrews.  He thanks his older brother for his film fanaticism and apologizes profusely for dragging him to see "Cold Mountain" on opening weekend because 'people in it might get nominated for stuff.'  He received his MFA in writing from the American Film institute. He spends a lot of time thinking about the 1974 Best Actress race, admiring Dorothy Malone's mambo skills and longing for the return of Holly Hunter.  Kieran can be found in Los Angeles, writing, working on movies and searching for the perfect arthouse theater with good parking. [Follow him on Twitter.]