Oscar History

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Oscar's Foreign Race Pt 3 - Female Directors

With the 87 wide official list of foreign Oscar submissions released to consider, we thought we'd dig a little deeper this week into various aspects of the race. We've already shared all the trailers so let's break down how the directors shake out with the rich and promising topic of women behind the camera.

Contrary to popular internet belief, very generally speaking of course, female directors overseas are not as rare or as systemically unsupported as they have historically been in the US. There are usually at least a handful of female-helmed films in the long official submission list. This year we have the second most we've ever had in the run up to the nominations. Of the 87 movies in contention, 20 were directed or co-directed by women. 

Rungano Nyoni was born in Zambia but emigrated to the UK when she was a little girl. Her debut feature is the widely acclaimed I Am Not a Witch (2018) which won the BAFTA last season for Outstanding Debut and is now playing in selected cities in the US.  She was previously nominated at the BAFTAs for a short film Mwansa the Great (2011). She is the second female filmmaker chosen by the UK for the Oscars, the first being Havana Marking for Afghan Star (2009) but that number isn't as dire as it sounds. The UK has only submitted 16 films in the history of the Oscars since most of the films produced there are in English...

Nadine Labaki is Lebanon's most internationally prominent director breaking through 11 years ago with the hit Caramel (2007). Her latest festival sensation Capernaum (2018) won a special Jury prize at Cannes and is opening in several international markets over the next few months including the US on December 14th.

18 more women after the jump...

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NYFF: Happy as Lazzaro

Jason Adams reporting from the New York Film Festival

The surprises that flow out of Alice Rohrwacher's Happy as Lazzaro start like a trickle - an idiosyncratic sound in the forest, a mysterious red light burning in the night sky - and flash to a flood by  the mid-point, washing away what we thought we knew of its retro-future strangenesses. The earth cracks like a shell, piece by piece, and reveals another odd shell underneath.

Lazarro tells the story of an isolated band of sharecroppers in rural Italy, whose Sisyphean work in the tobacco fields only seems to plow them further into debt day after day...

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Doc Corner: 'Studio 54'

By Glenn Dunks

The most famous nightclub of the 20th century ran for only 33 months, but has gifted us with decades worth of memories. Studio 54, inarguably the pinnacle of 1970s disco decadence was a home for reckless hedonistic abandon and affected sexual liberation all under the appropriately throbbing beat of Donna Summer, Sylvester and Thelma Houston. A celebrity haunt and a genuine phenomenon with girls in fur coats and boys in short shorts and Cadillacs circling the block, it was the place to be even if you couldn't get in.

Studio 54 has played a good sized role in movies, too, so it’s surprising that it’s taken this long to get a comprehensive documentary about it. There have been movies like 54 (recommended in Director’s Cut format and nothing else) and others like Summer of Sam set against Studio’s influential disco beat. And, of course, any documentary about the 1970s, especially as it relates to celebrity or queer life, will inevitably take a limousine detour down W 54th Street in Manhattan. Is Matt Tyrnauer’s film worth the 40-year wait? For the most part, yes; although it can’t but feel like there is still much more that was left on the dancefloor...

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Beauty vs Beast: School's Out Forever

Jason from MNPP here with our weekly "Beauty vs Beast" -- tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of Wes Anderson's film Rushmore, and so you celebrate the battle between Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) and Herman Blume (Bill Murray) we shall. This was Anderson's second film (after Bottle Rocket) and an instant cult hit - it only made 17 million dollars in theaters (it ranked 97th at the box office, between The Big Lebowski and 54) but I was in college at the time and believe you me, us youngins loved it right out of the gate.

Now it's rightly heralded as a classic - you're not going to hear an unkind word from me on the hermetically crafted direction that Wes started taking his film-making after this (Moonrise Kingdom is my favorite of all his films, after all) but Rushmore does feel airy in a way that he's moved far far away from (especially with the to the millimeter specificity of his animated efforts) and it might be nice to see him sample some of this looseness again?


PREVIOUSLY I'm real glad that Judith O'Dea got to beat back the zombie horde this one time with last week's Night of the Living Dead anniversary edition - poor Barbra has had enough to deal with. Said Nick T:


"Without getting into details, I'd say this answer was a NO BRAINER!!! Hyuk hyuk hyuk"


Oscars Foreign Race Pt 2 - Trailers L-Z / Where to see the movies

by Nathaniel R

Today with the release of the official contenders list for Best Foreign Language Film we will be updating the four foreign Oscar charts which you can peruse at your leisure for more info about the films but while we work on that we wanted to share the trailers for each film as well as info on where you can see them (if it's possible to see them that is)

Previously: All the trailers for submissions from Afghanistan through Luxembourg

Ready? Deep breath. Here we go starting from Latvia and on through Vietnam. The remaining 33 films in the 87 film long list. 

LATVIA To Be Continued
Where to see: Unknown

LEBANON Capernaum
Where to see: Opens in US theaters on December 14th

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Oscar's Foreign Race Pt 1 - Trailers A-K / Where to See The Movies.

by Nathaniel R

Today with the release of the official contenders list for Best Foreign Language Film we will be updating our foreign film charts to reflect the final list. While we're doing that please enjoy a full collection of trailers and information about where / when you can see the movies if you really want to dive in. You'll probably have to watch these trailers piecemeal because 2 minutes x 87 adds up to one long-ass movie! Ready? Deep breath. Here we go with the first half from Afghanistan through Kosovo. (Previously announced submissions from Cuba and Kyrgyzstan are conspiciously missing from the final list -- were they disqualified?)

Here are the first 44 films. Part two coming soon...  

AFGHANISTAN Rona Azim's Mother
Where to see: Unknown 

ALGERIA Until the End of Time
Where to see: Unknown

Where to See: Opens in US movie theaters on November 9th

Click to read more ...

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