Congratulations to the nine films that proceed to the final stage towards an Oscar nomination. Six of these nine films were the top vote-winners from Academy's foreign film committee in Los Angeles (who screened these 80 films) after which the executive committee added three titles to the list (though which titles are which are never revealed to the public). A final committee will now screen these nine films and determine the five nominees to be announced on January 14th. It's an elaborate process that we love to follow each year. Catch up on all our coverage and see the charts!
Links go to past articles on the films if we've written any
- Belgium (7 nominations) The Brand New Testament, Jaco Van Dormael
- Colombia (never nominated) Embrace of the Serpent, Ciro Guerra (opens 2/17)
- Denmark (13 noms | 3 wins) A War, Tobias Lindholm (opens in 2016)
- Finland (1 nomination) The Fencer, Klaus Härö, director
- France (36 noms | 9 wins | 3 honorarys) Mustang, Deniz Gamze Ergüven (now playing)
- Germany (18 noms | 3 wins) Labyrinth of Lies, Giulio Ricciarelli (now playing)
- Hungary (8 noms | 1 win) Son of Saul, László Nemes (opens tomorrow!)
- Ireland (never nominated) Viva, Paddy Breathnach (opens 2/5)
- Jordan (never nominated) Theeb, Naji Abu Nowar (now playing)
Embrace of the Serpent and Mustang are both sensational pictures that more people need to discover. Go see Mustang quick! Theeb and Labyrinth of Lies are surely leaving theaters soon to so this might be your last week. If Mustang is nominated it will end France's longest drought without a nomination ever. That will be ironic since it's mostly a Turkish film. Though France is the most nominated country of all time, they haven't been honored for the past five years and their last win was 23 years back with the gorgeous Catherine Deneuve epic Indochine (1992).which was popular enough to secure a Best Actress nomination, too.
Hungary's Son of Saul has been the expected frontrunner for months
Four of the nine finalists are from first time feature directors! That'd be Son of Saul, Mustang, Theeb, and Labyrinth of Lies
Only one of the finalists is directed by a woman (Mustang) -- 13 of the 80 films in the running had female directors or co-directors. All of the LGBT films (Thailand, Lithuania, Greece, and The Dominican Republic) were cut but for Ireland's Viva (which is set entirely in Cuba) about a boy who wants to become a drag performer.
Fourth Time's The Charm?
Finnish director Klaus Härö has been submitted three previous times for Elina: As If I Wasn't There, Mother of Mine, and Letters to Father Jacob, but this is his first time in the finals. Will he finally be nominated?
I mourn for The Second Mother, a film I really enjoyed that had a reasonably high profile, decent arthouse box office and strong reviews. Sweden's brilliant A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence would have probably needed a save from the Executive Committee but they didn't come through. I'm more surprised to see Iceland's Rams missing since it had been generating such positive word of mouth and was reportedly accessible, too. The biggest hit in US theaters from the competing films, Austria's Goodnight Mommy was also not selected. The film critics will surely be angriest to see Taiwan's The Assassin denied.
Which films are you rooting for?