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SMACKDOWN 1954

 "I love that two people independent of one another gave Claire Trevor an extra star simply for being Claire Trevor." - Glenn

"Interesting to see the take of young people on these movies." - Les

"That was fascinating. I love the thoughts on Executive Suite, post-post-WWII and the "benevolent patriarch." " - B.D.

 

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88th Oscars. Oscar Contenders of 2015 - For prediction, discussion, entertainment purposes only

 discuss on the blog

PART TWO - Ethiopia through The Netherlands

HQ - Predictions & Trivia
PT 1 Afghanistan to Estonia - 4 Official Submissions Thus Far
PT 3 New Zealand to Vietnam - 8 Official Submissions Thus Far

 

Ethiopia
never nominated
TITLE
Director

Lamb, which competed at Cannes seems like a strong bet. Especially since it stars a 9 year old and you know how this category is with children as protagonists

Finland
1 nom | 0 wins
THE FENCER
Klaus Härö 
Official Site | Trailer 

93 minutes
Estonian, Russian 

Popular director Klaus Härö made this one with a lot of assistance from Estonia. Hopefully Oscar won't mind. It's about an inspirational swordsmen teacher in 1950s Estonian during the Soviet occupation

Not Selected:
The romantic war drama 
Wild Eye which takes place in the 1940s

France
3 Honorarys | 36 noms | 9 wins
TITLE
Director

France has one of the most robust film industries so they have an enormous amount of choice

UH OH
They have not been nominated since Un Prophete (2009), their longest dry spell of all time so the 10s are likely to replace the 90s as their worst Oscar decade (in the 1990s they received only 3 nominations a very low number for them but the pain was surely mitigated by Indochine's win... their last in this category) nearly a quarter century ago

Georgia
1 nom | 0 wins
TITLE
Director

Nominated for their first submission (A Chef in Love, 1996) but not again since. Pulled off a big surprise last year by making the finalist list. Can they do it twice in a row?

Germany
18 noms | 3 wins
LABYRINTH OF LIES
Giulio Ricciarelli
Official Site

SPC
US Release Sept 30th
Our Review

124 minutes
German

A lawyer investigates unpunished war crimes a generation after WW II. Scribble this down on your Strong Contenders list!

 

Greece
5 noms | 0 wins
XENIA
Panos H Koutras
Official Site  

134 minutes
Greek 

Greece used to be predictable with automatic submissions based on festival wins but that has changed.  Xenia is a colorful wild LGBT film about brothers searching for their father after their mother passes away. Oscar rarely nominates gay films in this category but there's always hoping

Guatemala
never nominated
IXCANUL VOLCANO
Jayro Bustamante
Official Site

100 minutes
Spanish 

This film is about a 17 year old girl who lives near the active volcano and dreams of seeing the city.

Hong Kong
2 noms | 0 wins
TITLE
Director

I'm currently predicting the Aaron Kwok police drama Port of Call but who knows

Hungary
8 noms | 1 win
SON OF SAUL
László Nemes
Official Site

SPC
US Release Dec 18th
 

107 minutes
Hungarian, German, Polish, Yiddish

A man working the furnace in Auschwitz thinks he sees his own son in the flames. SPC has made it clear that they're really behind this one so expect a ton of campaigning.

Iceland
1 nom | 0 wins
TITLE
Director

Iceland has two films premiering at TIFF this year Sparrows and Rams (which already too a prize at Cannes) so watch out for those. I suspect it'll be Rams which is about elderly estranged brothers

 

India
3 noms | 0 wins
TITLE
director

Synopsis

Indonesia
never nominated
TITLE
Director

Synopsis

Iran
2 noms | 1 win
TITLE
director

Synopsis

Iraq
never nominated
MEMORIES ON STONE
Shawkat Amin Korki
Official Site 

93 minutes
Kurdish

This is a historical drama about two friends investigatin the genocide of Kurdish people in Iraq back in 1988. It won the Best Film From the Arab World at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival

Ireland
never nominated
TITLE
DIRECTOR

Ireland has only submitted three times but twice this decade so be on the lookout

 

Israel
10 noms | 0 wins
TITLE
director

Synopsis

Italy
28 noms | 11 wins | 3 honoraries
TITLE
Director

Oscar's favorite country in this category (for wins). This seems to be a battle between festival favorite Mia Madre from Nanni Morretti and Marco Bellochio's upcoming Blood of My Blood. Neither of those directors have been Oscar nominated though they've been submitted before.

Japan
12 noms | 1 win | 3 honoraries
100 YEN LOVE
Masaharu Take
Official Site | Trailer

113 minutes
Japanese 

This is a family comedy about a shut-in daughter who decides to move out of her parent's home

Not Selected:
Hirokazu Koreeda's
Our Little Sister -they've only sent him once for Nobody Knows (2004) but Japan often ignores their arthouse exports when submitting for some reason

Kazakhstan
1 nom | 0 wins
STRANGER
Ermek Tursunov
Official Site 

??? minutes
Kazakh 

a young man living off the land in the Steppes. This is playing at TIFF

Kosovo
2 nominations
TITLE
DIRECTOR

Synopsis

 

Kyrgyzstan
never nominated
TITLE
Director

Synopsis

Latvia
never nominated
TITLE
Director

Their choices tend to be unpredictable and at the moment it's a big shrug as to what it could possibly be. Romeo & Juliet (?) from a twice submitted director Maris Martinson

Lebanon
never nominated
TITLE
Director

Lebanon has been submitting since 1978, but they skip years fairly regularly

Lithunia
never nominated
TITLE
Director

Lithuania began submitting in 2006 but hasn't made the finalist list yet Despite Oscar AND Lithuania's resistance to gay issues I'm going to predict the acclaimed Summer of Sangaile (a lesbian drama) though Dzong tells me Master and Tatyana is a safer choice

Luxembourg
never nominated
BABY (A)LONE
Donato Rotunno
Official Site | Trailer

??? minutes
Luxembourgish 

This is a youth drama, along the lines of thirteen about growing up too fast. Luxembourg began submitting in 1997 but so far no luck

 

Macedonia
1 nom | 0 wins
TITLE
Director

Their first entry Before the Rain (1994) was nominated but no favor since then

Malaysia
never nominated
TITLE
Director

Submitting irregularly since 2004

Malta
never nominated
TITLE
Director

They made their first submission last year. Will they continue?

Mauritania
1 nom | 0 wins
TITLE
Director

Mauritania's first submission last year Timbuktu was nominated - there's no film industry there so another submission is unlikely.

Mexico
8 noms | 0 wins
TITLE
Director

Submitting since 1957 and nearly every year - Mexico helpfully releases a very long list of finalist (15-20 deep) this year it's 14 films 600 Miles, Four Moons, Echo of the Mountain, Eddie Reynolds y Los Angeles de Acero, Elvira, One for the Road, Gloria, The Thin Yellow Line, La Tirisia, El Tiempo Suspendido, Tiempos Felices, Una Ultima Y Nos Vamos, A Separate Wind, Estrella Solitarias... none of which seem to have high profiles internationally

 

Moldova
never nominated
TITLE
director

Synopsis

Montenegro
never nominated
TITLE
Director

Synopsis


 

Morocco
never nominated
TITLE
director

Submitting since 1977, annually since 2011 when they made the finalist list (but not the nominations) with Omar Killed Me

Nepal
1 nom | 0 wins
TITLE
DIRECTOR

They submit irregularly but were nominated on their first try for Caravan (1999)

The Netherlands
7 noms | 3 wins
TITLE
DIRECTOR

Dutch cinema has been making the finalist list but not the nominations fairly regularly of late. I'm excited to learn that a previous winner of this category, Mike Van Diem (Character, 1997) has finally made a second film. It's called The Surprise. If it's as memorable as his first, expect it to be submitted

 

 CONTINUE ON TO...

HQ - Predictions and Trivia
PART 1 Afghanistan to Estonia - 4 Official Submissions Thus Far
PART 3 New Zealand to Vietnam - 8 Official Submissions Thus Far