Saturday, November 26, 2022

The 2020 Oscar Submissions For Best International Feature Film

By Will Mavity 

After two years of International Feature Oscar races that felt locked up from the word go due to the presence of Best Picture Nominees “Roma” and “Parasite,” this year presents an unpredictable and wide-open Oscar field. And with the submission deadline ending today, we now know our entries in this year’s race.

The Academy’s restrictive process of selecting international film contenders has made this year’s race even more inscrutable. Each country is allowed to submit one film for Oscar consideration. Every year, this process leads to surprises. Last year, France raised eyebrows when they chose to submit “Les Misérables” instead of “Portrait of a Lady on Fire.” This year, many countries have defied expectations, choosing to submit smaller films over ones that many predicted to be significant awards players. Mexico opted to submit “I’m No Longer Here” over Sundance Next! Award Winner “I Carry You with Me” and Venice Silver Lion winner “New Order.” Italy opted for the documentary “Notturno” instead of Netflix’s Sophia Loren-led Best Actress contender “The Life Ahead.” India picked the action film “Jallikattu” over Venice FIREPRESCI winner “The Disciple.”

All of the un-submitted films above were perceived as major contenders for nominations or even wins in the category. Their absence in favor of documentaries and genre films portends an unusual year for the category open to unorthodox contenders. 

After “Honeyland” made history last year as the first Documentary to be nominated for both International Film and Documentary Feature, many countries have followed suit. Where once it was an anomaly to see documentaries submitted in this category, this year, the submissions from Brazil, Chile, Italy, Kenya, Luxembourg, Romania, and Venezuela are all documentaries. Romania’s submission “Collective,” in particular, is viewed as a formidable contender in both categories due to its timeliness.

In addition to a large presence of documentaries, several genre films are in play this year. As mentioned earlier, India’s submission “Jallikattu” is an action film. Guatemala, Indonesia, and Malaysia have all submitted horror films (“La Llorona,” “Impetigore,” and “Roh” respectively.) South Korea’s “The Man Standing Next” is a ’70s-esque political surveillance thriller. Greece’s “Apples” and Ukraine’s “Atlantis” are both sci-fi. 

What’s more, all or most of the above seem like viable contenders in the absence of many runaways. Thus far, the only “sure thing” seems to be Denmark’s “Another Round,” which won the Audience Award at the London Film Festival and has already racked up a slew of European Film Nominations. Due to its high-profile director and star combo (“The Hunt’s” Thomas Vinterberg and Mads Mikkelsen teaming up again), and effective publicity from distributor Samuel Goldwyn, it seems poised to be a big contender. Another buzzy title is Bosnia and Herzegovina’s “Quo Vadis, Aida?” which earned raves at Venice and Toronto. It has yet to land a distributor and needs an effective campaign to keep its momentum going, though.

Mexico’s “I’m No Longer Here” is being pushed heavily by Guillermo Del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón. It also has Netflix campaigning it – a streamer that has the funds to keep it in voter’s minds. Ivory Coast’s “Night of the Kings” is visually dynamic and won the Amplify award at Toronto and has been acquired by Neon. Neon’s track record with international films in light of “Parasite” needs no explanation. In that vein, Neon also has Russia’s “Dear Comrades,” which received a Special Jury Prize at Venice. “Charlatan,” the Czech Republic’s submission is worth keeping an eye on as well. It is directed by Agnieszka Holland, an Oscar nominee for writing “Europa, Europa” and the director of the 2010 International Film Nominee, “In Darkness.” Finally, Switzerland’s “My Little Sister” is a film that apparently makes everyone cry, and that can certainly never hurt. 

In short, in the absence of a “Parasite” or “Roma,” this is a wide-open, unusual field. You can’t go wrong predicting anything at this point. Although, ignore “Another Round” at your peril. Check out our latest Oscar Predictions here. What do you think the five nominees will be?

​Here is the full list of submitted films for this year’s Best International Feature race:

Albania
Open Door

Algeria
Heliopolis

Argentina
The Sleepwalkers

Armenia
Songs of Solomon

Austria
What We Wanted

Bangladesh
Sincerely Yours, Dhaka

Belarus
Persian Lessons

Belgium
Working Girls

Bhutan
Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

Bolivia
Chaco

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Quo Vadis, Aida?

Brazil
Babenco: Tell Me When I Die

Bulgaria
The Father

Canada
Funny Boy

Chile
The Mole Agent

Colombia
Forgotten We’ll Be

Costa Rica
Land of Ashes

Croatia
Extracurricular

Czechia
Charlatan

Denmark
Another Round

Dominican Republic
State of Madness

Ecuador
Vacio

Egypt
When We’re Born

Estonia
The Last Ones

Finland
Tove

France
Two of Us

Georgia
Beginning

Germany
And Tomorrow the Entire World

Greece
Apples

Guatemala
La Llorona

Hong Kong
Better Days

Hungary
Preparations To Be Together For An Unknown Period Of Time

Iceland
Agnes Joy

India
Jallikattu

Indonesia
Impetigore

Iran
Sun Children

Ireland
Arracht

Israel
Asia

Italy
Notturno

Ivory Coast
Night of the Kings

Japan
True Mothers

Jordan
200 Meters

Kenya
The Letter

Kosovo
Exile

Kyrgyzstan
Running to the Sky

Latvia
Blizzard of Souls

Lebanon
Broken Keys

Lesotho
This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection

Lithuania
Nova Lituania

Luxembourg
River Tales

Malaysia
Roh

Mexico
I’m No Longer Here

Montenegro
Breasts

Morocco
The Unknown Saint

Netherlands
Buladó

North Macedonia
Willow

Norway
Hope

Pakistan
Zindagi Tamasha

Palestine
Gaza mon amour

Panama
Operación Cause Justa

Peru
Song Without a Name

Philippines
Mindanao

Poland
Never Gonna Snow Again

Portugal
Listen

Romania
Collective

Russia
Dear Comrades!

Serbia
Dara in Jasenovac

Singapore
Wet Season

Slovakia
The Auschwitz Report

Slovenia
Stories from the Chestnut Woods

South Africa
Toorbos

South Korea
The Man Standing Next

Spain
The Endless Trench

Sudan
You Will Die at Twenty

Suriname
Wiren

Sweden
Charter

Switzerland
My Little Sister

Thailand
Happy Old Year

Taiwan
A Sun

Tunisia
The Man Who Sold His Skin

Turkey
Miracle in Cell No. 7

Ukraine
Atlantis

Uruguay
Aleli

Uzbekistan
2000 Songs of Farida

Venezuela
Once Upon a Time in Venezuela

You can follow Will and hear more of his thoughts on the Oscars and Film on Twitter at @mavericksmovies

Will Mavity
Will Mavityhttps://nextbestpicture.com
Loves Awards Season, analyzing stats & conducting interviews. Hollywood Critics Association Member.

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