Back to IndieWire

Updated: 83 Foreign Language Oscar Contenders and Frontrunners

Updated: 83 Foreign Language Oscar Contenders and Frontrunners

The number of countries submitting for the foreign language Oscar keeps going up; all with different ways of picking and choosing. Last year saw 76 entrants. Following the October 1 submission deadline, the Academy has released the final tally of a whopping 83 foreign language submissions for the 2014 Oscar, a record by a mile. Malta, Mauritania and Panama are among the first-time countries.
But there are clear frontrunners that stick out from the pack, films that benefit from increased visibility in NY and LA with private Academy screenings and New York Film Festival play. We’re not betting the farm yet, but Cannes winners “Force Majeure” and Russia’s Putin-bashing pickLeviathan,” along with Marion Cotillard starrer “Two Days, One Night,” Argentine comedy hitWild Tales” and recent NYFF entry “Timbuktu” all stand tall.

There is of course Xavier Dolan’s “Mommy” playing like gangbusters in his native Canada. The B&W Polish drama “Ida,” an arthouse sleeper hit that hit theaters much earlier in the year,” has also gained a lot of traction, and will be a critics’ favorite. The rest of these leading contenders have yet to open theatrically but will this Fall.

The Philippines opted to submit “Norte, The End of History,” a crowning, four-hour work from one of its key directors. Lav Diaz’s Dostoyevskian epic played Cannes in 2013, and has been traveling the fest circuit since. 

Italy harbors high hopes after the great success of 2014 Foreign Language winner “The Great Beauty,” submitting Paolo Virzì’s “Human Capital.” Meanwhile France believes in Bertrand Bonello’s colorful Yves Saint Laurent biopic set in the Paris fashion world starring Gaspard Ulliel, “Saint Laurent.” The film was a Palme d’Or contender at Cannes and recently played (rather flatly) at the New York Film Festival.

Iran‘s committee, meanwhile, selected Reza Mirkarimi’s two-hander romance “Today.” Israel submitted Oscar Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz’s marriage/divorce drama “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem,” which won Best Picture at the Ophir Awards. Music Box will open stateside next year on February 13. 

Belgium‘s “Two Days One Night” stars Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard (“La Vie en Rose”) as a woman fighting to keep her job over the course of a weekend. Belgium has submitted three Dardenne brothers films that were not nominated for the Oscar, but their latest realist drama is a serious contender.

Mexico has, of course, selected its recent US box office hit “Cantinflas” — about famed comic actor Mario Moreno — for Foreign Oscar contention.

Ukraine has submitted “The Guide,” to the chagrin of “The Tribe” director Miroslav Slaboshpitsky, who feels his film better represents the nation. He also claims that three members of “The Guide”‘s production team were involved in the nomination. More on that controversy here.

Japan has launched “The Light Shines Only There,” from director Mipo Oh, into the race. Japan won the foreign Oscar in 2009 with “Departures” and is eyeing the prize once again. More on “The Light” here.

Georgia has submitted the almost-wordless Karlovy Vary favorite “Corn Island.” It’s directed by Giorgi Ovashvili.

Norway has entered Bent Hamer’s “1001 Grams” into the 2015 race. While the film has not yet premiered in Norway, it played in the Masters sidebar at TIFF. This is Hamer’s third submission, including “Kitchen Stories” (2003) and “O’Horten” (2007). “1001 Grams” stars Ane Dahl-Torp as a workaholic scientist who finds love in Paris.

The Netherlands has submitted true crime drama “Accused,” from Paula van der Oest, while Alberto Arvelo’s $50 million Simon Bolivar epic “The Liberator” will represent Venezuela.

Sweden‘s official entry is Magnolia’s black comedy psychodrama “Force Majeure,” the fourth feature for writer-director Ruben Östlund and the second of his films to be submitted (2009’s “Happy Sweden” aka “Involuntary”). “Force Majeure” won the Jury Prize in Un Certain Regard at Cannes and will be released in New York and Los Angeles on October 24.

Magnolia will also be handling Cannes Un Certain Regard prize winner “White God” — a canine-centered film that also won the Palm Dog award.

The full list of official foreign Oscar contenders is below

  • Afghanistan, “A Few Cubic Meters of Love,” Jamshid Mahmoudi, director
  • Argentina, “Wild Tales,” Damián Szifrón, director;

    Australia, “Charlie’s Country,” Rolf de Heer, director

  • Austria, “The Dark Valley,” Andreas Prochaska, director
  • Azerbaijan, “Nabat,” Elchin Musaoglu, director
  • Bangladesh, “Glow of the Firefly,” Khalid Mahmood Mithu, director
  • Belgium, “Two Days, One Night,” Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne, directors
  • Bolivia, “Forgotten,” Carlos Bolado, director
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina, “With Mom,” Faruk Lončarevič, director
  • Brazil, “The Way He Looks,” Daniel Ribeiro, director
  • Bulgaria, “Bulgarian Rhapsody,” Ivan Nitchev, director
  • Canada, “Mommy,” Xavier Dolan, director
  • Chile, “To Kill a Man,” Alejandro Fernández Almendras, director
  • China, “The Nightingale,” Philippe Muyl, director
  • Colombia, “Mateo,” María Gamboa, director
  • Costa Rica, “Red Princesses,” Laura Astorga Carrera, director
  • Croatia, “Cowboys,” Tomislav Mršić, director
  • Cuba, “Conducta,” Ernesto Daranas Serrano, director
  • Czech Republic, “Fair Play,” Andrea Sedláčková, director
  • Denmark, “Sorrow and Joy,” Nils Malmros, director
  • Dominican Republic, “Cristo Rey,” Leticia Tonos, director
  • Ecuador, “Silence in Dreamland,” Tito Molina, director
  • Egypt, “Factory Girl,” Mohamed Khan, director
  • Estonia, “Tangerines,” Zaza Urushadze, director
  • Ethiopia, “Difret,” Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, director
  • Finland, “Concrete Night,” Pirjo Honkasalo, director
  • France, “Saint Laurent,” Bertrand Bonello, director
  • Georgia, “Corn Island,” George Ovashvili, director
  • Germany, “Beloved Sisters,” Dominik Graf, director
  • Greece, “Little England,” Pantelis Voulgaris, director
  • Hong Kong, “The Golden Era,” Ann Hui, director
  • Hungary, “White God,” Kornél Mundruczó, director
  • Iceland, “Life in a Fishbowl,” Baldvin Zophoníasson, director
  • India, “Liar’s Dice,” Geetu Mohandas, director
  • Indonesia, “Soekarno,” Hanung Bramantyo, director
  • Iran, “Today,” Reza Mirkarimi, director
  • Iraq, “Mardan,” Batin Ghobadi, director
  • Ireland, “The Gift,” Tom Collins, director
  • Israel, “Gett, the Trial of Viviane Amsalem,” Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz, directors
  • Italy, “Human Capital,” Paolo Virzì, director
  • Japan, “The Light Shines Only There,” Mipo O, director
  • Kosovo, “Three Windows and a Hanging,” Isa Qosja, director
  • Kyrgyzstan, “Kurmanjan Datka Queen of the Mountains,” Sadyk Sher-Niyaz, director
  • Latvia, “Rocks in My Pockets,” Signe Baumane, director
  • Lebanon, “Ghadi,” Amin Dora, director
  • Lithuania, “The Gambler,” Ignas Jonynas, director
  • Luxembourg, “Never Die Young,” Pol Cruchten, director
  • Macedonia, “To the Hilt,” Stole Popov, director
  • Malta, “Simshar,” Rebecca Cremona, director
  • Mauritania, “Timbuktu,” Abderrahmane Sissako, director
  • Mexico, “Cantinflas,” Sebastián del Amo, director
  • Moldova, “The Unsaved,” Igor Cobileanski, director
  • Montenegro, “The Kids from the Marx and Engels Street,” Nikola Vukčević, director
  • Morocco, “The Red Moon,” Hassan Benjelloun, director
  • Nepal, “Jhola,” Yadav Kumar Bhattarai, director
  • Netherlands, “Accused,” Paula van der Oest, director
  • New Zealand, “The Dead Lands,” Toa Fraser, director
  • Norway, “1001 Grams,” Bent Hamer, director
  • Pakistan, “Dukhtar,” Afia Nathaniel, director
  • Palestine, “Eyes of a Thief,” Najwa Najjar, director
  • Panama, “Invasion,” Abner Benaim, director
  • Peru, “The Gospel of the Flesh,” Eduardo Mendoza, director
  • Philippines, “Norte, the End of History,” Lav Diaz, director
  • Poland, “Ida,” Paweł Pawlikowski, director
  • Portugal, “What Now? Remind Me,” Joaquim Pinto, director
  • Romania, “The Japanese Dog,” Tudor Cristian Jurgiu, director
  • Russia, “Leviathan,” Andrey Zvyagintsev, director
  • Serbia, “See You in Montevideo,” Dragan Bjelogrlić, director
  • Singapore, “Sayang Disayang,” Sanif Olek, director
  • Slovakia, “A Step into the Dark,” Miloslav Luther, director
  • Slovenia, “Seduce Me,” Marko Šantić, director
  • South Africa, “Elelwani,” Ntshavheni Wa Luruli, director
  • South Korea, “Haemoo,” Shim Sung-bo, director
  • Spain, “Living Is Easy with Eyes Closed,” David Trueba, director
  • Sweden, “Force Majeure,” Ruben Östlund, director
  • Switzerland, “The Circle,” Stefan Haupt, director
  • Taiwan, “Ice Poison,” Midi Z, director
  • Thailand, “The Teacher’s Diary,” Nithiwat Tharathorn, director
  • Turkey, “Winter Sleep,” Nuri Bilge Ceylan, director
  • Ukraine, “The Guide,” Oles Sanin, director
  • United Kingdom, “Little Happiness,” Nihat Seven, director
  • Uruguay, “Mr. Kaplan,” Álvaro Brechner, director
  • Venezuela, “The Liberator,” Alberto Arvelo, director.


This Article is related to: Awards and tagged , , , , , , ,