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2016 Oscar Predictions: Best Foreign Language Film

2016 Oscar Predictions: Best Foreign Language Film

READ MORE: Indiewire Awards Season Spotlight 

Hungary’s “Son of Saul” — which won the Grand Prix at Cannes — definitely seems like the film to beat here. Mind you, this category is notoriously unpredictable, so calling anything the “frontrunner” here needs to carefully considered. Though “Saul” is certainly the most honored film of the bunch, watch out for a potential dark horse.

Below is Anne Thompson’s take on how things might shake down in the race for best foreign language film. Check out Thompson on Hollywood’s Oscar predictions page for more awards season analysis. Click here for more category breakdowns on Indiewire.

“Mustang” (France)
“Theeb” (Jordan)
“Son of Saul” (Hungary)
“Embrace the Serpent” (Colombia)
“A War” (Denmark) 

Predicted Winner: “Son of Saul”
Potential Spoiler: “Mustang”

WINNER: “Son of Saul”

For more insight into the 2016 awards season, visit the Indiewire Awards Season Spotlight homepage here.

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The movie: "Embrace the serpent", is without a doubt the more natural and beautiful foreign movie. The Native American actors from The Inirida River region of Guania near Orinoco and Amazonas River in Colombia

Lenin Rodriguez

In my opinion,"Embrace the Serpent" has all the requirements to win an Oscar!


Mustang is the most overrated thing ever on Earth. (I am from Turkey.)


The Embrace of the Serpent brings up a fresh approach to an always forgotten tragedy. Let´s a new breath run across the seventh art….


Theeb is an entry from the Middle East/Jordan . Such s movie should be given a chance to win an Oscar to reflect the support of the world to peace in this troubled region.


Heneral Luna has nominate FYI


If we are talking about ethnicity and nature..this is the one. Embrace of the Serpent.

Dex Ancel

I think Colombia’s is the best, but due to Hungary’s movie’s about the Holocaust i think Hungary will win. Potential spoiler could be Denmark btw!


"Embrace of the Serpent" from Colombia or "Son of Saul" from Hungary


A War is a powerful movie. Powerful acting


All the are great but I think theeb should win. They created a whole new thing :-) and its one of the first films to be produced in Jordan.


Can the Academy recognize a movie focused on women’s pleasure and sexuality? They snubbed Carol, not nominating it for best picture? I fear Mustang could lose on these grounds. Can the white men in the Academy appreciate a strong, gorgeous film focused on WOMEN?? Let’s see.

Tomáš Zelenka

Amelia: Lobster is not foreign language movie. And I don’t think it was eligible this year.

This category was unpredictable before they changed rules for voting. Now you can vote without seeing the movie which means, that usually the movie with most buzz wins.


where is Greece the lobster is the most amazing film! Lanthimos should win it for his direction!


Mustang is amazing! It deserves this win


"The Fencer" made in Estonia!


David Oelhoffen’s FAR FROM MEN….?

Oscar Rodriguez

I highly recomend the Dominican Republic choice, "Dolares en Arena" .

Kenny Carrillo

I really like Son of Saul but I feel like Mustang could take the prize…


I watched "The Second Mother", from Brazil. I could not watch it for more than 5 minutes. The sound is horrible, the acting very amateur, cinematography- arcaic, caracters don´t convince, etc., etc.,


What about Lambs for foreign film that won Un certain Regard at Cannes?

Vasavi Pandey

India just a released a stellar movie: Bajirao Mastani. It’s looking promising at most Indian Movie Awards, I would give that a try.


Son of Saul is a real masterpiece and I think this movie deserves to win the prize.


I trust that they should consider’Worlds Apart’ from Greece.


A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence" will be in the official selection. Mark my words


"Aferim!" (Romania) is a great film and should get an Oscar nom. It’s a very funny ‘western’ in b&w set in 19th century Wallachia. It’s about slavery in Europe, a topic most people don’t know about…an important and unique film. Otherwise I like "Rams", the film from Iceland. And "Embrace of the Serpant" from Colombia. The German entry "Labyrinth of Lies" is interesting, but too conventional. The Austrian entry "Goodnight Mommy" is just a horror genre pic. The Norwegian entry "The Wave" is just a disaster movie. Those are not worthy.


1. "Son of Saul" (Hungary)
2. "Mustang" (France)
3. "Goodnight Mommy" (Austria)
4. "The Second Mother" (Brazil)
5. "The Club" (Chile)

will win: "Son of Saul" (Hungary)
should win: "The Second Mother" (Brazil) or "Goodnight Mommy" (Austria)


Sim, André, sou brasileiro.. hehehe


What about Court (INDIA)?
It won 18 International Awards including two awards at Venice Film Festival.

Vince Rod

I think Philippines’ Heneral Luna could also be taken into consideration. Just my opinion tho.


The Second Mother is The best, and you’re being Brazilian, Marcelo, aren’t you?


where can i watch them?
@MONDE: where did you watch them?


One of the movies you shouldn`t miss… "Enclave" from Serbia….


A War – Denmark Pilou Asbæk is so good!

almighty lord of costumes

may the 2nd mother (brazil) finally get a nomination


Was The High Sun (Zvizdan) ever considered for this list?

nazrul dath

kakka muttai from india


"The Second Mother" is the best. "Labyrinth of Lies" second. "Son of Saul" is the new "Ida": can win the award for fame, but it is not cool.


what about india’s entry COURT? how about its chances?


Accurate updated predictions but I think you overlooked 4 dark horses: Thailand, Dominican Republic, Greece and Serbia. They are very strong thematic films and can pull a surprise. They play in many prediction sites as well.


Are any of these films watchable? VOD? iTunes?


How about "Moor" the mother from Pakistan ?

Hector Menchaca

Gueros is entry for Mexico? basically gueros is not just a good foreign movie, it’s one of the best movies recently.


The Second Mother, ftom Brazil, is The best of the year.

Jorge Lozano

I think you overlooked Aferim of Romania as well as Croatia’s The High Sun, I think they’re chances are pretty good.


And where is The Clan from Argentina?


Peter recheck the 81 submissions films. There is no Wold Totem, it was disqualified by "Go away Mr Tumor".


The Second Mother, Brazil deserves to win!!


The Second Mother (Brazil) is amazing, very emotional and beautiful.


I also forgot another stunning film from a never nominated country: Guatemala!


Some time, Oscars should nominate or shortlist not only their favourites sash factor countries but others as well. Portugal, South Korea and Philippines (along with Egypt but this year this country didn’t submit a film) have the biggest number of "lost" submissions although many times in the past they sent beautiful films. This year all three of them could be strong contenders and could finally nominate for the first time. Along with them other "virgin" countries that sent strong films this year and can pull a breakthrough are Colombia (THE BIG FAVOURITE from "virgin" countries), Ethiopia, Jordan (frontrunner), Iraq, Croatia, and the beautiful LGBTQI films from Thailand, Dominican Republic and Lithuania. From the other countries that have placed before I find interesting and fair choices Chile, Greece, Serbia, Brazil, India, Ivory Coast, the first Basques speaking submission Spain and a country that sent a genre that Academy awards overlook all the time: Austria (which sent a psychological horror film).


Zvizdan (High Sun) Croatia -several Awards including Cannes

Gerard Kennelly

a music teacher living in Paris who is battling a malignant tumor. Convinced that her days are numbered, she decides to return to Morocco to reconnect with her roots and regain forgotten childhood memories

Gerard Kennelly

Under the weather after hearing that she’s started the menopause early, and locked into an unfulfilled marriage, construction site office worker Anne starts to receive flowers from a secret admirer

Gerard Kennelly

A lottery ticket hawker fends off lecherous millionaires, fast-talking ex-cons, and jealous housewives to make a living for her and her daughter
she sets aside a ticket as an IOU for a long time customer
but when it hits the major jackpot she must decide whether or not to keep it

Gerard Kennelly

the ones that Hollywood should remake are..

The Second Mother
When the estranged daughter of a hard-working live-in housekeeper suddenly appears, the unspoken class barriers that exist within the home are thrown into disarray.

The Club
A crisis counselor is sent by the Catholic Church to a small Chilean beach town where disgraced priests and nuns, suspected of abuse live secluded

Go Away Mr. Tumor
An imaginative woman copes with cancer by remaining optimistic and spending time with her friends

A young girl starts a secret friendship with a prison inmate

Early summer. Lilly and her four sisters are walking home from school, playing innocently with some boys. The immorality of their play sets off a scandal that has unexpected consequences

16-year-old Danny and 18-year-old Odysseus cross the entire country in search of their father, after their mother passes away

To the Fore
In the sun-drenched Southern Taiwanese city of Kaoshiung, three friends, Ji-won, Ming and Tian all cycle for their second-tier team

a teenage boy who, besides dealing with the regular perils of adolescence, developes a destructive gambling addiction. His mother has given up on him

The Summer of Sangaile
a canteen worker at the local power plant, sells a raffle ticket to Sangaile a tall, slender 17-year-old spending the summer at her family’s lake house. The attraction movies quickly from mild crush to all-consuming infatuation

Honey Night
a family and political drama focused on the night a senior government minister and his wife mark their 10th wedding anniversary

600 Miles
Roberto smuggles weapons for a deadly Mexican cartel. an ATF agent attempts to apprehend him, but gets kidnapped. Roberto will take him to his bosses, but during the 600-miles-long drive, they slowly befriend

You Carry Me
a tomboy schoolgirl with a fierce love of soccer has a complex relationship with her father, a petty criminal newly returned to his family after years on the run. Tension crackles at home as Dora’s mother loses patience with his shady lifestyle, demanding that he either finds honest work or leaves the family for good

a music teacher living in Paris who is battling a malignant tumor. Convinced that her days are numbered, she decides to return to Morocco to reconnect with her roots and regain forgotten childhood memories

a forensic team struggles to identify a body exhumed from a mass grave

a policeman is hired by a local noble to find a Gypsy slave who ran away from the after having an affair with his wife. He sets out to find the fugitive

Under the weather after hearing that she’s started the menopause early, and locked into an unfulfilled marriage, construction site office worker Anne starts to receive flowers from a secret admirer

A lottery ticket hawker fends off lecherous millionaires, fast-talking ex-cons, and jealous housewives to make a living for her and her daughter
she sets aside a ticket as an IOU for a long time customer
but when it hits the major jackpot she must decide whether or not to keep it


There are gonna be many changes with the official submissions announced today. China’s big favourite Wolf totem was removed by "Go away Mr Tumor", Panama was disqualified and Algeria, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Australia, Singapore and United Kingdom are also in the game.


Chile, Colombia, Brazil and maybe Argentina have great contenders.


You put too high Netherlands and Switzerland. Netherlands don’t seem so strong in this competitive year and documentaries rare place in Foreign Language Film category, so the Iraqi documentary of 162 minutes that represents Switzerland doesn’t have so many possibilities. Instead of them, the Iraqi fiction film, the Serbian about Serbians in Kosovo, the Oscar favourite Argentina with a similar topic as their "Secret in their eyes" and also Asia with Philippines, South Korea, Jordan, India (with a not common Bolywood topic) and the superproduction from Iran are frontrunners. Moreover, all the LGBTQI films are strong this year. Not only the Lithuanian and the Cuban that represents Ireland but also Greece, Thailand and Dominican Republic are big favourites. At last but not least you put Chile too low.


Ixcanul is my favorite with 19 international awards, including the Alfred Bauer Silver Bear at the Berlinale.


Looking forward to seeing several foreign language entries. Any tips? Palm Springs International Film Festival was enriching and a big kick. Asking for tips, please


Guatemala! Beuatiful.


Embrace of the Serpent*

Aaron Paul Stewart

Where in god’s name is Dheepan?


The Second Mother, Goodnight Mommy, Son of Saul, The Clan, Labrynth of Lies


A War from Denmark and The Clan from Argentina are also strong contenders.


LOREAK (Pays Basque/Spain)


Absolutily, The Second Mother.


Heneral Luna from the Philippines will surprise you!!


Watch out for the Philippine entry "Heneral Luna."


The best foreign-language film I saw this year is definitely the Icelandic RAMS – winner in Cannes, Transilvania, screened in Telluride, Toronto, Karlovy Vary, sold all over the world – amazing, touching story about two brothers coming together to save their sheep.


What about "the Idol" by Hany Abu Assad? His past two movies (Omar and Paradise Now) have been nominated for foreign language oscars.


It’s going to be László Nemes’ Son of Saul or Labyrinth of Lies, no lock, just great contenders, too.


Malaysian submission can be in the league for the Oscar, watch "Men Who Save the World"


Please make a review of Heneral Luna of Philippines, it was announced last Tuesday to be Philippines’ entry.


I think The Clan from Argentina is a good contender. Maybe Paulina (cannes and fripresci winner).

Soham Gadre

Needs to be updated. India is sending COURT, winner of the Orizzonti prize at Venice Film Festival. Selection in TIFF. Currently has a 100% on rottentomatoes from 25 critics.

Renan Maia

Brasil! Brazil!


Hope the second mother get leading actress too.


The Second mother " the best movie of the year!!!


brazil’s the second mother is the best!


I totally agree with Marcelo.


Court was brilliant. Should easily be on the list.

Kris R

Court (India) should be on this list as a contender. Good film.


In order to add some fresh air to Peter´s opinion…
I would suggest "Loreak". The basque film needs to be taken into account.


The Second Mother (Brazil) is the best!


What about Ixcanul volcano. Won silver bear at berlinale, had 5 screenings in telluride and is gatherîg prizees everywhere it goes.


I’ve already watched the entry of Austria, Germany, Greece, Japan, Jordan, Philippines, and Sweden.. Love them all


I think you should consider Pablo Trapero’s THE CLAN. Made quite an impression (and was an honourable mention winner at Toronto’s TIFF).

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