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by Peter Knegt
February 18, 2012 5:47 PM
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2012 Oscar Predictions: Best Foreign Language Film

"A Separation."
Indiewire will provide regular updates of our predictions for the 84th Academy Award winners through February 26th, when the winners are announced.

Given its universal acclaim, strong box office, a nomination in the original screenplay category and the fact that it's won pretty much every other foreign-language film award this year, one would assume it's in the bag for Iran's "A Separation." But making any assumption in this category is ill-advised. After all, "The Secret in Their Eyes" beat "A Prophet" in 2010.  "Depatures" beat "The Class" the year before. And back in 2002, "No Man's Land" beat "Ameile," even though it had four nominations in other categories.

That all said, given the political climate in Iran and the effect it's had on filmmakers from that country, sentiment is also on the side of "A Separation." So while betting against it is still not recommended, if there's any category where a favorite could fall, it's this one. Poland's "In Darkness" takes on standard Academy-friendly fare in its Holocaust theme, and would definitely be the one to beat it if anything does (they oddly share a U.S. distributor in Sony Pictures Classics -- as did "The Secret in Their Eyes" and "A Prophet"). We'll see come Oscar night.

Best foreign language film predictions below. Check out all predictions in all the categories here.

The Nominees:
Bullhead (Belgium)
Footnote (Israel)

In Darkness (Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
A Separation (Iran)

The Predicted Winner: A Separation (Iran)
The Possible Spoiler: In Darkness (Poland)
Shoulda Been Here: Miss Bala (Mexico)


  • Jessica | February 27, 2012 3:27 PMReply

    People!! We are talking about the movie here not about the nationalities, religion, politics, countries, BLA BLA.. grow up!!!!!! From my side. I would say A separation deserves an Oscar more than any other movies

  • freidoon Malek | February 27, 2012 8:33 AMReply

    Separation was not to saparate Iran from USA but to join them politically and em

    otionally and

  • ROBERT Hovakemian | February 27, 2012 8:08 AMReply

    Rock and Roll baby ... Am so happy for Iranian people I know they are talking about winning Oscar now all over Iran I can feel their Happy and Positive Energy all over myself even being far away in Dubai , Thank you Academy Award and more power to you ... Please Pull Your Love Everyone ... Robert Hovakemian

  • xx pl xx | February 26, 2012 7:40 PMReply

    go agnieszka go !

  • PersianGulf | February 26, 2012 6:52 PMReply


  • parvindokht sani | February 26, 2012 3:32 PMReply

    I believe the winner is A separation .Viva Farhadi!

  • farhad | February 26, 2012 2:01 AMReply

    viva a separation from iran

  • Ahmed Mohamed | February 25, 2012 1:34 PMReply

    I already know the result: The Oscar goes to Separation, Iran. الله أكبر

  • Jhon | February 22, 2012 6:29 PMReply

    "A Separation" is a favorite film for critics all over the world but I think it is not the movie that member of the academy like. I think the winner will be "In darkness" from Poland becuase it has the Holocaust theme.

  • michael | February 23, 2012 6:25 PM

    all those people who say "a separation" ...have you actually seen one of the other films? Bullhead is far more impressive

  • Beth | February 22, 2012 4:47 PMReply

    Bravo "Monsieur Lazhar," Bravo!

  • Alex | February 18, 2012 8:41 PMReply

    I just have watched A Separation and i think it's really good picture

  • Gertjan | February 17, 2012 4:35 PMReply

    Bullhead is my favourite.

  • fien | February 21, 2012 3:27 PM

    mine to!

  • joubran | February 16, 2012 5:56 PMReply

    Seperation should win.. But I think "Where do we go now?" (Lebanon) directed by Nadine Labaki should have atleast been nominated. Excellent movie and a must see!

  • John | February 13, 2012 4:17 PMReply

    Unlike last year, this year has been loaded with superb movies with A-list international filmmakers. It's unfortunate there is not a foolproof methodology for selecting the best movie not spoken in English. Of course "A Separation" should win. But how many times does the Oscar foreign language winner coincide with winners of previous film festivals/awards shows? It's not a slam dunk. That is why I would not be surprised at all if "Footnote" wins. If that happens, it would be the first time the winner of the foreign language category overshadowed the ceremony. It certainly wouldn't be a footnote if it won;it would be a headliner. Still, I hope everyone would see "A Separation" because not since "The Lives of Others" has a film of any language had such impact----and that's not the best movie to come out of a rich tradition of filmmaking!! Let's just hope the presenter is Shohreh Agdashloo;then we'll have a moment similar to Sophia Loren or Penelope Cruz. If not, I'll settle for Max von Sydow.

    Memo to ALI ASGHAR HEIDARI: why the hate? It's not working. But at least we know who you are. You can stop now.

    Have a nice day, everyone.

  • hadi | February 13, 2012 12:33 PMReply

    Oscar reward is only for The Seperation of Nader & Simin.only only & only

  • Milad | February 13, 2012 3:57 AMReply

    a seperation will win for sure...

  • Mehrdadiii | February 11, 2012 6:38 AMReply

    A Separation is the most awarded movie of the year...!
    IndieWire chose it as the second best film of the year (just after The tree of life)...
    It will win because its a masterpiece and also because it fully deserves to win...

  • Jack P. | February 9, 2012 11:16 AMReply

    "Elite Squad 2" (Brazil) for the should've been nominated...
    "A Separation" for the win.

  • bahrum | February 8, 2012 10:23 PMReply

    yes everyone says is political but you know you all make it political because pepole of you harrison sorry had to tell you this that's why our country don't get a long is just a movie watch it and keep your politics to your polititions ok.

  • harrison | February 8, 2012 4:08 AMReply

    We are going to have a war of attrition here: Separation (Iran) vs. In Darkness (Poland), probably the latter winning by the skin of their teeth...

  • joe | February 7, 2012 3:58 AMReply

    I like" so close so far" ,I think director name was Karimi( 4 or 5 years ago,I'm not sure I see that a dvd ).Very greater than this movie .why didn't nominated in that year ?this year become political .surely other movies are greater than your prediction.

  • light | February 7, 2012 3:46 AMReply

    I agree with Frans Spouwer about political. I think Monsieur Lazhar and bullhead are great. one of them should be winner .

  • sanaz | February 7, 2012 2:31 AMReply

    a separation is a masterpiece and deserves to win an oscar!

  • Frans Spouwer | February 6, 2012 9:06 AMReply

    Bullhead is the best one,
    A Seperation is going to win because it's political and Hollywood loves that.

  • Jessica | February 27, 2012 3:16 PM

    you gotta watch it more carefully. i would agree with you by watching the trials but after watching the film.. I was like WOWWWWWW. A SEPARATION will and should win.. I also got very interested in visiting Iran once. If possible :)

  • Mehrdadiii | February 11, 2012 6:36 AM

    That actually is the worst comment Ive heard abt success of "A Separation"
    That really is a shame...! how could you judge it as political thing...!
    havent you really followed the critic's awards...! A separation has already won the

  • Meg | February 5, 2012 5:19 PMReply

    "In darkness" is a masterpiece! And - based on a true story...

  • Alex | February 3, 2012 4:00 AMReply

    Before this week I would have said, and supported, that A Separation was going to win (and before the nominations were released I would have bet on The Skin I Live In--quite unfortunate that it didn't get a nomination, but then again, I am partial to Almodóvar).

    Then on Sunday I saw Monsieur Lazhar. One of the most poignant films I have ever seen (to be hyperbolic). I am surprised that no one else has expressed their admiration, although I believe it has only been released in Canada and screened at a few festivals. And then there is the acting, from young children no less! And the cinematography. And the score.

    While I very much enjoyed A Separation, Monsieur Lazhar is on a completely different level. They both deserve the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film (many films do), but my choice is Monsieur Lazhar.

  • Mary | February 10, 2012 11:07 PM

    I agree with Alex. I also saw Monsieur Lazhar yesterday and haven't thought of anything else. The acting is great, the cinematography is stunning and the children tug at your heartstrings. Lots of nuances too: much of it shot against stark white snow, the desperation of a refugee claimant, teaching from the heart...too many to name but all contributing to such a poignant film. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for an upset :)

  • MAHYAR BRAD | February 2, 2012 3:27 PMReply

    you are right bogdan

  • Mali | February 2, 2012 5:56 AMReply

    Angelina Jolie's film should have been nominated. It was good enough to be in the company of these.

  • Bogdan | February 1, 2012 9:05 AMReply

    "The skin I live in" is the best non english film of the year - period.

  • Mali | February 2, 2012 5:57 AM

    You are quite right.

  • Yasin | January 31, 2012 12:22 PMReply

    Separation is winner , YESSSSSSS , only asghar farhadiiii...

  • cedric | January 31, 2012 12:10 PMReply

    what about bullhead ?

  • mohammad | January 30, 2012 2:13 PMReply

    a separation is the best every one knows that............
    the winner is a separation by asghar farhadi

  • sona | January 30, 2012 2:10 PMReply

    A SEPARATION is the winner yeeeeeeeeeeeees

  • Geek | January 30, 2012 1:48 AMReply

    Foreign Language Categories are notoriously unpredictable because to vote in it you must see all of the nominees. Because of that, the most recognizable nominee (A Separation) stands only as good of a chance as the others. That being said, it did get a screenplay nomination so that's definitely in its favor.

  • Dave | January 30, 2012 12:11 AMReply

    Let us be a bit frank. A SEPARATION has wiped out all the prizes so far. All the nominees are great, but many of them has submitted their films exactly where A SEPARATION had been submitted like Berlin, Golden Globe, LA and so on. What has happened if A SEPARATION does not gain Oscar?
    I am sure the Oscar juries will not invent a new scale for winner because Golden Globe juries has shown everything.

  • moein | January 29, 2012 3:02 PMReply

    with no doubt A SEPARATION

  • jack | January 29, 2012 12:04 PMReply


  • Dan | January 29, 2012 4:42 AMReply

    A Separation is an excellent film, but in my opinion FOOTNOTE is by far superior. Dealing with the father-son relationship on various and different levels, the result is a brilliantly told fascinating, poignant yet humorous story set on the backdrop of the Talmud department of Jerusalem's Hebrew University.

    Well worth seeing and I am sure it will win.

  • joe | January 28, 2012 4:19 AMReply

    In Darkness deserves this award more than any film.and I love miss wasn't fair.

  • amin 0111 | January 28, 2012 2:56 AMReply

    just A Separation

  • Mehdi | January 28, 2012 1:25 AMReply

    & the Oscar goes to "A Separation" from Iran

  • Nemebiax | January 27, 2012 8:52 PMReply

    A Separation is the most intelligent film I have seen in a long while. The screenplay is impeccable. Can´t say enough about the film. Just brilliant.

  • saber | January 27, 2012 3:44 PMReply

    i am sorry for ALI ASGHAR HEIDARI and EHSAN .
    a separation will win..

  • S.M.S.H | January 27, 2012 7:32 AMReply

    i think the movie "a seperation" is not only the best foreign language movie of this year but is also the greatest movie of this year for sure... it was magnificent

  • mahyar brad | January 26, 2012 5:34 PMReply

    & separation

  • mahyar | January 26, 2012 5:25 PMReply

    i liked the skin i live(spain)

  • pouria | January 26, 2012 8:08 AMReply

    A separation,of course

  • Clara | January 25, 2012 9:42 AMReply

    I haven't watched all the movies but one, so I'm not in place to predict who'll win. But according to critics and prices, I think 'A Seperation' will win. I've seen the trailer, and it looks a great movie. Monsieur Lazhar looks a bit cheesy, Footnote looks funny, In Darkness looks good, too. I've seen the movie Bullhead and I have to say it was a very captivating movie. When you read the synopsis, you think it's going to be a lame movie but it's not. It's very psychological, beautiful images, poetic, and Matthias Schoenaerts has delivered a GRAND job on portraying the main character. I don't doubt the other movies had good acting, but Schoenaert's performance is just way up high, of a class of which I don't believe many alive can do it today. Bullhead has won several awards abroad and in Belgium. The reason why it didn't participate at the Golden Globes, was because Belgium wanted to send the Dardennes (who got nominated as well at the Globes). Belgium had three choices this year of movies who were just fantastic. Pity you could only send one movie.

  • Tom | January 25, 2012 4:35 AMReply

    "a seperation" is a masterpiece , without exaggeration. It will win the best foreign language film Oscar , and perhaps the best writing(original screenplay).

  • AlirezA | January 25, 2012 2:58 AMReply

    "A separation" is the *best*...will be the Winner...

  • tony fernandez | January 24, 2012 9:13 PMReply

    What about The Woman on the 6th floor ... That was a terrific film

  • winonwin | January 24, 2012 5:36 PMReply

    In Darkness deserves this award more than any film. It is grand, subtle, beautiful and touching. Give it the Oscar!

  • LALA | January 24, 2012 11:33 PM

    WORNG! A Separation is brilliant. It is nominated for Best Original Screenplay and is, ART, the 3rd best film this year. (btw, ART is According to Rotten Tomatoes)

  • saeid | January 24, 2012 5:16 PMReply

    Just "A separation". Just Farhadi! I hope it wins.

  • ali asghar heidari | January 24, 2012 4:55 PMReply

    fuck to israel ... war to usa .... fuck the oscar....fuck because i am a iranian male and my country is isolated by usa and israel... thus i can just fuck them...and you HA HA HA HA

  • Joe Bernado | February 5, 2013 12:30 AM

    Truth is the best medicine and I'm sorry for the horror my country inflicts in the name of Democracy

  • Jessica | February 27, 2012 3:21 PM

    well, For what is worth this guy is not an Iranian. Who will insult others by introducing himself to be encountered with other people`l words!!! sorry for you guy

  • shir | February 27, 2012 11:51 AM

    as an israeli, i must say that i find your comment hilarious, and i feel sorry for you, and i feel sorry for all you nice Iranians who have to have this guy writing comments on your behalf. Obviously your film was nominated becuase it is awesome (supposedly, never watched it, never watched it, didnt watch our film too), unlike you...

  • Iranian | February 24, 2012 8:16 PM

    I apologize for the rude comment of this fellow Iranian (Ali Asghar Heidari). Ya! every where in this world you can find this type of people. Again sorry for this.

  • Elise | February 14, 2012 5:46 PM

    Give it to the Academy to position an Israeli film vs one from Iran and add a Polish film dealing with the Holocaust to complicate things....way to go!

  • Joanne | February 2, 2012 2:51 PM

    This is so disgusting!
    A Separation might be a good film but it has nothing to do with politics.
    You should apologize for using such a language.

  • ali | January 28, 2012 9:02 AM

    i am so sorry for you and Israelian people.... you are so rude .... i am iranian and i respect all of the people all over the world .... i am sorry for you...
    excuse me israel

  • s.m.s.h | January 28, 2012 1:54 AM

    i am really sorry for you.

  • ehsan | January 25, 2012 4:19 AM

    Please correct! (Fuck Israel) (Down with USA) (I not i) (an iranian)

  • Johan | January 24, 2012 4:11 PMReply

    A seperation is a master piece.
    I have not seen a better movie. I hope it wins

  • hamid | January 24, 2012 3:20 PMReply

    a separation = Best Foreign Language Film in 2012 Oscar award

  • mohsen | January 24, 2012 1:56 PMReply

    I have seen "A separation".that was a good movie and have some thing to this 9 film list,there is no doubght that its the best and will take the oscar.for sure.
    but there are more and more splendid and respective movies in iran filmography.lots of artistic movies.hope to see them all in the oscar from now on.

  • Ali | January 24, 2012 1:08 PMReply

    I have watched "A seperation" several times, It is a Masterpiece movie.
    It will win the Oscar 2012,

  • sanaz | January 24, 2012 12:48 PMReply

    a separation totally deserves an oscar!!

  • Kamran | January 24, 2012 12:08 PMReply

    "A Separation" will wins. This is the best movies of the yer. It's not about lie. It's true life thing.

  • irfan ahmed | January 24, 2012 11:26 AMReply

    I have no word to say about film but Superb, superb........................... Genius filmmaker

  • John | January 24, 2012 9:48 AMReply

    IN DARKNESS !!!!

  • Jessica | February 27, 2012 3:23 PM

    you`ve gotta be kidding me!!!!

  • Anna | January 24, 2012 9:40 AMReply

    just A sepration!!!!!

  • Mehrnoosh | January 24, 2012 9:34 AMReply

    A separation will win.That is the most beautiful movie I have seen.

  • angel | January 24, 2012 9:29 AMReply

    only ...................... A Separation.

  • sahar | January 24, 2012 9:16 AMReply

    A separation will win...

  • Jerzy | January 24, 2012 9:03 AMReply

    In Darkness - amazing!

  • khashayar | January 24, 2012 5:17 AMReply

    a separation , The Best

  • lily | January 23, 2012 11:24 PMReply

    watched "a separation" 3 times already. each time it captures you from a different angle. One of the best movies i have ever watched if not the best. deserves an oscar.

  • Bill | January 23, 2012 9:11 PMReply

    A SEPARATION is all in one.

  • Patrick | January 23, 2012 12:00 PMReply

    Having seen 3 of your top 4 at Telluride, the picture you have in the top spot is my pick for the best film of this category and frankly, of the year regardless of language. "A Separation" is a film that stays with you and invites discussion. It's fabulous, grown-up cinema.

  • khaled | January 23, 2012 11:45 AMReply

    hey people of the Academy, I would like you to ewview the movie Manila KingpinL Asiong Salonga Story. . good movie. . it's from the Philippines. . it's more fun in the Philippines. . :-)

  • Mohammad Asaraei | January 23, 2012 10:51 AMReply

    A Separation or In Darkness will win....Forget about the other films

  • Reza | January 23, 2012 10:06 AMReply

    A separation will win. Its amazing. Everyone should watch this wonderful movie.

  • Hamid | January 23, 2012 7:26 AMReply

    Ofcourse "A Seperation" from Iran wins the 84th Academy Award.

  • majid | January 22, 2012 6:04 AMReply

    with no doubt A SEPARATION

  • Leila | January 21, 2012 7:07 PMReply

    Oscar goes to A Separation from IRAN, which describes reality in our lives.

  • justina | January 21, 2012 5:16 PMReply

    well, In Darkness is awesome not only beuse it shows the cruelty of Holocaust. The Jews portrayed in this film are not martyrs, they are real people who love, hate, desire, fear... A very true film which has to be shown to future generations.

  • Mehrdad | January 21, 2012 10:59 AMReply

    A Separation...
    It probably would be nominated for the
    Best original screenplay... ;-)

  • ashkan | January 21, 2012 10:03 AMReply

    the seperation is the thing.