Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

For Your Consideration: The Foreign Language Race Arrives

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire September 25, 2012 at 12:50PM

It's generally an assured equation: Oscars + Foreign Language Film Category = Outrage. Sometimes, the fault lies with Academy voters (as it did when "Departures" won the Oscar in 2008 over what most viewed as two greatly superior nominees - "Waltz With Bashir" and "The Class;" or when "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," "Persepolis" and "Volver" were all left off the ballot in 2007). And sometimes, the national submission committees are at fault (like in 2010 when Italy submitted "La Prima Cosa Bella" over "I Am Love").
1

Before we get into a few controversies from this year's growing list (though admittedly there's less than usual so far), there's quite a few positive things to note as well.  Some really exceptional, challenging work is in contention that collectively represents an impressive year in world cinema. Michael Haneke's "Amour" (Austria), Cate Shortland's "Lore" (Australia), Pablo Larrain's "No" (Chile), Christian Petzold's "Barbara" (Germany), Nikolaj Arcel's "A Royal Affair" (Denmark), Ursala Meier's "Sister" (Switzerland),  Rama Burshtein's "Fill The Void" (Israel) and Cristian Mungiu's "Beyond The Hills" (Romania) have all been submitted so far.

Whether or not any of these end up making it on the Academy's short list is a whole other story (though if "Amour" doesn't, it would be a legendary snub), especially considering quite a few of them are not exactly mainstream. But, hey, if "Dogtooth" could make it two years back, anything's possible.

READ MORE: 2013 Oscar Predictions: Best Foreign Language Film

The list so far is also notable in the impressive amount of female-helmed films. Two years after a woman won the award (Susanne Bier's "In a Better World"), aforementioned examples from Israel, Australia and Switzerland join the likes of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Aida Begić's "Children of Sarajevo"), Japan (Yong-hi Yang's "Our Homeland"), Palestinian Territories (Annemarie Jacir's "When I Saw You"),  and Slovakia (Iveta Grofova's "Made in Ash"). That's seven films so far. Not exactly a fair ratio, but sadly progressive when it comes to women working behind the camera (though notably not included among these is Susanne Bier herself, whose "Love Is All You Need" was snubbed by Denmark in favor of "A Royal Affair" -- though most critics would probably agree with that decision).

Meanwhile, the most prominent controversy so far involves a country that will not compete at all.

Amour, still
'Amour'

Following its groundbreaking win last year (the first for a Middle Eastern counrty), Iran's government-controlled cinema agency has called for a boycott of the Oscars just a day after the country's official selection committee had selected "A Cube of Sugar" by Reza Mirkarimi as the official Iranian submission. The boycott came to the extremely controversial "Innocence of Muslims" video on Youtube, which originated in America and has resulted in multiple demonstrations and outbreaks of violence across the world. which has prompted multiple demonstrations and outbreaks of violence across the globe in the past month.

Much less extreme examples of controversy on behalf of selection committees include  France's submission of Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano's box office powerhouse "The Intouchables" over the Jacques Audiard's much more critically acclaimed "Rust and Bone."  Many groaned at the decision, though it's easy to see France's reasoning. "Rust & Bone" is a challenging film about a killer whale trainer (Marion Cotillard, who could still very well get a best actress nomination) who suffers a horrible accident. On the other hand, the light, feel-good "Intouchables" -- about a friendship between a wealthy quadriplegic, and the young and poor man hired as his live-in caregiver -- is right up the Academy's alley and is probably one of the category's frontrunners. It also has the backing of Harvey Weinstein, who France clearly owes a debt to after last year's Oscarian domination of "The Artist."

We'll have to wait until January to see if France's plan works out. The 85th Academy Award nominations will be announced January 10, 2013.

Check out Indiewire's latest chart of Oscar predictions here, including a quick take on the foreign language race.

Peter Knegt is Indiewire's Senior Editor and awards columnist. Follow him on Twitter and on his blog.

Sign up HERE for Indiewire's Awards Season newsletter and receive a twice-weekly email roundup of our awards stories, hand-picked by our editors from across the Indiewire Network, plus additional coverage in the final run up to the Oscars.

 
 

This article is related to: Academy Awards, Best Foreign-Language Film






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More