This morning the Spanish Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences announced a shortlist of three films as potential Oscar submissions, one of these will be selected as the official entry later this month. The list is somewhat surprising given the great pool of films at hand, some of which included internationally renowned Spanish talent. However, it seems like the Spanish Academy went with three interesting choices, two of which have received extensive festival play and another by a filmmaker who represented the country not too long ago.
These are the three candidates:
Starring widely known actress Maribel Verdú (“Y Tu Mamá También”) and an impressive ensemble cast, the latest film by Gracia Querejeta centers on a woman who has just won the lottery and decides to take her closest friends and family on a trip to celebrate her 40th birthday. Soon she will discover that becoming a millionaire has changed the way her loved ones perceive her. The filmmaker’s previous feature “15 Years and One Day” represented her homeland at the 86th Academy Awards.
This Basque-language drama juxtaposes the lives of three women affected by a single death and connected by something as simple as a bouquet of flowers. “Loreak” was awarded in Palm Springs and San Sebastian, played at countless festivals including Miami, Seattle, and FICG in LA just last week, and earned a surprising Best Film nomination at this year’s Goya Awards. If selected, the film would become the first-ever Basque-language Spanish Oscar submission.
By far the most awarded of the pre-selected films, Vermut’s dark tale about a desperate father trying to grant his ill daughter’s last wish, which involves obtaining the dress used by a popular Japanese TV character, is also the most unique. “Magical Girl” was crowned Best Film at last year’s San Sebastian Film Festival, while Vermut also took home the Best Director award. Numerous festivals, including Palm Springs and Rotterdam, and five Goya Award nominations followed, with Bárbara Lennie winning the Best Leading Actress trophy.