×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Oscar’s Foreign-Language Executive Committee Whittles Down 80 Submissions To A Shortlist Of Under 10 Films

The Academy has made its first cull of the foreign-language category — from 80 down to nine — and though critical favorites “The Assassin” and “The Second Mother” didn’t make the cut, the shortlisted group displays remarkable range. Especially noteworthy is that three of the films are told in languages other than the primary language of the country that submitted: “The Fencer,” “Mustang” and “Viva.” Five nominees will be announced on Jan. 14 for the Academy Awards, which take place Feb. 28 at the Dolby Theatre.

“The Brand New Testament”

(Belgium)
One of Europe’s most inventive directors (his “Toto the Hero” was a template for “Amelie”), Jaco van Dormael is back in form with this playful riff on religion, which imagines God as a Homer Simpson-like schlub thrown into crisis after his daughter hacks his computer and spills his secrets.

“Embrace of The Serpent”

(Colombia)
Arguably the most foreign of the selections, Ciro Guerra’s hypnotizing B&W art film plunges auds into the heart of the Amazon, preserving the jungle’s mystery and exoticism as outsiders go on a holy grail-like search for a mythic plant. It’s a visionary experience, albeit one voters could find challenging.

A War

(Denmark)
With much the same rigor he brought to “A Hijacking,” director Tobias Lindholm divides his latest current-events study between intense Afghan battlefields and a war-crime trial back home. With echoes of “The Hurt Locker,” this serious-minded drama stands a shot for its relatively austere take on the toll of combat.

“The Fencer”

(Finland)
From “Goodbye, Mr. Chips” to “Dead Poets Society,” the Acad has a soft spot for inspirational teacher movies. Those made abroad add cultural context to the formula — in this case, an Estonian resistance fighter’s Soviet-evading reinvention as a gym instructor marks Klaus Haro’s fourth entry
to the Oscars.

Mustang

(France)
Deniz Gamze Erguven’s rousing coming-of-ager offers a partly veiled critique of Turkey, as when five sisters have their possessions confiscated: computers, telephones, a T-shirt featuring a Gezi Park slogan, even Delacroix’s Lady Liberty painting — all things controlled or censored in the country today.

“Labyrinth of Lies”

(Germany)
One of two short-listed pics looking at the horrors of Auschwitz, Giulio Ricciarelli’s compelling procedural approaches the subject with the cushion of time, focusing on the small but dedicated group of German lawyers who held Nazi officers accountable in court. It could also make a strong double-bill with “Spotlight.”

Theeb

(Jordan)
Only the second film to be submitted for Oscar consideration by the kingdom of Jordan, Naji Abu Nowar’s desert-set adventure tale features white outsiders, a la “Lawrence of Arabia” or “The Man Who Would Be King,” but offers a indigenous perspective, viewed through the eyes of a Bedouin youth.

Son of Saul

(Hungary)
Without question one of the year’s breakthrough cinematic discoveries, Laszlo Nemes made his debut in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, earning the jury’s Grand Prix for a film with the courage to confront the Holocaust head-on — literally, revealing the human effect of Auschwitz on a conflicted prisoner’s face.

Viva

(Ireland)
Like last year’s winner, “Ida,” Paddy Breathnach’s project debuted at the Telluride film festival, a proven Oscar launching pad. In all other respects, this Cuba-set, music-driven entry couldn’t be more different, as “Viva” charts the emergence of a drag diva as he struggles to reconcile with his macho
ex-boxer dad.

More Film

  • Johnny BananasMTV Movie & TV Awards,

    'The Challenge' Veteran Crashes MTV Awards Acceptance Speech; Cut From Broadcast

    Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio pulled a Kanye West at Saturday’s taping of the MTV Movie & TV awards when “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” won over “The Challenge” in the Reality Royalty category. However, viewers didn’t get to see it. Producers of the show cut out Devenanzio’s speech from Monday’s airing, after the reality star took [...]

  • Zachary LeviMTV Movie & TV Awards,

    MTV Movie & TV Awards Winners: The Complete List

    The MTV Movie & TV Awards are returning to television Monday, with host Zachary Levi and a number of pop culture favorites. Dominating this year’s nominations are front runners “Avengers: Endgame” and “Game of Thrones” with four nominations apiece, as well as the Oscar-nominated documentary “RBG,” which scored another four nods. This year’s show also [...]

  • Olivia Wilde Jon Ham Richard Jewell

    Olivia Wilde, Jon Hamm Join Clint Eastwood's 'Richard Jewell' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Olivia Wilde and Jon Hamm have joined the cast of Clint Eastwood’s already star-studded drama “Richard Jewell.” Paul Walter Hauser is set to star as the titular Jewell in Warner Bros.’ pic alongside Sam Rockwell as Jewell’s attorney and Kathy Bates as Jewell’s mother. The drama is based on Marie Brenner’s article in Vanity Fair [...]

  • Where the Wind Blows

    Hong Kong's 'Where the Wind Blows' Sidesteps Protests For China Promo

    Hong Kong film director Philip Yung and his cast were in Shanghai on Monday to promote their upcoming film “Where the Wind Blows.” They revealed new details while cautiously sidestepping — for the most part — the awkward issue of last week’s massive civil protests in Hong Kong against a controversial bill that would have [...]

  • Awkwafina Oscars 2019

    Awkwafina, Paul Rudd, Olivia Wilde Among Maui Film Festival Honorees

    Held in beautiful Wailea, Hawaii, the 2019 Maui Film Festival honored Awkwafina, Paul Rudd, Olivia Wilde, Gina Rodriguez, Maya Erskine and Joe Manganiello with awards at this year’s festival running June 12-16. In addition to screening films and hosting several food and culture events, the film fest gave out awards to the actors for their [...]

  • Dee Rees

    Dee Rees Directing 'Kyd's Exquisite Follies' Movie Musical

    “Mudbound” director Dee Rees will direct independent movie musical fantasy “The Kyd’s Exquisite Follies” from her own script. “The Kyd’s Exquisite Follies” will be produced by Cassian Elwes, one of the “Mudbound” producers. Santigold is set to compose the music, with Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic creating the film’s visual effects. Endeavor Content is repping the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content