×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Canada and Australia Have a Leg Up in Foreign-Language Oscar Race

For countries in the English-speaking world, entries into the foreign-language Oscar race offer a chance to reflect on the complexity of their own cultures or examine their place in the wider world.

After digging into its colonial past last year in Francois Girard’s Quebec-set “Hochelaga, Land of Souls,” Canada enters the Oscar race with Sophie Dupuis’ “Family First.” Set in a gritty working-class neighborhood, Dupuis’ low-budget feature debut is about a Montreal family bound together by a life of crime. Canada, which took home the foreign-language Oscar in 2003 with Denys Arcand’s “The Barbarian Invasions,” has scored four nominations and three shortlist spots in the past 12 years.

Australia landed its first nomination in 2016 with “Tanna,” a Nauvhal-language romance about two young lovers defying local mores that was the first film ever shot on the island of Vanuatu. This year’s submission for the foreign-language race, “Jirga,” follows a former Australian soldier who returns to Afghanistan to make amends, three years after accidentally killing a civilian in a raid.

Buccaneering helmer Benjamin Gilmour had planned to shoot the film in Pakistan, the setting of his acclaimed feature debut, “Son of a Lion.” But the Pakistani secret service blocked production after reading Gilmour’s script; instead, he shot “Jirga” on the sly in Afghanistan, dodging Taliban militants and ISIS-aligned groups along the way.

No bullets fly in Pietra Brettkelly’s “Yellow Is Forbidden,” the Kiwi submission for the foreign-language race, but no less daunting was the challenge for the documentary’s subject, Chinese fashion designer Guo Pei, to ascend to the heights of French fashion at Paris’ famed Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. Pic has enjoyed a lively festival run since its Tribeca premiere, and it marks the second time that Brettkelly has been selected to represent New Zealand, which is yet to earn a nomination.

More Film

  • Alibaba Expands Film Investment, Loans $100

    Alibaba Expands Film Investment Plan, Loans $100 Million to Huayi Bros.

    Alibaba Pictures Group, the film business arm of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has struck a strategic co-operation deal with leading film studio Huayi Brothers. The deal terms include a $103 million (RMB700 million) loan to Huayi. Alibaba Pictures said the agreement was part of its recently announced strategy to be a part of major movies [...]

  • Netflix Buys Taiwan Black Comedy 'Dear

    Netflix Buys Taiwan Black Comedy 'Dear Ex'

    Netflix has added to its roster of Mandarin-language content with the acquisition of rights to Taiwanese dark comedy “Dear Ex.” The award-winning film will play out from Feb. 1. The story involves a recently bereaved widow and a gay man fighting over a dead man’s inheritance, with the woman’s teenage son caught in the middle. [...]

  • Audrey Wells

    Film News Roundup: Audrey Wells Scholarships Launched by UCLA, China's Pearl Studio

    In today’s film news roundup, Pearl Studio and UCLA start a “Say Yes!” scholarship in memory of Audrey Well; Gina Lollobrigida and Claudia Cardinale are honored; and the “General Magic” documentary gets bought. SCHOLARSHIPS UNVEILED China’s Pearl Studio has made a gift of $100,000 for endowed scholarships to the UCLA School of Theater, Film and [...]

  • Honey Boy Knock Down the House

    Sundance Hot Titles List: 13 Buzzy Films That Have Buyers Talking

    There’s a good reason that much of Hollywood braves the thin mountain air each year to make the trek to the Sundance Film Festival, and it’s not to check out the nearby ski slopes. The annual launch of the indie film gathering brings with it the possibility of discovering the next big thing in moviemaking. [...]

  • (L to R) VIGGO MORTENSEN and

    Will Oscar Nominations Give This Year's Contenders a Box Office Boost?

    With nominees like “Black Panther,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and “A Star Is Born,” the 2018 class of movies proved the Oscars don’t need a popular films category to recognize movies that also made bank in theaters. But now that the academy has selected this year’s crop of awards hopefuls, is there any green left to squeeze [...]

  • A24 Buys Sequel to Tilda Swinton's

    Sundance: A24 Buys Sequel to Tilda Swinton's Romance-Drama 'The Souvenir'

    A24 has bought the North American rights to Tilda Swinton’s romance-drama “The Souvenir – Part 2,” closing the deal on the eve of the Sundance Film Festival. “The Souvenir” is set to make its world premiere at Sundance on Jan. 27, followed by playing in the Panorama section of the Berlin Film Festival in February. [...]

  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

    Chiwetel Ejiofor Adds Authenticity to Directorial Debut by Shooting in Malawi

    When actor Chiwetel Ejiofor optioned the rights for the 2009 best-seller “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” penning the screenplay for a feature directorial debut that world-premieres in Sundance and then appears in the Berlin Film Festival before being released globally by Netflix this spring, colleagues floated the idea of shooting the Malawi-set film in tried-and-tested [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content