Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tony awards ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis. The prediction pages are Davis’ assessment of the current standings of the race and do not reflect personal preferences for any film or performance. Like any organization or body that votes, each individual category is fluid and subject to change. Predictions are updated every Thursday.
LAST UPDATED: Nov. 22, 2022
2023 Oscars Predictions: Best International Feature
There has been a change in the way Academy members vote for the best international feature category. It could produce surprise inclusions and shocking snubs once the 15-film shortlist is announced on Dec. 21.
For the first time, members who opted to vote in the best international feature race will rank their favorites from one to 15. This is a significant change from previous years, where the voters would rate each of their selections on a scale from 7-10. The old method didn’t force the voting member to weigh what’s actually “the best” of the crop. Unlike sites like IMDB or Letterboxd that have users rate their movies on a one to ten scales, having a movie’s lowest possibility of being a seven creates a world where “everyone receives a participation trophy.” This isn’t the SATs where you get credit just for putting your name on the paper.
Nevertheless, how will this affect the movies vying for a nom?
This year, 92 international features (although all still need to be qualified) could be vying for Oscar’s attention. It’s not known which members opt-in from the 18 various branches. With just over 9,600 eligible voters this year, an industry source says that just over 1,000 voters opted into the category.
In contrast to a significant category like best picture, where voters are encouraged to watch as many films as possible, the rules for international feature differ. The Academy has taken the 92 features and divided them into 11 groups. Four of which have nine films, while the others have eight. Each member selected to vote in the category this year is assigned to one of the 11 groups. To vote, a member must watch every film in their group at a minimum. Then, they can vote for any of the 92 features in contention. It should be noted this method operates on an honor system.
Like the best picture category, the preferential voting method doesn’t necessarily reward “the best” rather than “the most liked.” It’s no longer just about the no. 1 votes, but what films are skirting in with lots of number twos and threes. However, “safe” a film may be in the race, you can never count out the Academy making a glaring omission, as seen with snubs such as “4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days” (2007), which brought about “the save,” in which the committee could choose one film to move onto to the next round of nomination voting.
The field is stacked with hot and heavy titles from various countries, such as “All Quiet on the Western Front” from Germany, “Close” from Belgium and “Decision to Leave” from South Korea. Films such as these generate passion and will likely be at the top of many ballots.
Films that have proven to be more divisive such as “Bardo” from Mexico could be on the top of multiple lists but not listed on any others.
Movies that seem more “middle-of-the-road” in the race, such as “Corsage” from Austria, “Argentina, 1985” from Argentina and “EO” from Poland, could be in the top half of multiple ballots. Voters are still more likely to seek it out, even if it’s not in their assigned group.
This change could prove to be one of the more surprising shortlists announcements in years. In the past few years, shockers such as “Better Days” (2020) from Hong Kong made the shortlist after the little buzz and were nominated in their respective years.
Remembering that this category, along with documentary feature, often reflects what movies were the “most watched,” not necessarily “the best films of the crop.” If a voter has heard of it, they’re more likely to sneak into the fray. Which quiet features will that be this year?
To see the ranked predictions for each individual category, visit Variety’s Oscars Hub.
See the Golden Globe predictions in all of the film categories.
See the 2022-2023 Awards Season calendar for all key dates and timelines.
ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS AND RANKINGS:
2023 Academy Awards Predictions
BEST PICTURE | DIRECTOR | ACTOR | ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE | PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING | SOUND | VISUAL EFFECTS | ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE | INTERNATIONAL FEATURE | ANIMATED SHORT | DOCUMENTARY SHORT | LIVE ACTION SHORT
The 95th Oscars ceremony will be held at the Dolby Theatre and televised live on Sunday, March 12, 2022, on ABC.
2022 category winner: "Drive My Car" (Japan) - dir. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi
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Variety's unmatched coverage gives its readership unbeatable exposure in print and online, as well as provides inside reports on all the contenders in this year's awards season races. In addition to predictions, the section includes -- Awards Circuit Column, a weekly analysis dissecting the trends and contenders in the race; Awards Circuit Podcast, a weekly series featuring interviews with the top contenders in the awards race and an expert roundtable discussion with Variety's leading editors and columnists; Awards Circuit Predictions Video Series, a deep dive into specific categories, led by the leading pundits.