What a pleasure it has been to write about so many wonderful films from so many countries. Ever since September 2017, AwardsWatch featured contributor has been covering this fascinating rate in weekly analysis articles. And now, just a few days away, the Oscar nominations will finally be announced. Five Foreign Language Films films will be recognized with Oscar nods which can help shape or advance the careers of their filmmakers and bring them more attention on the global stage. Regardless of who eventually makes it, we’ll sure be cheering for them on Oscar morning.
Before the Golden Globes, we had our final predictions locked up but then a major shift happened in this race when IN THE FADE nabbed the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film. It’s just a group of 90 journalists, you may say, but let’s look at these previous stats:
Golden Globe Foreign Language Film winners and their Oscar nominations:
|Elle||Not on Oscar shortlist|
|Son of Saul||Won FLF Oscar|
|The Great Beauty||Won FLF Oscar|
Won FLF Oscar
|A Separation||Won FLF Oscar|
|2011||In A Better World||
Won FLF Oscar
|2010||The White Ribbon||
In the past 8 years, no Golden Globe Foreign Language Film winner missed an Oscar nomination with the exception of France’s ELLE last year but that was not on the shortlist to begin with. Based on that, our final predictions for this year’s FLF are as follows (not necessarily in the likelihood of winning though):
- From Germany IN THE FADE
Why we’re predicting it: For the reasons above, plus it’s baity, dramatic, showy, timely and also important. It seems to have caught on with voters given how thrilling, emotional and accessible it is. It looks like Diane Kruger’s relentless campaigning has indeed helped the film (even though Kruger has a slim chance of earning a Best Actress nod, so this seems to be her consolation prize in a way. It’ll be actually a reverse of fortunes from Huppert (nominated) vs Elle (FLF snubbed) as well as Marion Cotillard (nominated) vs TWO DAYS ONE NIGHT (FLF snubbed).
It seems to be an either-or scenario for foreign actresses and FLF nods as of late.
The question of whether it can win or not will be for another day though.
- From Russia LOVELESS
Why we’re predicting it: Sony Pictures Classics does very well in this category, but can their 3 contenders make it? They have LOVELESS, FOXTROT and A FANTASTIC WOMAN. Which is their strongest? Well, we think that LOVELESS is their strongest contender. Early on, we thought FOXTROT is the one to beat, but the film hasn’t caught on as much as we would have hoped (and we think it’s a masterful film). Loveless seems poised to earned a nod thanks to its powerful narrative, wonderful performances and timely themes. It has some of the most memorable scenes of any FLF contender this year and we’d argue it may stand a shot at winning.
- From South Africa THE WOUND
Why we’re predicting it: It’s no secret we love this film and have been one of its prime supporters ever since we saw at the BFI London Film Festival. We really think it’s this year’s TIMBUKTU and that the fact it offers voters an opportunity to explore a world rarely seen on screen is a big plus for it. It also would add an important diversity angle to the race, being a story from Africa when this region was frequently under-represented.
- From Lebanon THE INSULT
Why we’re predicting it: Cohen Media Group is becoming a major force in this category. They are the ones who have led films like TIMBUKTU, MUSTANG and THE SALESMAN (last year’s winner) to major Oscar recognition. We think THE INSULT will be their 4th consecutive nod in this fluid category. But that’s not all – the film appeals to voters young and old (its macho theme and execution makes it really appreciated by older voters and its AARP nomination earlier this week is further confirmation for this). Add to all of this that the film is very timely and you have a very appealing and tempting FLF formula.
- From Chile A FANTASTIC WOMAN
Why we’re predicting it: We believe that in any other year, FOXTROT would have made it over A FANTASTIC WOMAN. But we need to be mindful of the current climate in Hollywood that’s attempting to be more respectful and receptive to female-led films. A FANTASTIC WOMAN, along with IN THE FADE, are the likeliest contenders among female-led films (with better odds than ON BODY AND SOUL and FÉLICITÉ). It’s also a strong LGBTQ film that’s very timely and buzzy. It’s true the film has underperformed a bit with the critics’ awards, but reports are that it’s very popular among AMPAS. We think it’s going to be in, narrowly beating our ALT…
ALT: From Israel FOXTROT
Quality-wise, this is one of the – if not the – best FLF contenders. But it turns out to be a bit inaccessible and less unanimously beloved as we’d hoped. We really hope it makes it – and it deserves it for sure – but predicting the Oscars is not about ones’ faves.
The 5 films we predicted are among the 6 films we believe were the popular vote among the AMPAS FLF committee (with the 6th popular film being Foxtrot). The 3 films which we believe were saves (The Square, Felicite’ and On Body and Soul) are not included in our final predictions, since we believe that the more accessible the film is, the more it stands a better chance with the wider nominating committee.
- Loveless (Russia)
- In The Fade (Germany)
- The Wound (South Africa)
- The Insult (Lebanon)
- A Fantastic Woman (Chile)
ALT: Foxtrot (Israel)
Check out what the Gold Rush Gang is predicting to make Oscar’s final five right here.
All the best to the 9 filmmakers of these superb film. We truly enjoyed covering them – and we’ll be back at it once the final 5 nominees are announced.