As submissions for the Best International Feature Film Oscar continue to stream in ahead of the November 1 deadline, this ever competitive awards race is beginning to heat up. Indeed, the growing list includes formerly nominated directors and some of the most lauded festival titles. Below is a rundown of some of the notable submissions so far, in addition to speculation on those to come.
Headlining the submissions list are no less than 9 prizewinners from the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Most notably, France selected Palme d’Or winner Titane in the most hotly anticipated announcement so far, as the daringly original thriller edged out Venice Golden Lion winner Happening and the crime drama BAC Nord. Also getting the nod were joint Grand Prix winners Compartment No. 6 (Finland) and A Hero from Asghar Farhadi, who hopes to land a third Oscar for Iran in this category. Meanwhile, Japan will be represented by Best Screenplay winner Drive My Car as Colombia hedges their bets on the unexpected combo of British actress Tilda Swinton and Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul with Jury Prize winner Memoria.
From the sidebar sections, there are some potential dark horses among the awardees entering the race. Out of Un Certain Regard, the quartet of Great Freedom, Lamb, Playground and Prayers for the Stolen will represent Austria, Iceland, Belgium and Mexico respectively. And there will be an additional two Cannes premieres in the mix, namely Nathalie Álvarez Mesen’s Clara Sola (Costa Rica) and Eran Kolirin’s Let It Be Morning (Israel).
While Cannes has historically been the most successful launchpad for nominees and winners for Best International Feature Film, the earlier Sundance and Berlin film festivals also delivered some strong contenders to watch. Malta makes their second ever submission with the seaside drama Luzzu, which won Best Actor in Park City. And from Berlin, there’s the sci-fi romance I’m Your Man (Germany) and Radu Jude’s sex tape comedy Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn (Romania), if the Academy is feeling adventurous.
More recently, the Venice and Toronto film festivals also unveiled their own eventual Oscar picks. Much of the spotlight has been on the Horizons section for Venice so far, with nods for 107 Mothers (Slovakia), White Building (Cambodia) and The Falls (Taiwan) from Chung Mong-hong, who directed last year’s shortlisted epic A Sun. Toronto then followed up with the world premieres of Canada’s Drunken Birds and Platform Prize winner Yuni from Indonesia.
While the field is beginning to take shape, there are still some major players waiting to join the game. As the reigning winner (for 2020’s Another Round), Denmark could repeat with festival darling Flee if it becomes their pick over Charlotte Sieling’s Queen of the North and Ole Bornedal’s Shadows in My Eyes. Another Nordic country to watch is Norway, as Joachim Trier’s wonderful dramedy The Worst Person in the World hopes to edge out Betrayed and Ninjababy. And finally, Netflix will be counting on Italy to choose their coming-of-age drama The Hand of God, the latest from Paolo Sorrentino (director of the Oscar-winning The Great Beauty).
Stay tuned to Awards Radar for coverage of this unfolding Oscar race ahead of the Best International Feature Film shortlist announcement on December 21.