Five foreign-language films made it to the list of finalists in this year’s Academy Awards for Best Foreign-Language Film, the winners of which will be announced on February 22 from the Dolby Theater in LA.
The finalists tackle several issues, ranging from corruption, conflict, humor and a host of other human realities.
The final list of finalists was announced on January 15. It includes “Wild Tales” by Damian Szifron of Argentina, “Timbuktu” that was helmed by Abderrahmane Sissako of Mauritius, “Tangerines” by Estonian-Georgian director Zaza Urushadze, Poland’s “Ida” by director Pawel Pawlikowski and “Leviathan,” a work of Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev.
It came as a surprise for many that “Force Majeure” from Swedish director Ruben Ostlund did not make it as a finalist although it gathered so much buzz quite early, receiving many positive reviews.
Film contenders’ stories
Industry insiders are predicting that “Leviathan” will be a heavy favorite, as it already won a Golden Globe. “Force Majeure,” “Tangerines” and “Ida” were also contenders in the Foreign-Language Film category of the Golden Globe.
“Leviathan” is the story of a mechanic who owned a property that a local Russian official coveted. Although the film showed social criticism of modern Russia, it received state funding and will be released next month in the country. Russian director Zvyagintsev hopes that the Russian officials will look at the film as a “voice of truth and sincerity.”
Poland’s entry “Ida” that was helmed by Director Pawlikowski carried an international impact strongly, and was voted as one of the best by many critics. The film, which was presented in black and white, dealt with the story of a young nun who later found out that she was Jewish. It is also a contender for the best cinematography award.
The lives of people under pressure is the story discussed in “Wild Tales” under the direction of Argentine director Damian Szifron.
It is the first time that a film from Mauritius got a nod from the Oscars. The film, called “Timbuktu” is about the life of a close-knit family that herds cattle for a living. The film showcases the harsh realities of life in Northern Mali under militants’ rule.
“Tangerines,” an anti-war film from Estonia is the story of two women who cared for wounded soldiers from rival factions during the Georgia-Abkhazia conflict in 1992.
These finalists were part of 83 submissions, which were narrowed down to nine before the final five were chosen. Some films that received critical praise failed to make it such as Belgium’s entry, “Two Days, One Night” that was directed by the Dardenne brothers. However, the star of the film, Marion Cotillard was nominated for best actress and will be up against big name stars such as Reese Witherspoon, Rosamund Pike, Julianne Moore and Felicity Jones.
Aside from “Wild Tales,” which is a comedy, the other contenders all deal with somber global life issues.
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