Monday, September 27, 2010

Disastrous Javier and Disaster Epic Compete For Foreign-Language Oscar

Fifty countries have now announced their Oscar submissions. We usually end with sixty-plus competitors so there's a dozen movies (approximately) left unannounced. The big question marks are Spain (we're guessing Celda 211 nope, Spain chose Even the Rain starring Gael García Bernal) and Italy (we're guessing The Man Who Will Come) since both countries are favorites of Academy voters. We'll know the "official" official list in early October. I've updated all the pages.
Two biggies recently announced are Mexico's choice Biutiful which won admirers and haters at Cannes --for the same reasons as director Alejandro González Iñárritu's past efforts have divided -- and China's Aftershock (2010), the country's first homegrown IMAX epic that was a huge hit this summer.

Biutiful is a drama about a man who is dying and his life is falling apart on his way to the grave. Javier Bardem won Best Actor at Cannes so it's definitely One to Watch as it were. Plus, we know AMPAS voters respond well to Iñárritu's specific brand of miserabilism since they've handed nominations to all three of his previous feature films: Amores Perros (Best Foreign Language Film) 21 Grams (acting nominations) and Babel (several nods including Best Picture).

China's submission is inspired by a 1976 earthquake that killed nearly a quarter of a million people. I assumed it's fictionally dramatized (like Titanic for example) as the main plot apparently revolves around a woman who must face her own Sophie's Choice when her twins are buried alive and the rescue team can only save one of them.

The unusual trailer takes us backwards in time. I'm personally not much of a fan of disaster epics -- if I see New York City or Paris destroyed one more time in a movie. Grrrrr -- but will Oscar be? I mean, this won't have the science fiction silliness of something like 2012 and they do like a good historical epic.

At any rate, it's important to remember that no film is ever a safe bet in this particular derby since there are so many options and the voters actually have to watch the films (unlike other races where you can theoretically be nominated on goodwill and campaigning alone, no screenings necessary)

Have any of our international readers seen either of these films? Speak up if you have. Or prognosticate blindly in the comments. You know how we do.

Nathaniel's Oscar-Submission Reviews Thus Far
Peru's Undertow
Thailand's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
More soon...

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