‘Roma,’ ‘Cold War’ Lead Academy’s List of 87 Films in the Oscars Foreign Language Race

While the total is less than last year’s record 92 entries, this is likely to be the most competitive race the category has seen in years

Last Updated: October 8, 2018 @ 10:21 AM

Eighty-seven films have qualified in the 2018 Oscars race for Best Foreign Language Film, the Academy announced on Monday.

The number is five less than last year’s record of 92 entries, but significantly larger than the 60-odd qualifying films that were the norm only a few years ago. The 2018 race is also expected to be one of the most competitive in years, with a number of esteemed international directors and award-winning films competing for only nine spots on the shortlist and five nominations.

Los Angeles-based volunteers from all branches of the Academy will now watch all the eligible films at AMPAS screenings at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills and the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood. This year, the Academy has made it easier to qualify to vote, dropping the number of films each voter must see from 17 or 18 down to 12 and eliminating the color-coded groups that made each voter choose from a specific group of films to which he or she had been assigned.

The Mexican entry, Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” is the clear frontrunner, since it is also considered a strong contender for a Best Picture nomination. (In Oscars history, six films have been nominated in both categories, the last one being “Amour” in 2011.)

But the Polish entry, “Cold War,” is the new film from Pawel Pawlikowski, whose last film, “Ida,” won the foreign-language Oscar; it too is considered a likely nominee. So is the Lebanese entry, Nadine Labaki’s “Capernaum,” a powerful drama about a young boy in the slums of Beirut who sues his parents for bringing him into the world.

Two other directors are recent winners in the category, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck with the German entry “Never Look Away” (his “The Lives of Others” won in 2007) and Laszlo Nemes for Hungary’s entry, “Sunset” (his last film, “Son of Saul,” won in 2016).

Also in the race: recent nominees Rithy Panh (“Graves Without a Name,” Cambodia) and Ciro Guerra (“Birds of Passage,” a Colombian film co-directed with his ex-wife, Cristina Gallego).

Other strong Oscars contenders include Lee Chang-dong’s “Burning, which is vying to become the first South Korean film ever to be nominated; Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters,” which won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival; Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “The Wild Pear Tree,” the Turkish entry; Lukas Dhont’s “Girl,” which won the acting award in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes; and Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman,” which took the best-actor award in Cannes’ main competition.

Entries from Ukraine, Egypt, Sweden, Denmark, Israel, the U.K., Spain, Paraguay and several other countries are also contending for the prize.

Malawi and Niger have submitted films for the first time.

Official Academy screenings will begin on Oct. 15 and run through Dec. 10. At that point, the six films that have received the highest average scores from the voters will advance to a nine-film shortlist, along with three additional films chosen by an executive committee.

TheWrap has compiled a complete list of the qualifying films, with descriptions and links to trailers when available.

The list of qualifying films:

Afghanistan, “Rona Azim’s Mother,” Jamshid Mahmoudi, director;

Algeria, “Until the End of Time,” Yasmine Chouikh, director;

Argentina, “El Ángel,” Luis Ortega, director;

Armenia, “Spitak,” Alexander Kott, director;

Australia, “Jirga,” Benjamin Gilmour, director;

Austria, “The Waldheim Waltz,” Ruth Beckermann, director;

Bangladesh, “No Bed of Roses,” Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, director;

Belarus, “Crystal Swan,” Darya Zhuk, director;

Belgium, “Girl,” Lukas Dhont, director;

Bolivia, “The Goalkeeper,” Rodrigo “Gory” Patiño, director;

Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Never Leave Me,” Aida Begić, director;

Brazil, “The Great Mystical Circus,” Carlos Diegues, director;

Bulgaria, “Omnipresent,” Ilian Djevelekov, director;

Cambodia, “Graves without a Name,” Rithy Panh, director;

Canada, “Family Ties,” Sophie Dupuis, director;

Chile, “…And Suddenly the Dawn,” Silvio Caiozzi, director;

China, “Hidden Man,” Jiang Wen, director;

Colombia, “Birds of Passage,” Cristina Gallego, Ciro Guerra, directors;

Costa Rica, “Medea,” Alexandra Latishev, director;

Croatia, “The Eighth Commissioner,” Ivan Salaj, director;

Czech Republic, “Winter Flies,” Olmo Omerzu, director;

Denmark, “The Guilty,” Gustav Möller, director;

Dominican Republic, “Cocote,” Nelson Carlo De Los Santos Arias, director;

Ecuador, “A Son of Man,” Jamaicanoproblem, director;

Egypt, “Yomeddine,” A.B. Shawky, director;

Estonia, “Take It or Leave It,” Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo, director;

Finland, “Euthanizer,” Teemu Nikki, director;

France, “Memoir of War,” Emmanuel Finkiel, director;

Georgia, “Namme,” Zaza Khalvashi, director;

Germany, “Never Look Away,” Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, director;

Greece, “Polyxeni,” Dora Masklavanou, director;

Hong Kong, “Operation Red Sea,” Dante Lam, director;

Hungary, “Sunset,” László Nemes, director;

Iceland, “Woman at War,” Benedikt Erlingsson, director;

India, “Village Rockstars,” Rima Das, director;

Indonesia, “Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts,” Mouly Surya, director;

Iran, “No Date, No Signature,” Vahid Jalilvand, director;

Iraq, “The Journey,” Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji, director;

Israel, “The Cakemaker,” Ofir Raul Graizer, director;

Italy, “Dogman,” Matteo Garrone, director;

Japan, “Shoplifters,” Hirokazu Kore-eda, director;

Kazakhstan, “Ayka,” Sergey Dvortsevoy, director;

Kenya, “Supa Modo,” Likarion Wainaina, director;

Kosovo, “The Marriage,” Blerta Zeqiri, director;

Latvia, “To Be Continued,” Ivars Seleckis, director;

Lebanon, “Capernaum,” Nadine Labaki, director;

Lithuania, “Wonderful Losers: A Different World,” Arunas Matelis, director;

Luxembourg, “Gutland,” Govinda Van Maele, director;

Macedonia, “Secret Ingredient,” Gjorce Stavreski, director;

Malawi, “The Road to Sunrise,” Shemu Joyah, director;

Mexico, “Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón, director;

Montenegro, “Iskra,” Gojko Berkuljan, director;

Morocco, “Burnout,” Nour-Eddine Lakhmari, director;

Nepal, “Panchayat,” Shivam Adhikari, director;

Netherlands, “The Resistance Banker,” Joram Lürsen, director;

New Zealand, “Yellow Is Forbidden,” Pietra Brettkelly, director;

Niger, “The Wedding Ring,” Rahmatou Keïta, director;

Norway, “What Will People Say,” Iram Haq, director;

Pakistan, “Cake,” Asim Abbasi, director;

Palestine, “Ghost Hunting,” Raed Andoni, director;

Panama, “Ruben Blades Is Not My Name,” Abner Benaim, director;

Paraguay, “The Heiresses,” Marcelo Martinessi, director;

Peru, “Eternity,” Oscar Catacora, director;

Philippines, “Signal Rock,” Chito S. Roño, director;

Poland, “Cold War,” Pawel Pawlikowski, director;

Portugal, “Pilgrimage,” João Botelho, director;

Romania, “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians,” Radu Jude, director;

Russia, “Sobibor,” Konstantin Khabensky, director;

Serbia, “Offenders,” Dejan Zecevic, director;

Singapore, “Buffalo Boys,” Mike Wiluan, director;

Slovakia, “The Interpreter,” Martin Šulík, director;

Slovenia, “Ivan,” Janez Burger, director;

South Africa, “Sew the Winter to My Skin,” Jahmil X.T. Qubeka, director;

South Korea, “Burning,” Lee Chang-dong, director;

Spain, “Champions,” Javier Fesser, director;

Sweden, “Border,” Ali Abbasi, director;

Switzerland, “Eldorado,” Markus Imhoof, director;

Taiwan, “The Great Buddha+,” Hsin-Yao Huang, director;

Thailand, “Malila The Farewell Flower,” Anucha Boonyawatana, director;

Tunisia, “Beauty and the Dogs,” Kaouther Ben Hania, director;

Turkey, “The Wild Pear Tree,” Nuri Bilge Ceylan, director;

Ukraine, “Donbass,” Sergei Loznitsa, director;

United Kingdom, “I Am Not a Witch,” Rungano Nyoni, director;

Uruguay, “Twelve-Year Night,” Álvaro Brechner, director;

Venezuela, “The Family,” Gustavo Rondón Córdova, director;

Vietnam, “The Tailor,” Buu Loc Tran, Kay Nguyen, directors;

Yemen, “10 Days before the Wedding,” Amr Gamal, director.

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