Foreign Language Oscar Preview: A Long List Of Strong Contenders For Such A Shortlist Of Possible Nominees

oscarLast year, I offered up a preview of the 15 films that had the most buzz going into the unveiling of the Foreign Language Oscar shortlist. Somehow this year, with a record 76 entries (last year it was 71), I whittled down another 15 films that have a shot at the shortlist which is expected to be finalized later this week. This was not an easy task in one of the strongest fields for foreign film in recent years. While 2012′s eventual winner Amour seemed like a foregone conclusion, this year has any number of possible outcomes. Movies that started their careers in Berlin and Cannes are represented below, but so are others that didn’t make it to those high-profile events. I spoke with the directors of each film about their inspirations and expectations, and in some cases with the U.S. distributor about what gave them the confidence to acquire. Notably, Harvey Weinstein clarifies the controversy surrounding an edit of Wong Kar Wai’s Hong Kong entry The Grandmaster. There’s also a lot more here from folks like Paolo Sorrentino, Thomas Vinterberg and Sebastian Lelio, among many others. The rules for selecting the final winner have changed this year with the entire Academy voting body able to weigh in without proving they have seen the films in a movie theater. But the regs for establishing the shortlist remain the same: The Phase I committee determines six of the nine films on the shortlist. The other three titles will be determined by the select Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee. Those three extra titles might have international renown but been somehow overlooked by the larger committee (wink, wink City Of God, 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days and others). After that, an uber-committee of 30 higher profile members chooses the ultimate five nominees after viewing the finalists over the course of a long weekend. Below (in alphabetical order by title) are profiles of the 15 films that I believe have a shot at the first stage: Read More »

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Golden Horse Awards: Singapore Oscar Entry ‘Ilo Ilo,’ Wong Kar-Wai’s ‘The Grandmaster’ Win 2013 Honors

By | Saturday November 23, 2013 @ 12:00pm PST

Singapore’s Best Foreign Oscar hopeful Ilo Ilo took home top honors at the 50th Golden Horse Awards, where the Cannes Camera d’Or winner also nabbed Best New Director (Anthony Chen), Best Supporting Actress (YEO Yann Yann), and Best Original Screenplay. The drama acquired by Film Movement is primed for an early 2014 theatrical release. Wong Kar-Wai’s The Grandmaster nabbed Best Actress (Zhang Ziyi), Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Makeup/Costumes, and Best Visual Effects. The martial arts biographical drama, released by TWC stateside, also won the Audience Award while Jackie Chan and his CZ12 team took home kudos for Best Action Choreography. Scroll down for full winners: Read More »

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