The 15-title shortlist for the international feature category will be announced Dec. 21, with 92 titles vying for a featured spot ahead of the Oscar voting period that begins Jan. 12. In the past five years, four countries have earned three mentions on the shortlist: Denmark, Germany, Mexico and Russia. If those countries’ past luck with the Academy is an indication of this year’s shortlist, then voters may have a chance to honor Denmark’s Holy Spider, Germany’s All Quiet on the Western Front and Mexico’s Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths. (The Russian Film Academy announced Sept. 26 that it would not submit a film for consideration.)
Other major contenders this season are Austria’s Corsage (which won actress Vicky Krieps the Un Certain Regard award for best performance at Cannes), Belgium’s Close (winner of the Cannes Grand Prix and selected by the National Board of Review for best international film), Cambodia’s Return to Seoul (selected as best film by the Boston Society of Film Critics), France’s Saint Omer (winner of the Venice International Film Festival’s Silver Lion), Pakistan’s Joyland (winner of the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at Cannes), Poland’s EO (named best international film by the New York Film Critics Circle) and South Korea’s Decision to Leave (which won Park Chan-wook the prize for best director at Cannes).
Despite earning a Golden Globe nom for best motion picture, non-English-language, on Dec. 12, one should not expect to see S.S. Rajamouli’s historical action epic RRR on the international feature shortlist. India’s official Oscar submission is director Pan Nalin’s coming-of-age movie Last Film Show, about a young boy who aspires to become a filmmaker. But that doesn’t prevent RRR from being an Oscar contender in other categories, especially for the original song heard in its wildly popular dance-battle sequence, “Naatu Naatu.”
This story first appeared in the Dec. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.