Foreign Language Film

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Postby Okri » Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:22 am

Magilla, The White Ribbon is definitely about the seeds of fascism in Germany in the early 20th Century, it definitely is not baity. It's manner is too esoteric, too allegorical, too ascetic or this group. It would be a genuine shocker if it won.

A Prophet, as Italiano mentions, is not only more mainstream (it follows the arc of a young man sent to prison), it's also a masterpiece (blows everything form 2009 out of the water, imo). It's a bit of a slow builder, though, and the general muting of catharsis makes it an unlikely candidate. If it wasn't as good as it was, I wouldn't be predicting it.

The biggest shocker was when they ignored the Dutch War Film, which I thought was gonna win. Ajami could take it, I agree - I think it's between Ajami and The Secret of Her Eyes.

Lives of Others wasn't fantasy, and to AMPAS, that makes it a bit more mainstream. It is a lot better than Pan's Labyrinth though and I cheered for it when it won. That said, having seen Departures, I think it's win is a crime (hate that movie).

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Postby ITALIANO » Sat Feb 13, 2010 5:52 am

OscarGuy wrote:Pan's Labyrinth was also about the seeds of fascism and was nominated in far more categories, even winning a few. It still lost to the more mainstream The Lives of Others.

Well, if childish Pan's Labyrinth is a complex analysis about the seeds of fascism and Lives of Others is a more mainstream movie I can throw off my window all the history books I studied on for years. Can't we just admit that for once the better movie won? No, it seems.

And by the way, very often Foreign Film nominees which are nominated in other categories end up empty handed. Ask Wertmuller, Scola, Risi, Tacchella, Pontecorvo, Malle, many others. Because of the peculiar way Foreign Film is voted, it has always been one of the most difficult to predict. So, in theory, The White Ribbon might have better chances in Best Cinematography than in Best Foreign Film. (Though of course being foreign and in black and white makes even Best Cinematography an interesting but risky bet),

If I hadn't known the precursors, I'd say, honestly, that it doesn't have any chance of winning. It's not the kind of movie Americans like, let's face it. Still, it seems they DID - if not like - appreciate it, and especially after it won the Golden Globe over some easier, crowd-pleasing movies, I began to think it can make it in March too.

Otherwise, the French candidate - which I haven't seen but I've heard only great things about, and it's a "crime movie", a genre Americans can easily relate too - or even the one from Argentine can certainly be possible alternatives.

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Postby Precious Doll » Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:55 am

The fantasy aspects of Pan's Labyrinth probably did it no favors in this category.
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Postby Uri » Sat Feb 13, 2010 2:52 am

Sabin wrote:
Pan's Labyrinth was also about the seeds of fascism and was nominated in far more categories, even winning a few. It still lost to the more mainstream The Lives of Others.

The Lives of Others is more mainstream than Pan's Labyrinth?

Actually, yes. Certainly politically wise.

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Postby Sabin » Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:23 am

Pan's Labyrinth was also about the seeds of fascism and was nominated in far more categories, even winning a few. It still lost to the more mainstream The Lives of Others.

The Lives of Others is more mainstream than Pan's Labyrinth?
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Postby OscarGuy » Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:12 am

Pan's Labyrinth was also about the seeds of fascism and was nominated in far more categories, even winning a few. It still lost to the more mainstream The Lives of Others.

I think people are also discounting Ajami. I've heard a lot of people impressed with it. It's political and more accessible than something like The White Ribbon. Not having seen any of these, I could see any of the films winning here.
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Postby Big Magilla » Fri Feb 12, 2010 10:14 pm

Just two years ago people were saying that films like No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood weren't Oscar type films either.

I haven't seen The White Ribbon yet, and you guys may well be right, but a film about the seeds of fascism seems awfully Oscar bait-y to me. Besides which it's nominated for Best Cinematography. Nods beyond the foreign language category always make voters sit up and take notice.

Haneke has been around long enough now to have become known even in the hills of Beverly. Even if they don't understand it, they may well appreciate it as the work of a master.
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Postby Okri » Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:43 pm

I think the Argentine film will win it.

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Postby The Original BJ » Fri Feb 12, 2010 9:18 pm

I have to agree with the others here: having only seen The White Ribbon (a perfectly deserving candidate), I must acknowledge that it's just not the type of movie that wins here. It's too auteurist-y, too grim, and for chrissakes, it's not even in color!!

The other highly buzzed title, A Prophet, which opens here in LA in two weeks, looks good, but also doesn't seem like what the voters in this branch fancy.

But I'm not familiar enough with any of the other titles to make a prediction. (Had I seen Departures last year before the Oscars, I would have definitely predicted it for the win.)

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Postby Sabin » Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:17 pm

If this branch chose Departures over Waltz with Bashir and The Class (which I called), then there's no way they're going for the two-and-a-half hours of bad touch that is The White Ribbon.
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Postby rain Bard » Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:39 pm

I've only seen The White Ribbon, but my immediate instinct is that it's not the of film type that wins this award anymore. Aesthetically, thematically, etc.

It also doesn't have the profile of a film that wins these days. Winning the Cannes Palme d'or seems to equate with "overrated" (or perhaps simply "rewarded enough") in the eyes of this category's voters.

Remember that current rules state that everyone who votes in this category has to verify that they've seen all five films AT ACADEMY-SPONSORED SCREENINGS. Watched one of the nominated films on screener? Or theatrically? Or at a prior festival? Then you have to watch it again at one of the screening sites. I imagine this makes the voting pool extremely small and possibly close-knit, which could help explain surprise choices like last year's Departures.

I'm guessing that the award will go to one of the South American nominees. I should see them all before going on a limb, but if I had to lock a prediction in today, it might be The Milk Of Sorrow.

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Postby Precious Doll » Wed Feb 10, 2010 3:28 pm

I haven't seen any of the films yet though will be seeing A Prophet tonight.

I'm inclined to predict The Secret in Their Eyes from Argentina for two reasons.

It's been very well received and it sounds like to most accessible of the bunch.
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Postby Movielover » Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:32 pm

So far have seen The White Ribbon and Ajami... I would say neither of these films are worthy of the award. A nomination - yes... the win, no.

Anyone have any thoughts on what will win?


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