Oscar: Best International Feature Film – Final Prediction & Opinion

During the last two weeks, I have set out on a super-mission to try and summarize for you more than 70 films that I have seen among the Oscar nominees in the category of Best International Film. Unfortunately, I did not have enough time to cover all of them, and tonight the American Academy will publish a shortlist of 15 selected films.

There are a few more hours before, so I will take advantage of them and share my personal list and prediction with you. But do not worry! Later I will publish reviews for the rest of the films from the remaining regions.

I watched 81 of the 93 nominated films. The first of those was during the Jerusalem Film Festival in 2019, the Peruvian “Song Without a Name” and the last one just a few days ago – the Spanish “The Endless Trench” on Netflix. I will base my prediction according to them …

The only notable film I was not able watch is the Lebanese “Broken Keys” about a pianist trying to repair his instrument in an ISIS-controlled Syrian city. Some predict that it will appear on the shortlist, but I will not include it in the list as mentioned. Sorry, Lebanon is not personal.

Compared to previous years, following the coronavirus, official voting time was shortened from two months to one month only (even less). The shortlist expanded from 9-10 films to 15. Also, the International Executive Committee was abolished this year, and the entire list is selected by the Academy voters who must prove that they have watched at least 12 films out of all the submitted films. Voting is done by rating the watched movies and not by selecting the nominated films. Therefore the artistic films or the lesser-known ones may find themselves off the list.

I will start with my personal rating and then move on to predictions. 

In alphabetical order:

  1. Bosnia and Herzegovina – Quo Vadis, Aida?
  2. France –  Two of Us
  3. Greece – Apples
  4. Iran     –  Sun Children
  5. Latvia –   Blizzard of Souls
  6. Lesotho – This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection
  7. Mexico –   I’m No Longer Here
  8. Mongolia – Veins of the World
  9. Poland – Never Gonna Snow Again
  10. Russia – Dear Comrades
  11. Slovakia – The Auschwitz Report
  12. Spain – The Endless Trench
  13. Sudan – You Will Die at Twenty
  14. Thailand – Happy Old Year
  15. Tunisia – The Man Who Sold His Skin

And now for the predictions, this how the fifteen films shortlist is going to look like:

Probably Locked:

  1. Denmark – Another Round
  2. France – Two of Us
  3. Bosnia and Herzegovina – Quo Vadis, Aida?

High chances to be on the list:

  1. Norway – Hope
  2. Russia –  Dear Comrades
  3. Mexico –  I’m No Longer Here
  4. Spain –    The Endless Trench

Very likely to be on the list:

  1. Romania – Collective  –  Everyone is predicting it, so who am I to disagree?
  2. Iran – Sun Children
  3. Slovakia – The Auschwitz Report

Probably would join them:

  1. Guatemala – La Llorona – If it has not been for so many Critics association nominations (including Golden Globes) I would probably leave it out. 
  2. Lesotho – This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection Very artistic, but I hope it’s too high-profiled to be snubbed. 
  3. Tunisia – The Man Who Sold His Skin
  4. Serbia – Dara of Jasenovac – I just would not bet against a little girl in a concentration camp.
  5. Poland – Never Gonna Snow Again

Any one of those can easily upset one of the countries above:

  1. Mongolia – Veins of the WorldI’m rooting for a surprise and hope it would on the right side of the board.
  2. The Czech Republic – Charlatan
  3. Chile – The Mole Agent
  4. Israel – Asia
  5. Ivory Coast – Night of the Kings – Same as Guatemala. Only “La Llorna” is a better film and has more nominations in its pocket.
  6. Hungary – Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time
  7. Greece – Apples
  8. Taiwan – A Sun – Many predict it, but I just can not see it happening.
  9. Sudan – You Will Die at 20
  10. Finland – Tove

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