Friday, February 22, 2013

Oscar Winners Predictions & Buzz - Foreign Films

     I tried to wait until I could see the Live-Action Shorts before I did this next post, but I'm not sure that I'm going to have the opportunity (and time is running out before the Oscars).  So (as always) the buzz rankings come first with previous rankings listed in parenthesis.  My relative shots in the dark follow on the second lists...

Live-Action Short
  1.(1) Curfew - Shawn Christensen
  2.(4) Asad - Bryan Buckley & Mino Jarjoura
  3.(8) Buzkashi Boys - Sam French & Ariel Nasr
  4.(2) Death of a Shadow - Tom Van Avermaet & Ellen De Waele
  5.(6) Henry - Yan England
  Leaving the Rankings: When You Find Me, 9 Meter, The Night Shift Belongs To The Stars, Salar, Kiluna-Kigali
     None of the nominees this year have any previous nominations, so no one gets through because they are viewed as overdue, which makes this a real crap shoot.  Still, I'm gonna say...
  1. Buzkashi Boys...Curfew still leads in buzz by a fair margin, but I sense a change in the air and this film has had the most dramatic rise in buzz in the final minutes of the game.
  2. Asad...Same as above only slightly less exponential increase in buzz.
  3. Curfew...Which isn't to say that the film that has held front runner status since the short list was announced doesn't still have a great shot.
  4. Death of a Shadow...This film's steady decline in buzz would have landed it at number five on my list if not for the appearance of international star Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust and Bone, Bullhead) in its cast.
  5. Henry...Absolutely no one seems to think that this picture is going to win, and its mild surprise of a nomination doesn't seem to have changed that one little bit.

Foreign Language Film
  1.(1) Austria - Amour
  2.(3) Denmark - A Royal Affair
  3.(4) Chile - No
  4.(7) Canada - War Witch
  5.(8) Norway - Kon-Tiki
  Leaving the Rankings:  France - The Intouchables, Romania - Beyond the Hills, Iceland - The Deep
     The more obscure (to American audiences) that the films are in a category, the more difficult it usually is to predict  a winner, and thus the Foreign Film field is often rife with upset potential.  However,  when there is a clear cut high profile front runner without any real competition...
  1. Amour...It is very difficult to imagine that Amour will not win Best Foreign Language film.  First, it is the only contender from a film maker who directed a previous nominee.  Second, it was by far the most acclaimed international player on the 2012 film festival circuit.  Most importantly, however, it has four nominations outside of this category, demonstrating widespread Academy support of the sort that non-English language films rarely enjoy.  In fact, in the last forty years of Oscar history, only 4 non-English language films have garnered Best Picture nominations.  Of those, two films made it through the often capricious Foreign Language Film selection process to a nomination (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon & Life Is Beautiful) also won the category.
  2. War Witch...IF something WERE to upset in this category, it would most likely be something that came out of nowhere, rather than a film that people have been weighing against Amour all year long.  This film, premiering near the end of the major festivals, fits that bill.  In addition, this is Canada's third nomination in a row, with no wins...ever.  This could lead to some sentiment that the nation's film industry is overdue for some love.
  3. No...IF something that has long been considered an "other contender" for this category upset, I think it most likely that it would be No.  The film has been divisive, but those who love it, LOVE IT.  The fact that it earned a nomination over much more generally digestible films, such as France's The Intouchables indicate that enough people fell on the "LOVE IT" side to seriously the race.
  4. Kon-Tiki...We're really getting into the ludicrously small probabilities here.  This film is nearly as much of a tertiary contender now as it was before the nominations.
  5. A Royal Affair...A very good film that inspires more "like" than "love".  It has been thought of for over six months now as one of the films that would probably get the chance to lose to Amour.  Sometimes early buzz is right on.

Related Articles:  Oscar Winner Predictions & Buzz: Of Snubs and Triumphs (preview), Musical Techs (Score and Song), Noisy Techs (Sound Editing & Sound Mixing), Pretty People Techs (Costume Design & Make-Up and Hairstyling), Pretty Picture Techs (Cinematography & Production Design), Finishing Touch Techs (Editing & Visual Effects), Toons of Any Length (Animated Feature & Animated Short), Docs of Any Length (Documentary Feature & Documentary Short), Screenplays (Adapted & Original), Supporting Players (Supporting Actor & Supporting Actress), Actor and ActressRent and Honed (Rust and Bone review), Above All, Like a Bullheaded Man (Bullhead review), To Royal Effect (A Royal Affair review)

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