Friday, December 18, 2015

Check Out the 7 Candidates on the Shortlist for Best Foreign Film

Scene from Mustang
It seems like a ridiculously packed week for those wondering what is making the cut for this year's Oscars. In the past week alone, I have written articles regarding Best Picture, Best Hair and Make-Up, Best Original Song, and Best Original Score. It's an insanely packed field, but it's interesting to see what's making the final cut. Finishing off this week is a look at another category that many likely don't think of too often: Best Foreign Film. While I have tried to make effort to cover it more frequently, I still feel like it's one of the most wildly unpredictable categories that I talk about on The Oscar Buzz. Also, if you're not into sifting through long, long lists, then you may want to give this one a shot. It only has seven. The following is the shortlist contenders followed by the countries in parenthesis. Also, there will be general thoughts on the category as it stands.

The Brand New Testament (Belgium)
Embrace of the Serpent (Colombia)
A War (Denmark)
The Fencer (Finland)
Mustang (France)
Labyrinth of Lies (Germany)
Son of Saul (Hungary)
Viva (Ireland)
Theeb (Jordan)

As one can likely predict by my lack of coverage, I have not seen any of these movies. However, I have heard great things about Son of Saul and its harrowing depiction of the Holocaust. I am sure that as momentum builds, more people will talk about it and it may stand a better chance of making the final cut. The only other film on this list that I am aware of Mustang - which also has appeared on many Best of 2015 lists and has been considered a French version of Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides. Considering that I like said movie, I am willing to accept that as a compliment. However, my attention to Mustang is relatively new, so there might not be a chance that some other one of these have been under my radar and will usurp it in the end.

There's a lot of easy complaints to be made about what didn't make the final cut. For starters, the acclaimed A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence isn't present, thus making Sweden two-for-two with no category nomination, following last year's better Force Majeure. I personally didn't like their entry this year and found it too slow, but could appreciate it from an aesthetic standpoint. Likewise, a film that has been building momentum that I'm shocked to see missing is Phoenix. Much like Mustang, it's only a film that I recently became aware of - thanks in part to Netflix On Demand. It's excellently directed and features what is likely one of the best endings of any film of the year. These are the ones that I'm surprised to not see on here, despite having different reactions to both.

So what do you think? Is there any film on here that shouldn't be, or is the final five looking to have an impressive bunch? 

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