The submissions for the 86th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film are about to end, the last date being 1st October 2013. Already about 56 countries have given their submissions and that number should increase as the final date approaches. Nine finalists are to be shortlisted in mid-January, and then the final five nominees would be announced later in that month. It is not only an honour for the individual movies to be selected from numerous movies of their own country, but also a way to spread the word about their movie across the globe without having to pay for the additional publicity. And if you fall in that final nominee list, and if you turn out to be that singular movie to carry home the award, you do go down in history as a movie to be watched by one and all! So no wonder this nomination list creates quite a stir. Lately many submissions from various countries have been announced so as to beat the deadline. Well, we haven’t watched these movies, but we plan to do our bit in spreading the awareness. So we are picking up the nominees from the countries that have had an Oscar winner in recent years, and providing a brief plotline. Be sure to watch it, if it gets you interested!
Austria: This country’s Amour was highly rated last year, and an obvious winner in this Oscar category considering that it had also been nominated in the Best Picture category (apart from the Foreign Language category). So it remains a tough task to follow for the new entrant from Austria, The Wall (“Die Wand”). The plot is quite interesting though, a fantasy based tale on “a woman who finds herself cut off from all human contact when an invisible wall suddenly surrounds the countryside. Accompanied by her loyal dog, she becomes immersed in a world untouched by civilization and ruled by the laws of nature.”
Denmark: The country had seen a winner in 2010 with its film In a Better World. Last year too, the Danish movie A Royal Affair made it to the final list of five. Mads Mikkelsen who starred in last year’s movie and is a well-known personality in Hollywood too (he recently played Dr. Hannibal Lecter in the TV series Hannibal), plays the central character in this year’s Danish nominated film The Hunt (“Jagten”). One of the leading favourites for the Oscar race this year, The Hunt is the story of “a teacher who lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son’s custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.”
Germany: The last German winner at the Oscars was The Lives of Others in 2006, which holds an 8.5 rating on Imdb. A year when one of the nominees not to win the award was Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth. German movies made the final nomination list in 2008 and 2009 as well but could not clinch the prize. So much would be expected from this year’s nominated film Two Lives (“Zwei Leben“). A drama-film, the story revolves around “Katherine, a war child between a Norwegian woman and a German occupation soldier during World War II. When a lawyer asks her and her mother to witness in a trial against the Norwegian state on behalf of the war children, she resists. Gradually, a web of concealment and secrets is unveiled, until Katrine is finally stripped of everything, and her loved ones are forced to take a stand.”
Chile: Gloria is the official entry by Chile, following last year’s No which had made it to the top five. Gloria had been premiered in the Berlin International Film Festival, where Paulina García won the Silver Bear for Best Actress. It is the story centered on “Gloria, a free-spirited older woman, and the realities of her whirlwind relationship with a former naval officer whom she meets out in the clubs.”
Italy: One of the greatest moments for the country at the Oscars would have been in 1998 when Life is Beautiful bagged three Oscars including the one in this category. This year’s nominee The Great Beauty (“La grande bellezza”) has already been receiving positive buzz and was nominated for the Palme d’Orat the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. It is the story of “an aging writer who bitterly recollects his passionate, lost youth.”
Spain: The winning movie from Spain at the 2004 Academy Awards The Sea Inside is well-known due to the presence of a certain Javier Bardem. There is no Bardem though in this year’s entry 15 Years and One Day (“15 años y un día”) which is the story of “a strained parent/child relationship. The troubled son is sent to live with his grandfather, an ex-soldier, but he eventually ends in with a local gang and more troubles follow.”
This is just a brief list of the foreign films nominated for the Academy Award by their respective countries. The winner might well turn out to be some other from the long list of movies sent across. As the announcement for the final nomination list approaches, the makers of their films are likely to spend more time in promoting their works and creating more awareness about them. Till then, for those who enjoy seeking the joys from watching movies of different cultures and different backgrounds, with vast stories and emotions, the above list is a good way to begin. And if you need more, the complete submission list can be found here.