We’ve already shared some news in our favourite non-acting Oscar category. The most exciting thing at the moment is the Danish finalists which include a film called either Promised Land or Bastard (depending on where its playing). Elisa tells us that its going to be a major contender and could even bag Mads Mikkelsen the Best Actor win in Venice. Other recent Oscar updates for this category involved submissions from Estonia, South Korea and Uruguay and a finalist list from Netherlands, and news from Switzerland, Chile, and Tajikstan. We now have 13 submissions. The charts have been updated. The latest exciting news is the finalist lists from two important countries who historically perform well in this category, Mexico and Sweden…
- SHAYDA for Australia. Watch out for this drama starring the talented Zar Amir Ebrahami (Holy Spider) which premiered at Sundance. It’s about an Iranian refugee hiding in a woman’s shelter in Australia from her controlling husband. It’s emotional and accessible so it might be a shortlister. But does it have too much English to qualify? We’ll see.
- ROJEK for Canada
- THE SETTLERS for Chile
- A MALE for Colombia
- SMOKE SAUNA SISTERHOOD for Estonia
- THE TEACHER’S LOUNGE for Germany. Never underestimate Germany in this category. They’re leading in the 21st century with 9 nominations, 5 finalists, and 3 wins in the past 22 years alone!
- THE ERECTION OF TORIBO BADELLI for Peru
- MARRY MY DEAD BODY for Taiwan (currently streaming on Netflix!) A gay comedy about a ghost husband? Okay, Taiwan. That’s a risky Oscar choice!
- FOUR DAUGHTERS for Tunisia. Another one to watch out for. Kaouther Ben Hania brought Tunisia its first Oscar nomination with The Man Who Sold His Skin (2020) and this is the third time Tunisia has submitted one of her films. It’s a documentary about a family of women (two daughters have gone missing) that plays with the form since actors are also involved.
AND THE FINALIST LISTS…
MEXICO (9 noms / 1 win / 4 additional finalists)
Mexico finally won this category with Roma and they’ve had three consecutive years on the “finalist” list without actually netting a follow up nomination. In other words can they break that lucky/unlucky spell this year? Here are their finalists for the submission:
* The Director has had a film submitted to the Oscar race previously by Mexico
- The Great Seduction (Ceiso R Garcia) – A comedy about a small fishing town (Currently streaming on Netflix). Garcia is best known for his debut film The Thin Yellow Line (2015).
- Huesera: The Bone Woman (Michelle Garza Cervera) – A horror film about a pregnant woman who senses something is wrong. A feature debut. (Currently streaming on Shudder)
- Noise (Natalie Beristain) – A drama about a mother and her long missing daughter. (Currently streaming on Netflix)
- ¡Que Viva México! (Luis Estreda) – A comedy about inheritance disputes when a grandfather dies. Damián Alcazar (Crime of Padre Amaro) and Alfonso Herrera (Sense8) star
- Totém (Lila Avilés*) – A drama about a young girl at her grandfather’s birthday party. Lila Aviles had a major critical success a handful of years ago with The Chambermaid (2018) which was submitted to the Oscars.
- Where the Tracks Ends (Ernesto Contreras) – A dramedy starring Oscar-nominee Adriana Barraza (Babel). She plays a teacher in rural Mexico determined to make a difference with the children in her class. (Currently streaming on Netflix)
Care to guess which they’ll submit?
SWEDEN (16 noms | 3 wins | 4 additional finalists)
Sweden once towered over Denmark in the Oscar race but lately they’ve been trailing considerably. In the 21st century the most buzz they’ve ever managed was for Ruben Östlund’s The Square (2017) which landed a nomination after its Palme D’Or win. Oscar is still paying attention though, so it won’t be long until they’re nominated again. Will it be this year? Their finalists are…
* The Director has had a film submitted to the Oscar race previously by Sweden
- Opponent (Milad Alami) – A drama about Iranian refugees in a hotel in Northern Sweden. The father joins a local wrestling club. Payman Maadi (A Separation) stars. The director himself was an Iranian refugee in Sweden when he was a child.
- Paradise is Burning (Mika Gustafson) – This narrative feature debut from Gustafson is about three abandoned daughters who have to find a stand-in for their missing mother when social services comes calling.
- Together 99 (Lukas Moodyson*) – This is a sequel to one of Moodyson’s best films Together (2000) which was about a 1970s commune. It’s set in 1999 and returns to the commune which is now just two people but they’re planning a reunion. Sweden submitted Moodyson twice before for films Oscar never would have touched but both were excellent: The teen lesbian classic Show Me Love (also known as Fucking Åmål) and the memorable searing sex trafficking drama Lilya 4-ever. Moodyson hasn’t been prolific these past ten years but his most recent previous feature We Are the Best! (2013), about a teen girl band, is a great time.
Sweden will announce their submission on September 21st.