Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

24 February 2012

2012's Nominees: Part 9 of 10

W Ciemności (In Darkness)
1 Nomination
  • Foreign Language Picture: Poland (Katyń, Man of Iron, Young Girls of Wilko, Nights and Days, The Deluge, Promised Land, Pharaoh, Knife in the Water)
Cast: Robert Wieckiewicz, Benno Fürmann, Agnieszka Grochowska, Maria Schrader, Herbert Knaup.

The older films that represented Poland with the Oscars have mostly been directed by the great Andrzej Wajda (Katyń, Man of Iron, Young Girls of Wilko, and Promised Land). Knife in the Water, the classic Polanski film, also has made an appearance in this category, before he started working in English with Repulsion. I didn't really realize Agniezska Holland was still making films in Poland. Her film Europa Europa was nominated for Original Screenplay back in 1992, and her Angry Harvest was nominated for Foreign Language Picture (for West Germany) in 1986. Since then she has been directing for The Wire and Treme, excellent credits to be sure. If any film this year can unseat favorite A Separation, it will be this one – WWII has been a favorite subject matter for this category for years.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: Foreign Language Picture
My Rating: Not ranked

Rundskop (Bullhead)
1 Nomination
  • Foreign Language Picture: Belgium (Everybody's Famous!, Farinelli, Daens, The Music Teacher, Peace in the Fields)
Director: Michaël R. Roskam
Cast: Matthias Schoenaerts, Jeroen Perceval, Jeanne Dandoy, Barbara Sarafian, Tibo Vandenborre.

This is only Belgium's sixth nomination. Historically, this country has succeeded by choosing period pieces/costume dramas (all of the films above except for Everybody's Famous! took place before 1930), and they have traditionally been Francophone films, as well. Bullhead is in both French and Dutch, and is set in contemporary Belgium. Lately the Academy has been happy to nominate exciting films and movies about violence, but they don't seem to want to give them the Oscar when it comes down to it. Still, the Oscar nomination hopefully means that people actually get out to see Bullhead.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: Not ranked

Footnote
1 Nomination
  • Foreign Language Picture: Israel (Ajami, Waltz with Bashir, Beaufort, Beyond the Walls, Operation Thunderbolt, The House on Chelouche Street, I Love You Rosa, The Policeman, Sallah)
Director: Joseph Cedar
Cast: Lior Ashkenazi, Shlomo Bar-Aba, Yuval Scharf, Alma Zack, Aliza Rosen.

This is Israel's fourth nomination in the last five years! Either the Israeli artistic group who chooses these films is really excellent or the Israeli film industry is really good at making films that appeal to the old USAmericans who vote for these things. Or both. Joseph Cedar has already been nominated in this category, as well, for 2008's Beaufort about the defense of a Fortress on the Lebanese border. The other two recent nominees, Ajami and Waltz with Bashir have also been very good. I am not expecting Footnote to take home the Oscar on Sunday, but I am, of course, happy that the Academy has maintained a sustained interest in the Middle East and its politics.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: Not ranked

Monsieur Lazhar
1 Nomination
  • Foreign Language Picture: Canada (Incendies, Water, The Barbarian Invasions, Jesus in Montreal, The Decline of the American Empire)
Cast: Mohammed Fellag, Sophie Nélisse, Émilien Néron, Danielle Proulx, Brigitte Poupart.

This is Canada's second nomination in two years. And one of the great things about Canadian cinema, it seems to me, is that – since the Academy changed its rules on exactly which language constitutes a "foreign" languageCanada has been submitting films about its immigrant populations and by its immigrant filmmakers. (Prior to this shift, all of the nominated films in this category had been directed by the great Denys Arcand.) Last year's Incendies (of which I was not particularly fond) is about Lebanese immigrants, and Indian-born Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta's wonderful Water doesn't even take place in Canada. Monsieur Lazhar is about an Algerian immigrant. I love this shift, and I look forward to this film. I should also note that both Monsieur Lazhar and Incendies were based on plays (by Évelyne de la Chenelière and Wajdi Mouwad, respectively).
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My RatingNot ranked