Do you remember which movie won the Oscar for best foreign language film in 2017? Neither do I. (Ok, not true, it was “The Salesman.”) But if you want to hold your own around the water cooler in the run up to the Academy Awards on March 4, you’re going to need to stay on top of this most fickle of Oscar races.
The “other” best picture category is just as hotly contested and one of the toughest awards to predict (case in point: Golden Globe-winner “Into the Fade” was snubbed by the Academy). It’s a rare opportunity for world cinema to have its moment in the Hollywood spotlight, and this year’s Oscar nominees include prize winners at Cannes, Berlin, Venice and London film festivals.
Chile’s “A Fantastic Woman” leads the pack among bookmakers — it would be a first for the country, should it win. Still, awards season observers consider the category competitive, so here’s what you need to know.Sebastian Lelio’s “A Fantastic Woman” was underpinned by a dazzling performance from breakout star Daniela Vega. She plays Marina, a trans woman mourning the death of her older lover in Santiago — a process complicated by the deceased’s ex-wife and children, who are out to persecute her. The film lays bare the stigmas faced by Chile’s trans community, but stills manages to be joyous, thanks largely to our no-holds-barred protagonist. Whether she’s stomping on car roofs or laying down moves on the dance floor, we’re more than happy to go along for the ride.
ritical darling and controversial figure back home, Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev receives his second Oscar nomination for “Loveless.” After ruffling feathers with “Leviathan” (2014), in which he took on state corruption, Zvyagintsev returned with this intimate tale of runaway boy Alyosha and his divorcing parents in Moscow. Forced to tolerate each other in the hunt as they face bureaucratic red tape, our sympathies lie with the son. Zvyagintsev keeps the political commentary on a low simmer, but when it bubbles up it’s blistering. Like the bleak Russian winter, “Loveless” offers cold comfort for the soul.
The 2018 Oscars are right around the corner, and this year’s show is already set up to prove why the Academy Awards are dubbed “Hollywood’s biggest night of the year.”
For starters, Jimmy Kimmel will take the stage to host the Oscars live from the Dolby Theater in Hollywood for the second year in a row.
And if that’s not cool enough in itself, this year’s show could bring some history-making moments. Not only is Rachel Morrison the very first woman to ever be nominated for Best Cinematography due to her work on Mudbound, Greta Gerwig became just the fifth woman to be nominated for Best Directing for Lady Bird.
And while we’re on the topic of awesome directors, Get Out’s Jordan Peele is also nominated for Best Directing, and if he wins, he’ll become the first-ever African-American director to do so.