Academy Announces Record-Breaking 85 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Entries

     October 11, 2016

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Historically speaking, the Oscars have never been great about picking the right films to nominate for the coveted Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. And then, even amongst the limited selection, there’s rarely been a winner that was even the best amongst its brood. Last year, Son of Saul, a fine but limited film, beat out far more ambitious fare in Embrace of the Serpent, Mustang, and Theeb. In 2012, Amour, another fine but limited movie, won over No, Pablo Larrain’s funny, vital, and politically ambitious reflection of a media-fueled campaign to get rid of Pinochet. But hey, nobody’s perfect…

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Image via Sony

Still, it’s good to hear that, as Variety reports, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be looking at some 85 entries for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. The list is long and just added another hefty abundance to my to-watch list, but already some prize masterworks already stick out. There’s no proper way to prepare the unindoctrinated about Paul Verhoeven‘s nefarious, brilliant Elle, a prize piece of psychological warfare weighted to the unvanquishable Isabelle Huppert as a deeply unsentimental CEO of a video game company. Then there’s the exasperatingly ingenious Toni Erdmann, the third film from Germany’s Maren Ade and proof positive that she is one of her country’s most refreshingly experienced artistic voices.

Perdo Almodovar‘s Julieta is easily one of the Spanish icon’s best works to date, a romantic, noir-tinged melodrama about a mother looking for her daughter, and Neruda, a devastatingly thoughtful, hugely fictional supposition on the poet-turned-politician on the lam from government agents, confirms Larrain as a heavyweight in the international cinema scene.  There are plenty more highlights to take a look at below, and this does make me have a strange sort of sympathy for the Academy. I don’t envy having to narrow all of this down to a handful of worthy titles.

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