2023 Oscars, Best International Feature Film Prediction

The international film that broke into the competition of the best films has already won the Oscar for the best international film for several years.

We’ll be updating these predictions throughout awards season, so stay tuned to IndieWire for our 2023 Oscars picks. The final vote will take place between March 2 and 7, 2023. The 95th Academy Awards will air on Sunday, March 12th and will air live on ABC at 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT.

Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson collaborate on updating category predictions. Check out Thompson’s preliminary thoughts on what to expect at the 95th Academy Awards here and previous predictions for the category here.

State of the species

It is starting to happen more and more often that the front-runner of the best international feature film category receives the best film. From ‘Roma’ to ‘Parasite’ and ‘Drive My Car’, non-English feature support in both categories is a good indication that this is at least a sure win for International. In the case of this year’s clear front-runner, the situation is even more marked than usual, as director Edward Berger’s war epic “All Quiet on the Western Front” won nine nominations this year, including several craft categories in addition to the international and visual categories. With obvious strength across multiple branches of the Academy, as well as a strong Netflix Awards campaign, it will be hard to beat.

The lively and visceral adaptation of Berger’s 1929 novel — the first by a German director, but the third full-length cinematic effort — didn’t emerge as the clear front-runner when it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall. At the time, several Cannes winners were already in the mix, including Park Chan-wook’s detective noir Decision to Leave (which had its admirers, but some found it too long or slow), and the Austrian period piece “Corsage” (a fantastic showcase for Un Certain Regard for Best Actress, Vicky Krieps).

However, the two Cannes films that made the cut, the tragic Belgian coming-of-age drama “Close” and the Polish donkey odyssey “EO,” have yet to launch their campaigns. There was no obvious front-runner from the festival or elsewhere. Having initially sensed an opening on Netflix following Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu’s “Bardo,” “All Quiet” was quickly thrown into the mix in the weeks following its festival run with high-profile Academy screenings that included superfan Benedict Cumberbatch. As the rest of the season took shape, it became clear that the film also benefited from its lack of any of the traditional large-scale war epics that Hollywood likes to celebrate. Its old-school appeal benefits voters with more traditional sensibilities.

However, it’s not the only one that fits that bill. Chilean director Santiago Mitre’s Golden Globe-winning film “Argentina 1985” stars (and was produced by) the country’s most famous actor, Ricardo Darín, as eccentric lawyer Julio César Strassera, who risked his life to lead the so-called “Trial of the Juntas.” . prosecution of the leaders of the country’s military dictatorship. The film is the third collaboration between Darín and Miter, who worked together on immersive recreations of televised courtroom proceedings, most of which were filmed in the rooms where they took place.

Argentina 1985

“Argentina, 1985”

Amazon Studios

Amazon Studios’ presentation in Venice comes shortly after the attempted assassination of Argentina’s vice president, as the country faces a new era of dangerous extremism and division, adding further topicality. The recent Golden Globe winner may appeal to Academy voters, who prefer a more timely subject matter, and Darín, who previously starred in the 2009 International Academy Award winner “The Secrets in Their Eyes,” may be worth rewarding. It is the only Latin American contender in the category, after Mexico’s “Bardo” didn’t make it and Darius Khondji was nominated for best cinematography instead.

Also worth mentioning: Argentinians cheering for the film’s success noted a possible historical parallel: the country won its first Oscar in 1986 for Luis Puenzo’s “The Official Story”, which also won the World Cup of the year. first; it was the second time last December. So if the past is prologue and there is a cosmic order to the universe… don’t count on it.

Meanwhile, A24 made the strategic decision to open “Close” in January, close to the nomination deadline, which appears to have worked in the film’s favor. 31-year-old filmmaker Lukas Dhont’s sophomore effort with this tearjerker about a 13-year-old boy takes over his 2018 debut “Girl” (which didn’t make the shortlist after angering some members of the trans community Eden Dambrine) who has a close friendship with his partner , with Rémi, which falls apart after schoolyard bullying strains their relationship. The film won the Cannes Grand Prix and could win over Academy voters looking for a more intimate and universally emotional story beyond a bigger-budget offering.

As for “EO,” which won 84-year-old Polish auteur Jerzy Skolimowski the Cannes Jury Prize (which he shared with “Eight Mountains”): this bold, often wordless exploration of animal intelligence may be the most ambitious aesthetic yet . business in this category, although some voters, uncomfortable with animal suffering, are reluctant to buy into it. However, the film still made the shortlist, and “EO” has been generating buzz in theaters for months, similar to distributor Sideshow’s “Drive My Car” last year. Unlike leading behemoth Netflix, a vote to “EO” is essentially an endorsement of the platform’s arthouse release, which has become an ugly option in the streaming era.

The international category often ends with at least one surprise, such as 2020’s “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom,” which earned Bhutan its first Oscar nomination after a minimal presence at the festival. This year, the slot marks another historic first, with ‘A Quiet Girl’ Ireland’s first nomination in the category. The film, which premiered in the Generation Kplus section of the Berlinale almost a year ago, began generating underwhelming momentum after Ireland became the first country to announce its Oscars earlier this summer. Neon’s publisher, Super Ltd, gave him a qualifying run in December. The film, an adaptation of Claire Keegan’s story, is set in 1981 and follows a young woman (Catherine Clinch) who spends the summer in the countryside with her dysfunctional relatives. It may not be a clear winner, but as voters assess the category, its understated charm could provide a boost.

The candidates are listed in order of their probability of winning.

“Quiet on the Western Front” (Edward Berger, Germany)
“Argentina, 1985” (Santiago Miter, Argentina)
“Close” (Lukas Dhont, Belgium)
“EO” (Jerzy Skolimowski, Poland)
“The Quiet Girl” (Colm Bairéad, Ireland)

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