Well, the 9-film Oscar shortlist is scheduled to come out sometime next week....
Remember, first, six films are chosen by the larger Oscar Foreign committee. This older, more conservative body typically chooses safe films, and the six are those with the highest overall scores....Look for family dramas, war dramas and films that don't piss off anyone (lest they risk low scores throwing off their averages).
After that, three more films are chosen by the small, elite committee. Nobody knows exactly how they make their decisions, but look for them to choose big-name films that are more arty, intellectual and awards-laden. The smaller committee is supposed to insure that no cinematic great works are snubbed by the Oscar seniors....
I'm moved up some films with good buzz (Japan, Netherlands, Poland) and moved down some films I previously thought would be major threats (Czech Republic, Russia)
Here are my final predictions for the 2010 Foreign Oscar shortlist. I'm not happy with the list...Way too many dry European historical dramas for my taste....But that's what Oscar likes.
2010 Oscar Shortlist
1. ARGENTINA- "The Secret of Her Eyes" (First Six)
2. FRANCE - "Un Prophete" (First Six)
3. THE NETHERLANDS- "Winter in Wartime" (First Six)
4. ISRAEL- "Ajami" (Elite Committee)
5. GERMANY- "White Ribbon" (Elite Committee)
6. NORWAY- "Max Manus" (First Six)
7. IRAN- "About Elly" (Elite Committee)
8. ITALY- "Baaria" (First Six)
9. SLOVAKIA- "Broken Promise" (First Six)
VERY STRONG CONTENDERS
10. AUSTRIA- "For A Moment, Freedom"
11. CZECH REPUBLIC- "Protektor"
12. JAPAN- "Nobody to Watch Over Me"
13. SOUTH KOREA- "Mother"
14. MEXICO- "El Traspatio" (Big Committee ONLY)
15. POLAND- "Reverse"
16. ROMANIA- "Police, Adjective" (Elite Committee ONLY)
17. CHILE- "Dawson, Isla 10"
18. CANADA- "How I Killed My Mother"
UNLIKELY BUT POSSIBLE
19. BULGARIA- "The World is Big & Salvation Lurks Around the Corner" (Big Committee)
20. AUSTRALIA- "Samson & Delilah" (Small Committee)
21. DENMARK- "Terribly Happy"
22. LUXEMBOURG- "Refractaire" (Big)
23. SPAIN- "The Dancer & the Thief" (Big)
24. CHINA- "Forever Enthralled"
25. GEORGIA- "The Other Bank"
26. SWITZERLAND- "Home" (Small)
27. PERU- "Milk of Sorrow" (Small)
I haven't forgotten FINLAND (which is predicted on thefilmexperience.net, my favorite Oscar site), or perennial powers RUSSIA or SWEDEN.....I don't think they're contenders....
LEAST LIKELY TO GET A NOMINATION:
65. PHILIPPINES- "Grandfather is Dead"
64. ARMENIA- "Autumn of the Magician"
63. VENEZUELA- "Libertador Morales"
62. PUERTO RICO- "Kabo & Platon"
61. BANGLADESH- "Beyond the Circle"
Overly arty films that not everyone loves (Australia, Peru and Romania) can only hope that the elite committee falls for their obscure charms and gives them the "Three Monkeys" slot.
COUNTRY MOST LIKELY TO MAKE THE LIST FOR THE FIRST TIME: THE SLOVAK REPUBLIC, which hasn't been nominated since earning its independence in 1993.....South Korea, Romania and Chile are also in the running.....
We'll find out next week and see how many I get right!