Four of out of nine....This is the worst I've done since I started keeping this blog.....CANADA's "Monsieur Lazhar", IRAN's "A Separation" and POLAND's "In Darkness" were obvious, and should have no trouble making the five-film nomination stage.....I also got ISRAEL's esoteric "Footnote", which most people also predicted....
I'm kicking myself for dropping MOROCCO (the one that seems to have surprised everyone) from my list the day before....I should have known that the Oscar committee can't get enough of producer Rached Bouchareb, and "Omar"'s topical, baity plotline. And I should have also guessed that the elite committee would save GERMANY's "Pina", which I'm pretty sure could not have gotten past the regular committee.
That said, I'm pretty surprised at BELGIUM, DENMARK, and especially TAIWAN, which I thought was an also-ran for sure. DENMARK's lightweight comedy "Superclasico" did have good buzz around it....BELGIUM's crime drama "Bullhead" had great buzz too, and I mistakenly placed it low down my list since it's actually a bad film (I saw it in October). I should have known they don't decide on quality. TAIWAN's four-hour plus violent action opus "Seediq Bale" apparently wowed some voters, although I'm pretty certain that the Taiwanese (with Belgium and Germany) were saved by the big committee.
I guess the Belgians and the Danes can now be forgiven for ignoring their respective Oscar front-runners ("The Kid With a Bike" and "A Family")!
I was quite shocked to see FINLAND ("Le Havre") and FRANCE ("Declaration of War") missing from the list, and to a lesser extent, also MEXICO's "Miss Bala". I think "Le Havre" was a decent film, but I dislike Kaurismaki, so I was sort of happy to see him snubbed.
But it's now a new day....The five nominations will be announced on Tuesday and it'll be a close one....I can see any of these nine films going the distance, but here are my predictions:
1. IRAN- "A Separation"
2. POLAND- "In Darkness"
3. CANADA- "Monsieur Lazhar"
Difficult to see any of these well-reviewed candidates missing....
ON THE BUBBLE
4. MOROCCO- "Omar Killed Me"
5. ISRAEL- "Footnote"
6. BELGIUM- "Bullhead"
Morocco's French film is easily the most accessible of these three films jockeying for the other two spots.
7. GERMANY- "Pina"
8. DENMARK- "Superclasico"
9. TAIWAN- "Seediq Bale"
Boy this is going to be close! GERMANY's dance documentary is easily the favorite and critical darling, but this visually dazzling film is not what is usually honored here....DENMARK's "Superclasico" is supposed to be charming and funny, but reviews are easily the weakest of the nine films here, and "charming and funny" didn't help "Simple Simon" to make the finals last year (although it worked for BELGIUM's "Everybody Famous!"). TAIWAN is the only film I really think is unlikely....but I could be wrong again!
Two other short notes....For those of you want to see films on the list for yourself:
1. The films from COLOMBIA and URUGUAY are available to watch or rent in the US on Netflix or Amazon, with PERU coming out next month.
2. The films from CHINA, FINLAND, FRANCE, GERMANY, MEXICO and the real entry from ALBANIA (The Forgiveness of Blood) are in US cinemas, or coming soon.
3. You can buy the movies from GERMANY, GREECE, IRAN, IRELAND, KOREA, NETHERLANDS, SPAIN, SWEDEN and the UK with English subtitles (most very expensive!!) on Ebay or similar sites, and also BRAZIL and CUBA without subtitles.
4. The films from INDIA and INDONESIA are on Youtube (probably illegally!) with no English subtitles.
And since there are OTHER categories in the Oscar race, here are my predictions for the major categories, in order of likelihood:
PICTURE: : The Artist, The Descendants, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Tree of Life, Harry Potter 8 (ALT: Drive, Moneyball, Bridesmaids, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, My Week with Marilyn)
ACTOR: Clooney, Pitt, Fassbender, DuJardin and Bichir (ALT: Leo diCaprio)
ACTRESS: Streep, Davis, Williams, Swinton and Close (ALT: Rooney Mara)
SUPP. ACTOR: Plummer, Branagh, Brooks, Nolte, Hammer (ALT: Jonah Hill)
SUPP. ACTRESS:: Spencer, Bejo, Woodley, McTeer, Chastain (ALT: Melissa McCarthy)
DIRECTOR:: Hazanavicius, Scorsese, W. Allen, Payne, Fincher (ALT: Nicolas Winding Refn)