Thursday, December 18, 2014



I’ve been on the road on and off for most of the past two months without a laptop so I haven’t gotten a chance to rank the Eastern Europeans (you can see a quick review at the end of the Post). But the Final Nine are being announced later today so that means it’s time for my Final Predictions.

This was a rough year. With a record 83 countries, it’s nearly impossible to get a handle on all the films competing. There are no locks. Even Mauritania’s “Timbuktu” (which I see as the most likely candidate) could easily be snubbed. With so many high-profile films in play, it may seem stupid to predict dark horses like Bulgaria and Kyrgyzstan, but I’ve got a hunch we'll see one or both of them on the Final List.

A few words about "Ida", which has somehow emerged as the front-runner for the Oscar. For those of you who haven't seen it, “Ida”, a well-lit, pleasant but forgettable B&W film from Poland. Frankly, I don’t understand all the excitement. Since when does pretty cinematography equal an Oscar? I have been predicting a surprise snub for “Ida” but its recent win at the European Film Awards and its nomination at the Golden Globes show the film clearly has a great deal of love (and momentum). I could pretend it’s the Jewish WWII subject matter, but frankly far superior films (like Hungary’s unrecognized “Fateless”) on that subject have been ignored by the committee before. So, I really don't understand....I still am not sure “Ida” can crack the Top Six but the Elite Committee is probably ready and willing to save it. But I hope not. One interesting possible scenario: BULGARIA’s Jewish themed WWII story “Bulgarian Rhapsody” (which I hear is quite good) does make the Top Six making a snub for “Ida” more palatable, and making room for "Wild Tales". Black comedy "Wild Tales" is probably the best-reviewed film on the whole list, but it will struggle to find a fan base. I hope it replaces "Ida". Fingers crossed.

1. MAURITANIA- “Timbuktu”
2. BELGIUM- “Two Days, One Night”
3. ISRAEL- “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Absalem”
4. SPAIN- “Living is Easy with Eyes Closed”
5. KYRGYZSTAN- “Kurmandjan Datka: Queen of the Mountains”
6. POLAND- “Ida” (I hope I’m wrong!)
7. RUSSIA- “Leviathan”
8. BULGARIA- “Bulgarian Rhapsody”
9. ESTONIA- “Tangerines”

10. CANADA- “Mommy” (elite committee only)
11. CZECH REPUBLIC- “Fair Play”
12. ARGENTINA- “Wild Tales” (fingers crossed! I really hope I’m wrong!!)
13. ITALY- “Human Capital”
14. NETHERLANDS- “The Accused” (Lucia de B.)
15. GREECE- “Little England”

16. SWEDEN- “Force Majeure”
17. UKRAINE- “The Guide”
18. TURKEY- “Winter Sleep”
19. HUNGARY- White God”
20. SOUTH KOREA- “Sea Fog” (Haemoo)
21. VENEZUELA- “Libertador”

22. LEBANON- “Ghadi”
23. CUBA- “Conducta”
24. GERMANY- “Beloved Sisters”
25. ETHIOPIA- “Difret”
26. PHILIPPINES- “Norte, the End of History”
27. ICELAND- “Life in a Fishbowl”
28. MALTA- “Simshar”
29. AUSTRALIA- “Charlie’s Country”
30. KOSOVO- “Three Windows and a Hanging”

31. CHILE- “To Kill A Man”
32. GEORGIA- “Corn Island”
33. MEXICO- "Cantinflas"
34. PERU- "Gospel of the Flesh"
35. DENMARK- "Sorrow and Joy"
36. PALESTINE- "Eyes of a Thief"

No, I haven't forgotten "The Way He Looks", "Saint Laurent" or "Concrete Night". They're not contenders.

We'll find out later today!

NO CHANCE IN HELL: Croatia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia
EXTREMELY UNLIKELY: Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Latvia, Slovakia
MIDDLE CANDIDATES: Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Romania
DARK HORSES: Czech Republic, Hungary, Ukraine
FRONT-RUNNERS: Bulgaria, Estonia, Poland, Russia

1 comment:

Trond said...


Thanks for a great blog!
Could you please put pictures for the Eastern European movies too, please?