In an article in the FAP website on January 18, 2013, we predicted a sure win for Amour as this year’s Oscar best foreign-language film. Before noon today (Feb. 25), this prediction was finally rendered official.
The second paragraph of that article pointed out: “Indications that Amour will win this year’s Oscar trophy as the best foreign language film are now so overwhelming that Austria might as well celebrate far ahead of the Oscar Awards” February 24 ceremonies.”
When Director Michael Haneke received the Oscar trophy for best foreign-language film, Austria leap-frogged from the list of 11 one-time winners into an elite group of four other countries which all have a pair of such trophies. It was only in 2007 that Austria won its first best foreign language film Oscar in 2007 with The Counterfeiters, a film by Stefan Ruzowitzky.
In this morning’s Oscar award ceremonies. Amour was even nominated for the best picture award. The film lost to Argo and was likewise unlucky in three other nominations. Director Haneke lost to Director Ang Lee (Lee of Pi) for best director, to Dyango Unchained for best original screenplay and the 85-year-old French actress Emmanuele Riva lost to Jennifer Lwrence (Silver Lining Playbook) for best actress.
Actually the Oscar trophy is just the latest addition in a long line of awards that Amour has already garnered as the best foreign film of 2012.
Just last Feb. 10, the prestigious British Academy of Film and Television Arts cited Amour as its best foreign film. A few days later, the film garnered the same accolade from the TV Film Critics’ Choice.
The Jan. 18 website article also emphasized: “And to top it all, Amour was adjudged the best foreign language film in the Golden Globe Awards which was held last January 13. If this is a precursor of things to come, Austria is now 99 percent sure of an Oscar triumph.”
Surfing the internet to glean the winners in the various awards given by film critics’ societies or associations, Amour boasts of having won 12 such awards.
There were times that Amour literally snagged best film (not just foreign-language film) awards like on January 4 when the National Society of Film Critics voted Amour as best picture and also chose Emmanuele Riva as best actress and Haneke as best director. The Los Angeles Film Critics Association chose Amour as the best film of 2012.
As early as December last year, the film has been reaping awards—mostly as best foreign language film—from the various societies of film critics in the United States and Canada.
These included the Oklahoma Film Critics, the Toronto Film Critics Association, the San Francisco Film Critics, the Kansas City Film Critics Circle, the Denver Film Critics Society, the Las Vegas Film Critics Society, the Washington Film Critics Association, the Boston Society of Film Critics, The New York Film Critics Online, the New York Film Critics Circle and even the National Board of Review.
The Philippines’ entry in this year’s Oscar—Bwakaw, directed Junn Robles Lana—actually made a good showing and just failed in the last minute to break into the short list of nine films. Again, we are back to square one in our attempt to snatch that elusive first-ever nomination in that hotly-contested foreign language film category.
Bwakaw was actually our 23rd submission to the Oscar awards. Our first submission was way back in 1956 with Anak Dalita of National Artist for Film Lamberto Avellana. We also submitted entries in 1961, 1967, 1976, 1985 and 1986. Since 1995, we have been regularly submitting film entries, except for the year 2005.
We might as well take heart about Austria’s long road to getting into the elite group of two-time winners. Austria started nominating films to the Oscar since 1961 but achieved its first ever nomination in 1986 with ’38—Vienna Before the Fall by Wolfgang Gluck.
Let us refer back to the Jan. 18 website article:
“But then followed a 21-year drought which ended with a second nomination in 2007 with the film The Counterfeiters which won that year. The following year, an Austrian film was again included in the final five nominees. This was Revanche by Gotz Spielmann.
“Amour is actually the fourth film directed by Michael Haneke which was entered by Austria to the Oscar. Haneke-directed Austrian submissions included The Seventh Continent in 1989, Benny’s Video in 1992 and The Piano Teacher in 2001.
To close the book on Amour, let us reprint an important segment of that Jan. 18 website article:
“Amour is the story of an elderly couple, Anne and Georges, who are retired music teachers with a daughter who lives abroad. Anne suffers a stroke which paralyses one side of her body.
“Anne undergoes surgery on a blocked carotid artery but things go wrong leaving her confined to a wheelchair. One day, Georges tells her a story of his childhood. After his story ended, he grabs a pillow and smothers Anne. Georges goes out and returns home with bundles of flowers in his hands. He picks out a dress from Anne’s wardrobe and writes a long letter.
“But suddenly, Georges hears Anne in the kitchen, she is washing dishes. Speechless, he gazes at Anne, as she cleans up and prepares to leave the house. Anne calls for Georges to bring a coat, and he complies, following her out the door. The film concludes with their daughter, Eva seated in the living room, after she had wandered slowly around the now empty home.”