The film entry of the Philippines to the 86th Oscar Awards Foreign Language Film category—Transit, directed by Hannah Espia—missed the shortlist which was released early this new year.
This is the country’s 23rd submission and the 18th entry submitted by the Film Academy of the Philippines since it was designated to select the country’s entry in 1995.
Two other films which featured Tagalog as a language—United Kingdom’s Metro Manila, directed by Sean Ellis, and Singapore’s Ilo-ilo, directed by Anthony Chen—also failed to make the shortlist of nine possible nominees.
As announced by the AMPAS (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences), the official shortlist of nine film which were culled from a record 76 entries are as follows:
Belgium—The Broken Circle Breakdown by Felix van Groeningen
The film tell the story of a love affair between tattoo artist Elise and bluegrass musician Didier. After bonding over their shared enthusiasm for American music and culture, they dive headfirst into a sweeping romance that plays out on and off stage – but when an unexpected tragedy hits their new family, everything they know and love is put to the test. This is Belgium’s 38th submission and it has garnered six nominations already.
Bosnia and Herzegovina(1/1)—An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker by Danis Tanovic
The film is an unflinching exposé of the prejudices faced by Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Roma minority, starring the real-life couple whose harrowing ordeal became a national scandal. It is a story of courage in the face of hardship and injustice. It revisits the alarming saga of Senada Alimanović and partner Nazif Mujić. When Senada suffers a miscarriage, she is denied admittance to the local hospital. So begins a hellish ten-day odyssey pitting the couple against social prejudice and a callous bureaucracy, as Nazif scrounges and Senada’s condition grows ever more critical. This is the country’s 13th submission and it won once for No Man’s Land by the same Danis Tanovic in 2001.
Cambodia—The Missing Picture by Rithy Panh
Through clay figures, archival footage, and narration, the film recreates the atrocities Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge committed between 1975 and 1979. This is Cambodia’s 3rd submission after 1994 and 2012.
Denmark—The Hunt by Thomas Vinterberg
The story is set in a small Danish village around Christmas, and follows a man who becomes the target of mass hysteria after being wrongly accused of sexually assaulting a child. Lucas is a member of a small, close-knit, Danish community who works at a local kindergarten. A divorcé, Lucas struggles to maintain a relationship with his son due to his antagonistic wife, but enjoys wholesome interaction with the school children. A nursery pupil, Klara who is also the daughter of Lucas’ best friend, wrongly accuses Lucas of showing his genitals to her. Lucas is shunned by the majority of the community as a sexual predator. Even his son is publicly ostracized. This is Denmark’s 51st submission and it already won three Oscars for 1987’s Babette’s Feast by Gabriel Axel, 1988’s Pelle the Conqueror by Billie August and 2010’s In a Better World by Susanne Bier. It also boasts of five nominations.
Germany—Two Lives by Georg Maas
The film is the true story of Katherine Evensen, a German woman raised in East Germany who lives in Norway, the child of a Norwegian woman and a German WWII soldier. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, Katherine’s secret past, including her involvement with the East German Stasi, comes to light, threatening the life of lies she has built up with her family. Germany (without the distinction of West or East) has been submitting entries since 1990. Under its belt is one best foreign language film trophy for Nowhere in Africa by Caroline Link in 2002. It also boasts of seven nominations.
Hongkong—The Grandmaster by Wong Kar-wai
The Grandmaster is a Hong Kong–Chinese martial arts drama film based on the life story of the Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man. It chronicles his life from the 1930s in Foshan, his flight to Hong Kong after the Second Sino-Japanese War, and the events leading to his death. But is is his lifelong inter-action with a lady martial arts teacher, Gong Er, that provides interest in the film. The final scenes offer a visual montage as Ip Man’s school flourishes, including a statement that Ip made Wing Chun popular worldwide and his most famous student was Bruce Lee. Ip Man died in 1972. This is the 32nd submission of Hongkong and it accounts for two nominations.
Hungary(1/8)—The Notebook by Janos Szasz
The film is set in a village on the Hungarian border, where two young brothers grow up during wartime with their cruel grandmother and must learn every trick of evil to survive in the absurd world of adults. Hungary won the best foreign language film award in 1981 for Mephisto, directed by Istvan Szabo. The country also chalked up seven other nominations in this category.
Italy—The Great Beauty by Paolo Sorrentino
The film tells the story of an aging writer who bitterly recollects his passionate, lost youth, set in a background of current day Rome. Italy has already won 10 Oscar trophies for best foreign language films since the category was created in 1956—the most won by any country. It also boasts of 27 nominations. Italian director Federico Fellini won four times.
Palestine(0/1)—Omar by Hany Abu-Assad
The film tells the story of a sensitive young baker, Omar who is accustomed to dodging surveillance bullets to scale the separation wall to visit his secret love Nadia. On the other side of the wall, he becomes a freedom fighter who must face painful choices about life and manhood. When Omar is captured after a deadly act of resistance, he falls into a cat-and-mouse game with the military police. Omar’s feelings quickly become as torn apart as the Palestinian landscape. But it’s soon evident that everything he does is for his love of Nadia.
This is the 6th submission of Palestine which got a nomination in 2005.
A committee of 30 high-profile AMPAS members will choose the final five nominees after viewing the shortlist finalists from January 10 to 12. The nominees will be announced with the nominees of the other categories on January 16.
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