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89th Oscars. Oscar Contenders of 2016 - For prediction, discussion, entertainment purposes only

 discuss on the blog

PART 1 - AFGHANISTAN TO ETHIOPIA
Official submissions will be announced in the fall
Updated July 26th

Chart info / text by Dzong and Nathaniel R

 

Afghanistan
never nominated
(submitting since 1996)

TBA

Denmark-based female helmer Shahrbanoo Sadat won Director’s Fortnight at Cannes, making Wolf and Sheep, a drama about children in a shepherding village, the frontrunner if it can arrange a domestic release. Also possible: Lina, about a girl searching for her biological parents.

Trivia: Afghanistan has been disqualified two years in a row

Albania
never nominated
(subitting since 1996)

TBA

They will likely be sending Distant Angels, a new drama about the war in neighboring Kosovo, and the first film by Gjergj Xhuvani (Slogans) in eight years

Algeria
5 noms | 1 win (subitting since 1969)

TFA

They have two films on the film festival circuit: Let Them Come, about a man and his secular family trying to survive amidst a tide of Islamic fundamentalism, and I Still Hide to Smoke (starring Hiam Abbass), an ensemble film set in a women’s sauna. 

 

Argentina
7 noms | 2 wins (submitting since 1961)

TBA

They're widely expected to send Santiago Mitre’s La cordillera starring Ricardo Darin and Paulina Garcia. That’s possible, but a real dark horse is Zama, a 17th century historical drama based on a beloved national novel, scheduled to premiere in September. Both are from popular directors who have never been selected. Another option is Nobody's Watching by Julia Solomonoff

Armenia
never nominated
(submitting since 2001)

TBA

Mysteriously disqualified last year, Armenia doesn’t often send a film, but they could send  Good Morning, a drama about an idealistic journalist in the 1990s who loses his job because he refuses to work within a corrupt system. Other options: doc The Last Wish” or Bravo Virtuoso, a comedic thriller about a young musician who tries his luck at contract killing

 

Australia
1 nomination (submitting since 1996)

TBA

If there's not too much English in the film they could offer up One Less God, about a group of locals and international travelers caught in the middle of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.

Austria
4 noms | 2 wins (submitting since 1961)

TBA
Michael Haneke is always an option but Happy End
 is not  actually scheduled in Austria until after the cutoff period of eligibility. Other options: the serial killer film Die Holle (from the Oscar winner behind The Counterfeiters), Best of All Worlds about a heroin addict mother. Or maybe Egon Schiele, Killing Stella , or Seventeen

Azerbaijan
never nominated (submitting since 2007)

TBA

They could send Pomegranate Orchard, a drama based on Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard” that premiered in Karlovy Vary. But they don't submit every year.

 

Bangladesh
never nominated (submitting since 2002)

TBA

The country's censors have banned the expected frontrunner (No Bed of Roses starring popular international actor Irffan Khan) so the race is wide open. Bangladesh often plumps for movies based on their war for independence, so Rina Brown (about a Christian-Muslim romance) and Bhuban Majhi lead a weak pack.

Belgium
7 noms | 0 wins (submitting since 1967)

TBA

Belgium usually has a wide field of possibilities. We're currently predicting the Arabic-language Insyriated starring Hiam Abbass as the matriarch of a family trying to survive the Syrian Civil War. But it could be An Unknown Woman (Dardennes Brothers), absurdist comedy King of the Belgians, Fien Troch’s teen drama Home or the family drama Cargo

 

 

Bolivia
never nominated
(submitting since 1995)

TBA

The only clear prospect at this point is Dark Skull, a dark thriller set in the country’s tin mines. It won Best Picture at the Cartagena Film Festival.

 

Bosnia & Herzegovina
1 nom | 1 win
(submitting since 1994)

TBA

 It will almost surely be Men Don’t Cry, a drama about a talk therapy group bringing together veterans from all three ethnic armies that fought during the Bosnian Civil War of the 1990s.

 

Brazil
4 noms | 0 wins (submitting since 1960)

TBA

Can Brazil cover from their Aquarius debacle last year (such a great film that they refused so send!) This year they might send The Great Mystical Circus a historical drama. Director Carlos Diegues has been selected to represent Brazil six times, and at 77 (and in semi-retirement), this is likely to be one of his last films. But Brazil is always difficult to predict and we'll know more when they release their traditional longlist. Other options Joaquim (historical drama), Mulher do Pai, or the cinematic A Movie Life

Bulgaria
never nominated (submitting since 1971)


TBA

A three-way race! Glory  (about a media frenzy over a suddenly rich man) and Godless (about a drug addict nurse) have both been dazzling festival audiences. But the more obscure black and white title  Memories of Fear swept their local Academy Awards in June. 

Cambodia
1 nomination (submitting since 1994)


TBA

Diamond Island, a drama about a country boy who falls in love in the big city, is the frontrunner but it opened in Cambodia at the very beginning of its eligibilty period (last year) so might feel 'old hat' by the time of submission. Rithy Panh, their only nominee (Missing Picture) also has a new French-language documentary called Exile but it’s abstract and cerebral.

 

Canada
7 noms | 1 win
(submitting since 1971)

TBA

Our neighbors to the north have several possibilities. Will it be the Mandarin language thriller Old Stone (a Best Pic nominee at the Genie Awards), Zacharius Kunuk's Arctic western Searchers, French language films Et au pire on se mariere, and A Bag or Marbles, or the political satire Boundaries  

Chad
never nominated
(submitting since 2002)

TBA

They've sent two films by Mahamat Saleh Haround in the past so IF they send a film (they don't regularly) it could be his .documentary Hissein Habre- A Chadian Tragedy about the country’s former dictator.

Chile
1 noms | 0 wins
(submitting since 1990)

TBA

They're widely expected to send Sebastian Lelio's A Fantastic Woman a critically-acclaimed drama about a transgender woman that won three awards at Berlinale. Lelio wasnt nominated for Gloria, but should have been!

China
2 nominations
(submitting since 1979)

TBA
Feng Xiaogang's I Am Not Madame Bovary is a strong possibility but China often makes strange choices, especially if films are politically sensitive. If there's not too much English is could be The Chinese Widow, a war film about a downed American pilot rescued by a Chinese family during WWII. It opened the Shanghai Film Festival, is directed by Oscar winner Bille August and stars Emile Hirsch. Other strong candidates: crime drama Wasted Times (w/Zhang Ziyi, poster above) and B&W arthouse Summer is Gone

Colombia
1 nomination
(submitting since 1980)

TBA

Victor Gaviria’s brutal The Animal’s Wife is about a novice nun who ends up as the captive of a villa thug. Other strong candidates include Between Sea and Land” (Audience Award, Sundance) or The Dragon’s Defense

 

 

Costa Rica
never nominated
(submitting since 2005)

TBA

Expect a two-way race between The Sound of Things (a nurse traumatized by her cousin’s suicide) and Abrazame como antes which is about trans prostitutes. The former film won their national film festival.

Croatia
2 nominations *
(submitting since 1992 as Croatia)

TBA

Winners of their Pula Film Festival included The Constitution (about societal prejudices) and  Quit Staring At My Plate  (about a white trash family) and A Brief Excursion  (a slacker drama). 

Cuba
1 nomination
(submitting since 1978)

TBA

They don't submit every year but I think they’ll send The Last Days in Havana which won the Jury Prize at the Havana International Film Festival and a Special Screening slot in Berlin. It’s a docudrama about a number of characters living in the capital city. 

Czech Republic
9 noms* | 2 wins* (submitting since 1994 as Czech Republic)

TBA

On paper, the likeliest film is Little Crusaders  a medieval drama that became the first local Czech film in fifteen years to win the Grand Prize at Karlovy (Variety described watching it as “hard work”). I think, however, that the Czechs will send Barefoot, by Jan Sverak (of Kolya fame), a comedic drama about a little boy send to the countryside to escape the fighting of WWII. Two more options: Ice Mother about a grandma who gets a new hoppy, and A Prominent Patient, about a Czech diplomat living in pre-WWII London

Denmark
13 nominations | 3 wins (submitting since 1956)

TBA

They announce a three-film shortlist in August. We expect it will include three of these four: Across the Waters, about Danish Jews fleeing Nazi-occupied Denmark, Darkland, an atmospheric revenge thriller, and Never Again a Tomorrow, about an old man who dies and becomes a sort of angel watching over his famil and the boxing drama Pund for Pound

 

Dominican Republic
never nominated (submitting since 1983)

TBA

This should be an easy one. They're sure to send Woodpeckers (Carpinteros), about male prison inmates who invent a secret sign language to communicate with the women’s prison next door. 

Ecuador
never nominated (submitting since 2000)

TBA

We're guessing it'll be Killa one of the country's first film in the indigenous Quechua language, about a journalist facing off against a mining corporation

Egypt
never nominated (submitting since 1958)

TBA

There are two front-runners for the Oscar submission honor. The controversial religious drama The Preacher and Marwan Hamed’s new thriller The Originals.  We're guessing the former despite the controversy since its won great reviews in the West and drawn large audiences at home in Egypt for its topical story of a moderate Islamic preacher whose growing popularity leads to offers of money and government influence

Estonia
1 nomination
(submitting since 1992)

TBA

They could choose the father-son dramedy A Man Who Looks Like Me  but our guess is they select the much stranger cinematographic dazzling  black and white fairy tale November  which we reviewed here at the Tribeca Festival

Ethiopia
never nominated
(submitting since 2010)

TBA

They don't always submit but it could be  Fre, about a widower whose life is turned upside down when his young daughter is sexually assaulted

 

Foreign Film Index

or continue on to...

Finland to The Netherlands 30 Submissions

New Zealand to Yemen 30 Submissions