Oscars 2023: Best International Feature Film Predictions

Oscars 2023: Best International Feature Film Predictions

We’ll update these predictions throughout awards season, so keep checking IndieWire for all of our picks for the 2023 Academy Awards. Voting for nominations runs January 12 through January 17, 2023, with the official Oscar nominations announced January 24, 2023. Final voting takes place from January 2 to March 7, 2023. Finally, the 95th Academy Awards will be broadcast on Sunday, March 12th and live on ABC at 8:00 PM ET / 5:00 PM PT.

Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson are collaborating on forecast updates for this category. Watch Thompson’s initial thoughts on what to expect at the 95th Academy Awards here and past predictions for this category here.

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As the Academy has grown internationally, the most unexpected categories for the International Academy Awards have become. In recent years, the first international nominee for Best Feature Film has been evident early on (“A Fantastic Woman,” “Drive My Car,” “Another Round,” “Parasite,” “Roma”).

This time around, a slew of films from around the world are vying for the attention of Academy voters in a somewhat open race. However, in recent weeks the odds have narrowed to a handful of contenders, most of whom have started their trips in Cannes or Venice.

Right now, a handful of veteran authors are taking on newer faces from the festival circuit. Yes, Park Chan-wook’s “decision to leave” and Alejandro J. Inarritu’s “Pardo” is gaining momentum, but the same can be said of Santiago Mitter’s “Argentina 1985” and Ali Abbasi’s “Holy Spider.” Of course, there’s often a sleepover surprise like the 2019 candidate “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom,” and this year has some potential on that front, too. Even after the shortlist is dropped, the category will likely remain challenging all the way until Oscar night.

With the shortlist of 15 contenders for the category set to come out on December 21, states had to submit their official selections from the Academy Awards to the Academy by October 3. (Russia, which presented “Undo the Fist” in 2021, declined to submit a film this year due to tensions with the United States over the invasion of Ukraine.)

Most of the contenders in Cannes for several months continue to make a big splash. Directed by 31-year-old director Lucas Dönt, Belgian film “Close” presents the emotional story of a 13-year-old boy (Eden Dambrian) who suffers the unexpected loss of his best friend. Captured by the grand prize winner from Cannes, the A24 has recently shown it in the US at Oscar-friendly festivals ranging from Telluride to AFI. (Dhont’s audience overcame the entry of Belgian authors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne at Cannes, “Tori and Lokita.”) However, even with “Close” making the festival tours, the A24 has yet to qualify for it; It opens theatrically on January 20th, so it may take a while for responses to arrive.

Meanwhile, a veteran of a city that was basking in the glow of a successful American response: Park Chan-wook, who had belatedly won Academy recognition, embraced the wider audience who found his elegant “decision to leave” at festivals and theaters alike (MUBI’s version is close to half Million dollars in a limited theatrical release). Less bloody or sensational than the likes of “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance” or “Old Boy,” the story of a detective who falls in love with a murderous woman who won Best Director at Cannes, talk of more potential awards for this esteemed but underappreciated Korean author has begun. enough. On the other hand, much of the “decision to leave” is an exercise in style that leaves some viewers confused, and lacks the emotional appeal that often accompanies an Academy Award winner.

“EO” – Credit: screenshot / Janus Films

Screenshot / Janus Films

A similar uncertainty surrounds “EO” by 83-year-old Polish author Jerzy Skolimowski, an almost muted look at the plight of a donkey as he faces brutality from various human owners and the film takes his view. A recent update to Robert Bryson’s “Au Hasard Balthazar,” Skolimowski’s intricate visual feat (which included the use of eight donkeys to portray the lead) was a hit at Cannes and won a jury prize at the ceremony, with the director braying like his star in his speech. Some squeamish voters may be reticent to embrace a movie about animal intelligence when the animal is said to suffer greatly, but many filmmakers adore Skolimowski’s cinematic touch. Janus and Sideshow hope to follow up on last year’s “Drive My Car” win by keeping this movie in the conversation.

An easily accessible option from Cannes is Un Certain Regard “Corsage,” an Austrian rendition by director Marie Kreutzer and starring the always-attractive Vicky Krebs. Set in 1877, “Phantom Thread” stars Duchess Elisabeth Amalie Eugenie of Bavaria, Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, as she turns 40 and loses her patience with the procedures of royal life. The Best Actress race is very competitive for Cripps for a nomination, though recognition for her performance could help the film make it to the shortlist and stay in the conversation.

This is also the case for another hit at Cannes, the Danish entry “Holly Spider,” which features a comeback performance by the Iranian actress Amir Ebrahimi visited after a sex tape scandal forced her to flee the country years ago. Set in Iran but filmed in Jordan, the film is a sophomore effort from Ali Abbasi (he received a hair and makeup nomination for the first time) and a film based on the true story of a serial killer who targeted prostitutes – and nearly got away with it. . Academy members have adopted this unorthodox view of misogyny in Iran, especially in recent weeks, as women’s rights protests have gained momentum on the global stage.

Along the same lines, Egyptian director Tarek Saleh’s thriller The Cairo Conspiracy (previously titled A Boy From Heaven) takes an approach reminiscent of John le Carré when he looked at a Cairo university student who had been swept up in a corrupt scheme to replace the imam. . This film, which entered another competition at Cannes, recently became the highest-grossing international film in Paris since Parasite.

This brings us to more recent fall titles, as two of Venice’s most notable events loom. After a difficult start in Venice, Alejandro G Inarritu has since shortened Academy members have widely embraced “Bardo, A False Chronicle of a Handful of Facts” due to its surreal comedy take on a popular documentary caught between his Latin American identity and his success in the United States, while Netflix aims to lobby for wider recognition of “Bardo”. In other categories, the film’s selection as the Mexican submission to the Academy Award and its notable Hollywood fame mean it has a good chance of staying ahead of the competition in the coming months.

“Argentina, 1985” – Credit: Amazon Studios

Amazon Studios

Another rifle competitor with muscle flowing behind it is the 1985 Argentina. Rising Latin American writer Santiago Mitri (“Top”) directed Argentine star everywhere Ricardo Darin (the star of two previous Academy Award nominees in this category, “Wild Tales” and the winner of “The Secret in their Eyes”) in this dramatic recreation of the movie Trial Military Council. Darren plays lawyer Julio Cesar Strasera, who led efforts to prosecute members of the military dictatorship. Given an interesting look at the importance of the justice system, this classic entry in the category may be the most uniformly respected film in the category, and could easily maintain its front-runner status if other contenders continue to divide the Academy.

Then again, there are some of the bigger movies contested this year. While the Netflix Awards team naturally exaggerates their author name, their international entry gaining renown on the show circuit is the German entry “All Quiet on the Western Front,” Erich Maria Remarque’s fantastic adaptation of World War I; Lewis Milestone’s film version won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1930. The familiar story of a group of German students who enthusiastically volunteer to fight on the front lines is an unsettling and desperate tale that produces word-of-mouth transmission outside of international ratings. Cinematography is a distinct possibility.

Another epic, Gunnar Viken’s $10 million “War Sailor” – Norway’s biggest budget picture to date – was filmed over the course of 60 days in Malta, Norway and Germany. The film takes a look at World War II from a different point of view. Two merchant sailors (Christopher Gunner and Paul Ambassador Hagen) get caught up on an 18-month cruise and are caught up in years at war – fighting for the Allies during the German occupation of Bergen. They cannot go home until the war is over. One has a family, the other does not. Surviving the war does not necessarily mean that reports of bombing of buildings and torpedo ships reflect the truth. Misunderstanding and separation lead to heartbreak. Heartbreak often leads to an Oscar fanfare.

However, there is potential for challenging cinema and exciting new voices to make headway with this class if enough Academy members gather around it. That’s what France hopes will happen with “Saint Omer,” another successful Venice film, which marks the feature debut of documentary Alice Diop. The film, which follows the experiences of a young novelist (Kaiji Kagami) trying to write a new version of the Medea legend, is a complex meditation on black women in contemporary France.

Having won the Grand Jury Prize and Best Debut Film award in Venice, Neon Super Limited took over Saint-Omer and later beat four other shortlisted contenders under the scrutiny of the newly revised French Submission Committee. With its lengthy, dialogue-driven courtroom scenes (the protagonist follows the trial of an immigrant accused of paediatrics), “Saint Omer” is a complex viewing challenge that nonetheless has many audiences excited about for its absorbing, meditative style. In this case, the label “difficult” might actually help the movie because it keeps people talking and appreciates its bold narrative approach.

“The Karas” – Credit: Berlinale


Lots of newcomers can sneak up on the shortlist, from the Cambodian entry “Back to Seoul” from producer-turned-director Davey Chu to Berlinal winner “Alcarràs” from young Spanish director Carla Simon. There are also a couple of bizarre dramas from countries where gay themes are taboo: “The Blue Kaftan” from Morocco and “Joyland” from Pakistan; Both films are about gay men experiencing oppression in their conservative societies, and it is a representational guru that can help make the films stand out.

Finally, the Academy’s continued recognition of “RRR”, which India did not submit to this category, means that foreign cinema will continue to push for greater recognition of the best picture in a post-“parasite” world.

The shortlisted contenders are listed in alphabetical order. No movie will be considered a favorite until we see it. A full list of international applications can be found here.

“Alcarràs” (Carla Simon, Spain)
“All Quiet on the Western Front” (Edward Berger, Germany)
“Argentina, 1985” (Santiago Miter, Argentina)
“Bardo” (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Mexico)
“The Blue Caftan” (Maryam Touzani, Morocco)
“The Cairo Conspiracy” (Tariq Saleh, Sweden)
“Close” (Lukas Dhont, Belgium)
“Korsage” (Marie Kreutzer, Austria)
“Decision to Leave” (Park Chan-wook, Korea)
“Holly Spider” (Denmark)
“Joyland” (Sim Sadiq)
“Saint Omer” (Alice Diop, France)
“Sailor of War” (Norway)
“EO” (Jerzy Skolimowski, Poland)

“Nostalgia” (Mario Marton)
“Portrait of the Girl” (Ali Habasalu, Finland)
“A Piece of Heaven” (Michael Koch, Switzerland)
“Back to Seoul” (Devi Chu, Cambodia)
“The Quiet Girl” (Colm Berriad, Ireland)

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