Oscar Best International Film shortlist announced

Taiwan, Chile and Ivory Coast among the countries in contention

by Anne-Katrin Titze

Barbara Sukowa, Martine Chevallier, and Léa Drucker star in Filippo Meneghetti’s Oscar shortlisted  Two of Us (Deux)
Barbara Sukowa, Martine Chevallier, and Léa Drucker star in Filippo Meneghetti’s Oscar shortlisted Two of Us (Deux)

The 93rd Academy Awards Oscar Best International Film shortlist has been revealed with the number increased from ten to 15 films for this year.

From Chile, The Mole Agent (El Agente Topo), Maite Alberdi, director; Czech Republic, Charlatan, Agnieszka Holland, director; Denmark, Another Round, Thomas Vinterberg, director; Bosnia and Herzegovina, Quo Vadis, Aida?, Jasmila Žbanić, director; Guatemala, La Llorona, Jayro Bustamante, director; Hong Kong, Better Days, Derek Tsang, director; Iran, Sun Children, Majid Majidi, director; Ivory Coast, Night Of The Kings, Philippe Lacôte, director; Mexico, I’m No Longer Here, Fernando Frías de la Parra, director; Norway, Hope, Maria Sødahl, director; Romania, Collective, Alexander Nanau, director; Russia, Dear Comrades!, Andrei Konchalovsky, director; Taiwan, A Sun, Chung Mong-hong, director; Tunisia, The Man Who Sold His Skin, Kaouther Ben Hania, director, and France, Two Of Us (Deux), Filippo Meneghetti, director, are the 15 films selected for the International Feature Film shortlist.

Gianfranco Rosi’s Notturno is shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature
Gianfranco Rosi’s Notturno is shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Gianfranco Rosi’s Notturno from Italy; Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond’s My Little Sister (Schwesterlein) Switzerland; Bárbara Paz’s Babenco: Tell Me When I Die (Babenco: Alguém Tem Que Ouvir O Coração E Dizer Parou) Brazil, and Dea Kulumbegashvili’s Beginning (Dasatskisi) Georgia are notable omissions from this year’s shortlist. The Mole Agent is also shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature and so is Notturno.

This is the first time preliminary voting was open to all voting members of the Academy. In April of 2019, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences changed the Best Foreign Language Film category to Best International Feature Film.

In December 2020, Portugal's submission Listen was disqualified for having more than half of its dialogue in English. Portugal's selection committee submitted a second film, Vitalina Varela. In December 2020, Canada's submission Funny Boy was also disqualified for having more than half of its dialogue in English. Canada's selection committee submitted a second film, 14 Days, 12 Nights.

In January 2021, the Belarusian submission, Persian Lessons, was disqualified by the Academy, due to the majority of individuals involved in making the film not coming from Belarus. In January 2021, Uzbekistan's submission 2000 Songs of Farida was disqualified, because the Oscar Committee of Uzbekistan did not submit the film by the deadline of December 1, 2020.

In all, 97 countries submitted films for consideration in the International Film category for the 93rd Academy Awards tying the record number of 93 accepted which was set last year. Three countries submitted a film for the first time. Lesotho sent This Is Not A Burial, It's a Resurrection, Sudan sent You Will Die at Twenty, and Suriname sent Wiren.

Films submitted in the International Feature category may also qualify for Academy Awards in other categories, including Best Picture.

Nominations will be announced on Monday, March 15, 2021. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), will honor the best films released between January 1, 2020, and February 28, 2021.

The 93rd Academy Awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, April 25, 2021, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live on the ABC Television Network. The Oscars also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

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