Pros and cons of Oscar's foreign-language film nominees

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"Ajami"
Isreal

Pros: The movie has gotten terrific buzz among Academy voters. With its third consecutive nomination in as many years, will the Academy decide it's time to give Israel its due?
Cons: If an internationally acclaimed effort like last year's "Waltz With Bashir" can't win it all, conventional wisdom suggests the non-linear "Ajami" has little chance.

 
"The Milk of Sorrow"
Peru

Pros: A multiple winner on the festival circuit, including two wins in Berlin, "Milk" represents Peru's first-ever foreign-language contender. Its delicate handling of difficult material could lead to an upset.
Cons: Given the high-profile heavy hitters from France and Germany, voters may decide a nomination is enough for this heart-wrenching drama.

 
"A Prophet"
France

Pros:
France has landed six noms in the past decade but hasn't taken home the gold since 1992's "Indochine," so Gaul could be due. "A Prophet" has even more buzz than last year's French entry "The Class."
Cons: An extremely tough sell for the older-skewing foreign-language voters. If "The Class" couldn't win last year, how can this unflinchingly violent prison drama fare any better?

 
"The Secret in Their Eyes"
Argentina

Pros: If voters are looking for something a little less dark and unsettling than the rest of the films in the field, the more conventional "Secret" is the obvious choice. It drew a hearty round of applause at a recent Academy screening.
Cons: Unlike the other contenders, "Secret" doesn't have a war chest full of festival trophies to its credit, meaning buzz-building word-of-mouth is scarce.

 
"The White Ribbon"
Germany

Pros:
From its Palme d'Or in Cannes to its recent Golden Globe win, the acclaim for Michael Haneke's monochromatic period piece has been building for almost a year.
Cons: Austere and unsettling, this stark drama is the polar opposite of the "Life is Beautiful"-style fare foreign-language voters frequently embrace. It might be a little too artsy for the foreign-language crowd.
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