Oscars: Ukraine Selects 'Homeward' for International Feature Film Category

EVGE Still - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

Nariman Aliev's family drama premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival.

Ukraine has selected Nariman Aliev's Homeward, a drama depicting a grieving father and son's road trip across war-torn Ukraine, for the best international feature film category at the 2020 Oscars.

The film follows Mustafa and his son Alim as they collect the dead body of Alim's older brother, killed in the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia-backed rebels in East Ukraine, to transport it across the country and bury in Crimea, now annexed by Russia.

"The feature debut of young Ukrainian director Nariman Aliev, this fatalistic family drama is confidently crafted and well acted," wrote The Hollywood Reporter in its review.

Homeward premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes this year and went on to be screened at other festivals, including the Eurasian International Film Festival, Bucharest International Film Festival and Odessa Film Festival in Ukraine, where it collected the Grand Prix.

Homeward is scheduled to open theatrically in Ukraine in November.

Homeward is Ukraine's 12th international feature category Oscar submission since 1997. No Ukrainian film has yet made the shortlist for the Academy Awards.

Oct. 1, 2019 is the deadline for submissions for the international feature category. The Academy will pick 10 finalists from the initial longlist. The final five Oscar nominees will be announced Jan. 13, 2020. The winners will be announced at the 92nd Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020