June 25, 2024

In retrospect, it seems Rome he started a movement. That Alfonso Cuaron the directorial effort earned a Best Picture nomination at the 91st Academy Awards, a feat that was not the first foreign-language film to be recognized at the prestigious Academy Awards. However, at the previous 90 Academy Awards ceremony, only ten foreign films received the Best Picture nomination (out of ten Babel, which told significant parts of its story in English and was anchored by popular American actors). To begin RomeThe Oscars have had an amazing run of five years in a row, especially with at least one non-English language film appearing in the Best Picture category.


It’s a huge improvement over the past, but when making strides in these kinds of departments, it’s important to remember how quickly things can go backwards. Despite the growth of Best Foreign Film nominees in recent years, the Academy Awards and its voters must make a conscious effort to consistently recognize foreign countries.

What do we mean by “consistent basis”?

a family sits on the floor and stares at a cardboard pizza box in Parasite
Image via CJ Entertainment

This doubt seems paradoxical, considering that the Oscars have now held five consecutive events in which a foreign film appeared in the best film category. However, the consistency here refers to the fact that countries and their cinematic feats are recognized regularly at the Oscars, rather than in a specific year. Korean cinema, for example, made great progress at the Oscars the parasite At the 92nd Academy Awards, a glorious event was presented Bong Joon-ho A masterpiece with multiple Oscar records. The only problem is that, in the following years the parasiteOther pieces of Korean cinema are completely missing from the Oscars.

No South Korean feature film has appeared at the Oscars since Parasite deserved victories, despite producing titles such as countries In Park Chan-wook A great feature of 2022 The decision to leave. Likewise, in the following four years Rome was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director at the Academy Awards (the latter win being the first time in history that a foreign film has won the Oscar for Best Director), Mexican cinema has generally only earned one nomination: a nod for Best Cinematography. for Bard, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truth. Although this nomination is a bit bittersweet, the Oscars recognize their work Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu. It would be wonderful to see the ceremony showering love on several Mexican filmmakers. Rome He redefined how much this country’s beloved features could achieve at the Oscars.

Instead of opening the eyes of Oscar voters to the wide range of film choices from various countries, the Oscars have unfortunately tended to forget the often forgotten territories after a year of abnormal recognition. This is further reflected in the unfortunate phenomenon of how Eurocentric the Best International Film category can be. In the 95-year history of the Academy Awards, countries with a rich cinematographic history, such as Portugal, Indonesia, Thailand and many others, have submitted more than 20 titles to the Academy Awards in the Best International Film category over the decades. .

These three countries and many others, including many in Africa, have never been named. On the other hand, countries like Denmark, Spain, Sweden and France have been recognized mostly for films about whites by white filmmakers (though of course not entirely, as seen by the Oscar-nominated French film). Les Miserables by the director Ladj Ly). The predominance of such titles has ensured that there is an uneasy portrait of what “proper” world cinema looks like, with the lack of recurring presence of works from territories such as South Korea reinforcing this perception. Let’s be clear: many works nominated for Oscars are masterpieces from countries like Sweden or France and the love they deserve. But so are films from countries that receive almost no annual affection from the Oscars.

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It is frustrating that the Oscars do not reward international films, but there is hope

This trend is particularly frustrating given how much it reinforces troubling elements of how, where and when the Academy recognizes international film. Throughout its history, the Academy Awards ceremony has had brief periods of time where it recognizes various territories or continents before forgetting about those countries. Most notably, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, there was a renewed focus on South American cinema in various countries. Colombian film Mary full of grace she received the award for the best actress Catalina Sandino Morena Meanwhile Fernanda Montenegro he got a nomination in the same category for the Brazilian film Central Station.

at the 76th Oscars, city ​​of god, a film from Brazil, managed to make history as the first feature film from the country and from all of South America to get a nod in the Best Director category. It was a remarkable achievement for the director Fernando Meirelles, but, unfortunately, after the 77th Oscars, South American cinema has been left out of the categories of four actors and Best Director. The discovery of the enormous diversity of films made in these territories and in various South American countries did not lead to long-term permanent recognition of these regions at the Oscars. At the same time, Crouching tiger, hidden dragon The fact that it received so much attention from the Oscars (including nominations for best film and best director) did not give it constant recognition in the countries that participated in its creation, namely Taiwan and China.

The way the Oscars continue to struggle to expand the countries they recognize is deeply disappointing, but there is reason to be hopeful that things can improve over time. The voting pool for the Oscars expands significantly each year, with many of these new voters coming from different international communities. As this pool of voters becomes increasingly global, there is a greater chance that voters will be more aware of considering countries like South Korea or Brazil beyond a specific year or two. Also, recent events, like the victory RRRs The tune “Naatu Naatu” in the Best Original Song category redefines what global cinema can do at the Oscars. If there is RRR can make history in this way, perhaps the Oscars can even further spread the recognition of international cinema from all over the world.

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