It’s bad luck if The power of the dog hasn’t played in a city near you. Beyond a wide range of American festivals from coast to coast, the Jeanne Campion the drama has screened in Venice, Toronto, San Sebastian, Zurich, Busan, London, Lumière, Vienna and more. Its Netflix release date is about a month away, and there are still plenty of other places in the world to hit before that date – Tokyo, Sydney, Stockholm, Taipei, hell, even Los Angeles among them. This is the nature of a modern and long campaign for the Oscars, with five months before the awards show and a parcel of land to cover.
The growing international influence on the Oscars is undeniable. Of the 395 invited to join AMPAS this year, just over half were from outside the United States. global transformation of the organization. That’s why the BAFTA Awards, once a fairly independent Academy Award ceremony that focused on hometown talent, have become perhaps the most important, or at least the most precise, precursor. (Remember that Anthony hopkins upset?) This is why more and more international filmmakers are competing in the directorial category. And that’s why the Campion Montana western, shot in New Zealand and leading the Oscars, among many other films, is already galloping around the world.
“Even if a city in Europe only has 10 voters for a specific branch, those are 10 valuable voters,” says Tom quinn, CEO of Neon, the distributor behind the 2020 Best Picture winner Parasite and a host of international contenders this season. “For all of you who don’t think globally, I’m not sure you’re addressing a competitive Academy campaign.”
With the lineup of the best Oscars movies steadily expanding to 10 films this year (as opposed to the eight or nine usually produced by the previous, more confusing system), common sense says the extra room would accommodate bigger and bigger contestants. wide that would otherwise be excluded from the conversation. (The Academy’s previous attempt to nominate 10 full people was seen as a direct result of the box office phenomenon The black Knight ignored there in 2009.) But it may be an outdated way of thinking about the titles that are coming so close to the success of the Academy. Instead of focusing on blockbusters, several studios are pushing foreign language contenders that would once be relegated to the best international films category.
For some, they are directors who have proven themselves. When Spain has not selected Pedro Almodovaris widely acclaimed Parallel mothers like its international film submission (going rather with the less likely The good boss), it hardly sounded the death knell for the film’s hopes for the Oscars. A source told me that distributor Sony Classics is approaching his campaign as he would any serious competitor in his team, especially with reference to the strategy used for the Hopkins vehicle. The father last season, which outperformed both in names and wins. The campaign will focus on craft categories like production design and cinematography, in addition to the strong push for Penelope cruz for Best Actress, and the hope that Almodóvar can figure in the race for the best film for the first time.
There is also a precedent here: Almodóvar’s 2002 film Talk to him was also overlooked by Spain for submission, before winning the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and being nominated for Best Director (his only recognition to date in this category). But at the time, Almodóvar’s placement there was something of a rarity. As a result of this breakthrough, from 2004 to 2018, only four non-English speaking films were included in the directing area. The category has quietly transformed since then, featuring at least one foreign language director for three consecutive years, the longest streak in modern Oscar history. Indeed, the filmmaking arm of the Academy has become particularly global, giving long-time respected authors like Denmark Thomas Vinterberg (last years Another round) and Poland Paweł Pawlikowski (2018 Cold War) their late first shot at Academy Gold.
This trend has activists behind two recent Oscar winners for Best International Film, Asghar Farhadi and Paulo Sorrentino, being very careful this season. Each has a budget streamer supporting them on Amazon and Netflix respectively, and none have ever been nominated for Best Director. Farhadi A hero made his Cannes debut well but performed even better in front of industry folks at Telluride and other fall festivals, and I’m told there’s a real belief in Farhadi, d Iranian-born, gets his first directorial nomination this year. (He was nominated for writing in 2011 A separation.) Italian Sorrentino, meanwhile, is getting the full treatment from Netflix for God’s hand, despite the studio’s dense list of candidates; he rises high after winning the Silver Lion in Venice. (Both films were selected by their respective countries as nominations for the International Film Oscar.)
It’s not as unlikely as it seems for more than one of these filmmakers to make the cut. Farhadi has noticed a strengthening in the global resonance of his work over the years. “Not always, but in many cases films that are very local have a better universal language,” he tells me through a translator. “A mother’s love for her son or daughter all over the world is almost the same. The way we show it is different. When you start talking about love, hate, or jealousy, everyone in the world knows these emotions and they will react to them.