Oscars Predictions: Best International Feature – Two Asian and Two African Films Make the Oscar Shortlist

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UPDATED: Feb. 9, 2021

This was a close race. There was chatter about “The Man Who Sold His Skin” doing very well with Academy members, but also concerns that not enough would see it. Guess I was wrong there, but all the usual suspects are still in the running. Spain is usually one of the default choices and with the power of Netflix behind it, I thought it would have a fighting chance. Despite playing film festivals, Poland also missed out on making the shortlist this year.

PRECURSORS LEADER: “Another Round” (Denmark)
Awards Circuit Winners Chart (2020-2021)

Courtesy of Venice Film Festival


  1. "Another Round" (Denmark)
    "Druk" - Danish (language)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 12 nominations, 3 wins, 57 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Thomas Vinterberg
    SYNOPSIS: Four friends, all high school teachers, test a theory that they will improve their lives by maintaining a constant level of alcohol in their blood.
    STARRING: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang

  2. "Quo Vadis, Aida?" (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
    "Quo Vadis, Aida?" - Bosnian, Dutch, English, Serbian (languages)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 1 nomination, 1 win, 19 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Jasmila Žbanić
    SYNOPSIS: Aida is a translator for the UN in the small town of Srebrenica. When the Bosnian Serb army takes over the town, her family is among the thousands of citizens looking for shelter in the UN camp.
    STARRING: Jasna Djuricic, Izudin Bajrovic, Boris Ler

  3. "La Llorona" (Guatemala)
    "La Llorona" - Spanish, Kaqchikel (languages)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated, 2 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Jayro Bustamante
    SYNOPSIS: An aging paranoid war criminal, protected by his faithful wife, faces death while being haunted by the ghosts of his past.
    STARRING: María Mercedes Coroy, Sabrina De La Hoz, Margarita Kenéfic

  4. "Two Of Us" (France)
    "Deux" - French, German (languages)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 40 nominations, 12 wins, 66 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Filippo Meneghetti
    SYNOPSIS: Pensioners Nina and Madeleine have hidden their deep and passionate love for many decades, but their bond is put to the test when they are suddenly unable to move freely between each other's apartments.
    STARRING: Barbara Sukowa, Martine Chevallier, Léa Drucker

  5. "A Sun" (Taiwan)
    "陽光普照 (Yángguāng Pǔzhào)" - Mandarin (language)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 3 nominations, 1 win, 45 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Chung Mong-hong
    SYNOPSIS: A family of four fractures under the weight of unmet expectations, unexpected tragedy, and uncompromising pride.
    STARRING: Chien-Ho Wu, Yi-wen Chen, Samantha Shu-Chin Ko

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I’m No Longer Here
Panorama Global


  1. "I'm No Longer Here" (Mexico)
    "Ya no estoy aquí" - Spanish (language)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 9 nominations, 1 win, 52 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Fernando Frias
    SYNOPSIS: In Monterrey, Mexico, a young street gang spends their days dancing to slowed-down cumbia and attending parties. After a mix-up with a local cartel, their leader is forced to migrate to the U.S. but quickly longs to return home.
    STARRING: Daniel Garcia, Xueming Angelina Chen, Sophia Metcalf

  2. "Collective" (Romania)
    "Colectiv" - Romanian (language)

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    Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures and Participant Media

    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated, 35 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Alexander Nanau
    SYNOPSIS: Director Alexander Nanau follows a crack team of investigators at the Romanian newspaper Gazeta Sporturilor as they try to uncover a vast health-care fraud that enriched moguls and politicians and led to the deaths of innocent citizens.
    STARRING: Razvan Lutac, Mirela Neag, Catalin Tolontan

  3. "Night of the Kings" (Ivory Coast)
    "La Nuit des rois" - Dyula, French (languages)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 1 nomination, 1 win, 2 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Philippe Lacôte
    SYNOPSIS: A young man is sent to "La Maca", a prison of Ivory Coast in the middle of the forest ruled by its prisoners. With the red moon rising, he is designated by the Boss to be the new "Roman" and must tell a story to the other prisoners.
    STARRING: Denis Lavant, Issaka Sawadogo, Steve Tientcheu

  4. "The Man Who Sold His Skin" (Tunisia)
    "TBD" - TBD (languages)

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    DIRECTOR: Kaouther Ben Hania
    SYNOPSIS: The journey of Sam Ali, a Syrian man who fled to Lebanon to escape the Syrian war, hoping to eventually join his lover in Paris.
    STARRING: Yahya Mahayni, Dea Liane, Koen De Bouw

  5. "Hope" (Norway)
    "TBA" - TBA (languages)

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    DIRECTOR: Maria Sødahl
    SYNOPSIS: The relationship between artist-partners Tomas and Anja is put to the test after Anja gets a life-threatening diagnosis.
    STARRING: Andrea Bræin Hovig, Stellan Skarsgård, Terje Auli

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Sun Children
Courtesy of Celluloid Dreams


  1. "Charlatan" (Czech Republic)
    "Šarlatán" - Czech (language)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 3 nominations, 1 win, 26 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Agnieszka Holland
    SYNOPSIS: The breathtaking story of a man gifted with exceptional abilities set against the background of the events of the totalitarian fifties.
    STARRING: Ivan Trojan, Josef Trojan, Juraj Loj

  2. "Sun Children" (Iran)
    "خورشید (Khōrshīd)" - Persian (language)

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    OSCAR HISTORY:: 3 nominations, 2 wins, 25 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Majid Majidi
    SYNOPSIS: 12-year-old Ali and his three friends.Together they work hard to survive and support their families. In a turn of events that seems miraculous, Ali is entrusted to find hidden treasure underground.
    STARRING: Ali Nassirian, Javad Ezati, Tannaz Tabatabaei

  3. "The Mole Agent" (Chile)
    "El agente topo" - Spanish (language)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 2 nominations, 1 win, 24 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Maite Alberdi
    SYNOPSIS: A private investigator in Chile hires someone to work as a mole at a retirement home where a client of his suspects the caretakers of elder abuse.
    STARRING: Romulo Aitken, Sergio Chamy

  4. "Dear Comrades!" (Russia)
    "Дорогие товарищи! (Dorogie tovarishchi!)" - Russian (language)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 7 nominations, 1 win, 27 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Andrey Konchalovskiy
    SYNOPSIS: When the communist government raises food prices in 1962, the rebellious workers from the small industrial town of Novocherkassk go on strike. The massacre which then ensues is seen through the eyes of a devout party activist.
    STARRING: Yuliya Vysotskaya, Vladislav Komarov, Andrey Gusev

† = no release date scheduled / could be delayed / may not be eligible
†† = could be campaigned in lead or supporting categories / original or adapted screenplay categories

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. The most awarded films in Oscar history are “Ben-Hur,” “Titanic,” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” at 11 statuettes. The most nominated films in Academy history are “All About Eve,” “Titanic” and “La La Land” at 14. “La La Land” is the only film of the three to have lost best picture. The biggest Oscar “losers,” meaning most nominated and walk away with zero awards, are 1977’s “The Turning Point” and 1985’s “The Color Purple” at 11 each.

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