Best Foreign Language Film

Culture Warrior

For the first time in recent memory, I’m going into Oscar Sunday having no idea who is likely to take home many of the major awards. I’m sure there are entire websites out there devoted to an accurate prediction of who and what will take home the gold on Sunday, but there seems something a bit different about this year. Of the nine films nominated, I don’t have a clear sense of what would be the top five had AMPAS not changed the number of entries in the top category. While The Artist may clearly have more of a chance than, say, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, there’s no grand battle between likely leads like there was between The King’s Speech and The Social Network last year. And I don’t think I’m alone in stating that this year’s uninspiring list of nominees seems to reflect a growing indifference against the ceremony itself. Sure, on Sunday, like I have every year since I was eleven years old, I’ll watch the entire ceremony from beginning to end. And, like every year since I was twenty-one years old, I’ll make fun of the pompous and excessive self-congratulatory nature of the proceedings. But while in most years I have had some skin in the game, besides the two nominations afforded to the excellent Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and the presence of the transcendentally excellent Pina in the Best Documentary Feature category, this year I didn’t even get a sense that the Academy was awarding […]

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Not-so-fun fact: The Oscars have never nominated a film from Korea for their award for Best Foreign Language Film. Despite a significant film heritage and movies like The Old Jar Craftsman and Mother being put forward by the country, no Korean flick has ever made the short list. This year, the Korean Film Council is seeking to change that with Jang Hun‘s The Front Line. The action film takes place during The Korean War, specifically during the 1953 ceasefire, but even during negotiations for peace, the fighting confusingly continues with a small outcropping of hills changing hands back and forth between North and South. The movie stars Shin Ha-kyun, who has done significant work with Chan Wook-park since JSA as well as dozens of other films. It’s unclear whether this film will succeed where others have failed, but there’s definitely a keener interest in Korean currently, propelled not least of all by the death of North Korean dictator/mass murderer Kim Jong Il. Plus, this trailer looks like it was delivered inside a powder keg. Check it out for yourself:

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This year’s Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film is an eloquent, richly shot piece of work, opening in limited release on May 29.

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We break down all the films that don’t speak English and such…

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