It came to my attention today that at least three of the most celebated foreign films of the year have been snubbed by the Academy this year.
In their nine-title list of films that may win the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, they completely ignored not only Cristian Mungiu’s internationally celebrated 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days, but also the French animated feature Persepolis, and Juan Antonio Bayona’s The Orphanage.
I haven’t seen any of these three, so I’m happy to admit that I might be misinformed on what did or did not deserve to be selected. But based on the overwhelming praise for these three films, I’m very, very curious about the exclusion of this film.
Often, the Academy’s narrow rules end up excluding some of the year’s best films… movies that are sometimes far better than anything made by American filmmakers all year. For example, the beloved film by Krzysztof Kieslowski, Three Colors: Blue, one of my favorite films of all-time, was disqualified on a technicality.
But this year, films that have been celebrated internationaly as landmark achievements, films that qualified within the rules (as far as I can tell), were overlooked for films that have hardly stirred any discussion amongst critics worldwide. What’s going on here? I’m open to hearing a reasonable explanation, but it certainly seems like the process should be reviewed and revised.