News

Don't Miss These Six Foreign Language Oscar Hopefuls Landing in Theaters

Roma. Burning. Shoplifters. The competition for Best Foreign Language Film might be the season's most exciting Oscar race.

by | October 26, 2018 | Comments

Roma

(Photo by Carlos Somonte / © Netflix )

This week, The Walking Dead alum Steven Yeun hits theaters as charming, mysterious, and wealthy playboy Ben in Lee Chang-dong’s Korean-language thriller noir, Burning. It’s a case of moviemaking wish fulfillment: Several years ago, on the press tour for Okja, Yeun commented that Lee was a “hero” with whom he desperately wanted to work; three months later, upon hearing those comments, Lee called Yeun to offer him the role of Ben. Currently sitting at 92% on the Tomatometer, Burning, which is South Korea’s official entry in the Foreign Language Oscar race, looks like it might earn the country its first nomination in the category. But it will face tough competition for the win.

Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma has dominated awards chatter so far this ear, and rightly so: Certified Fresh at 99% on the Tomatometer, Roma is the Oscar-winning auteur’s highest-rated film to date. And while most prognosticators are certain Cuarón’s black-and-white period opus will bring the director more Oscar gold, it’s somehow no done deal. This year, Oscar voters are facing an embarrassment of foreign-language riches, among them Roma, Burning, and a slew of others. Which is great news for moviegoers keen to walk off the beaten path. Here are six foreign-language films in theaters or on their way that you will definitely want to see in preparation for awards season.


Border (Gräns) (2018) 97%

Sweden

When Ali Abbasi’s Border premiered at Cannes, it quickly became known as the “troll sex” movie with the lifelike makeup; when the movie took home the top prize in that festival’s Un Certain Regard section, though, it was clear this was a film not to be dismissed. A twisted contemporary fairytale in which the trolls look to find their happily ever after, Border offers a forceful and hilarious critique of self-image and happiness. The movie may be a little too offbeat to challenge Roma, Cold War, or Burning for top prize on the night – or, perhaps, to even be nominated – but it does also have a decent shot for Best Makeup.

In limited release October 26


Burning (Beoning) (2018) 95%

South Korea

Based on the Japanese short story, “Barn Burning,” by Haruki Murakami, Burning centers on Jong-soo, a young man who is besotted with a woman he grew up with but doesn’t initially remember from his childhood. Shortly after they become romantically involved, she’s quickly wooed away by Ben (played by Steven Yeun), an affluent and mysterious businessman whose hobbies are anything but orthodox. A slow burn for sure, Burning frames the Korean countryside in muted light, forming an eerily beautiful background to a series of increasingly disturbing events. Director Lee Chang-dong plants cryptic seeds throughout the film’s 160-minute runtime, but critics are saying the fruit they bear is worth the wait.

In limited release October 26


Shoplifters (Manbiki kazoku) (2018) 99%

Japan

One of Japan’s most acclaimed directors, Hirokazu Koreeda, will potentially represent his country for the first time at next year’s Oscars with Shoplifters. The film, which took home the Palme D’or at the Cannes Film Festival in May, is a critical favorite – it’s currently Certified Fresh at 98% – and tells the story of a close-knit adoptive family that resorts to shoplifting as a way to make ends meet. This poignant slice of life tale about people living between the cracks of society is a testament to the belief that the family you choose can be more precious than the one you’re born with. It’s a theme likely to resonate with voters and audiences.

In limited release November 23


Capernaum (Capharnaüm) (2018) 90%

Lebanon

Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum debuted to a 15-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival this year before taking home the top Jury Prize. The story of Zain, a young boy from the Beirut slums who sues his parents for giving birth to him, is one of several foreign-language films this year to marry a compelling narrative with socioeconomic commentary. The third time might also prove to be the charm for Labaki, who has twice before represented Lebanon in the Foreign Language Oscar race. Already predicted to be a front runner, Labaki will likely be the only female director to represent her nation in the category on Oscar night.

In limited release December 14


Roma (2018) 96%

Mexico

The last film to earn Academy Award nominations for Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Foreign Language Film was Michael Haneke’s 2012 end-of-life French love story, Amour. This year, Alfonso Cuarón looks to repeat that feat with Roma. Cuarón’s semi-autobiographical retelling of his adolescence in 1970s Mexico is voyeuristic and intimate, painting a moving portrait of the relationship between a maid and the family for which she works. Shot in black and white, with Cuarón pulling double duty as cinematographer, this may be Netflix’s best chance yet to win Oscar gold with a narrative feature. And just as Haneke’s leading lady, Emmanuelle Riva, earned a Best Actress nomination, Roma’s lead, Yalitza Aparicio, is looking like a good chance to be in the Best Actress conversation. It’s the one to beat in the Foreign Language category – and potentially in many others – but anything can happen come Oscar night.

In limited release and on Netflix December 14


Cold War (Zimna wojna) (2018) 92%

Poland

Poland won the category in 2015 for Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida. This year, Pawlikowski returns with another black-and-white epic, Cold War, which traces a decades-long love affair between and pianist and his singer muse. Our star-crossed couple falls in and out of love as the events of the Cold War years in Poland disrupt and form a backdrop to their passionate melodrama. The haunting dissolution of their affections is perfectly intermixed with triumphant moments of reunification that will undoubtedly dig into personal wounds for some audiences. Could it be the battle of the black-and-white epics? And the battle of the two previous Oscar winners?

In limited release December 21

Tag Cloud

batman Rocketman Disney+ Disney Plus reviews Film zombie Hear Us Out joker Television Critics Association children's TV spider-man remakes cancelled TV shows stand-up comedy movie Horror USA Network Set visit Star Trek serial killer Marvel Television WarnerMedia justice league witnail cancelled television romantic comedy TCM crossover E3 Vudu Mary Poppins Returns Emmys Tarantino obituary Superheroes Trailer book football Election Peacock worst 007 Spectrum Originals Super Bowl Mary poppins boxoffice TNT 2016 Academy Awards American Society of Cinematographers true crime thriller LGBTQ 21st Century Fox VH1 vampires elevated horror latino DirecTV 2019 ghosts Funimation FXX San Diego Comic-Con Sundance Certified Fresh Premiere Dates Red Carpet MTV renewed TV shows strong female leads south america CMT ID Food Network Grammys PlayStation franchise WGN Paramount Network Best and Worst Hulu dragons Rom-Com Reality nature cinemax criterion news talk show MSNBC YouTube Western The Purge james bond Animation teaser Epix Amazon Prime Video Schedule Nat Geo Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt SDCC foreign films Nominations Tumblr Holidays toy story Elton John rt archives mutant singing competition Martial Arts italian Shondaland screen actors guild 24 frames SXSW classics festivals anthology werewolf President Film Festival deadpool comiccon Reality Competition CBS All Access SundanceTV halloween tv NYCC Amazon Studios child's play movies PaleyFest Trophy Talk chucky dogs spy thriller emmy awards historical drama Baby Yoda crime drama video on demand Infographic Awards Tour Pop Winter TV discovery Cannes 2020 Rocky cats National Geographic comedies Star Wars ABC blaxploitation Box Office crime versus cults spanish Amazon Prime parents cooking war Britbox Chernobyl cancelled TV series tv talk Fantasy ratings First Look Awards Song of Ice and Fire TLC psychological thriller Lionsgate Heroines worst movies Universal comic Trivia cartoon Drama Fox Searchlight Pixar scorecard name the review transformers medical drama TV Land spinoff Crunchyroll Disney streaming service HBO Max comic books TruTV australia Podcast theme song fast and furious concert miniseries YA biography See It Skip It Travel Channel Black Mirror Lucasfilm series satire Showtime Sundance Now critics robots Black History Month canceled TV shows ABC Family blockbuster all-time mission: impossible BAFTA Calendar BBC screenings sequel cars twilight ITV Mary Tyler Moore Video Games Brie Larson Hallmark Christmas movies Teen X-Men period drama Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Avengers Pet Sematary Turner ESPN technology revenge LGBT Toys Sony Pictures hollywood stop motion Valentine's Day festival psycho zombies Bravo police drama casting CNN television Creative Arts Emmys sequels jamie lee curtis toronto 2015 45 cancelled Emmy Nominations Cosplay universal monsters Country superhero Comedy political drama Apple TV Plus Pop TV a nightmare on elm street sports adaptation aliens japanese video Fall TV El Rey Apple TV+ 4/20 Tubi HBO Go Lifetime Christmas movies cops black 2018 mockumentary Disney Plus dceu anime best The Witch finale laika hispanic documentaries NBC DC Universe TIFF Logo The Academy Disney Channel game show Netflix YouTube Premium Christmas Ovation Comics on TV sitcom quibi Spring TV Classic Film crime thriller First Reviews french Marvel Warner Bros. The CW binge GIFs based on movie Opinion A&E APB TBS The Arrangement die hard Winners CBS Sundance TV Captain marvel Anna Paquin FOX USA supernatural Music Sneak Peek nfl Women's History Month AMC doctor who Hallmark Character Guide Nickelodeon Interview archives facebook Freeform slashers politics spain Musicals hist New York Comic Con 72 Emmy Awards TCA kids scary movies TCA 2017 streaming Dark Horse Comics Comedy Central spanish language Acorn TV 2017 halloween DC streaming service VOD Syfy composers adventure Extras BET Turner Classic Movies Netflix Christmas movies Ellie Kemper Action Summer Lifetime golden globes Walt Disney Pictures romance Fox News IFC Watching Series CW Seed Mystery indie Thanksgiving award winner GoT dark Disney Musical OWN richard e. Grant E! Paramount BET Awards travel Family TCA Winter 2020 nbcuniversal RT History Photos Masterpiece rotten movies we love christmas movies science fiction docudrama game of thrones DGA PBS indiana jones dramedy directors Starz Writers Guild of America History BBC One documentary Oscars Mindy Kaling Television Academy HBO The Walking Dead zero dark thirty Rock dc Adult Swim natural history Ghostbusters independent Binge Guide stoner Comic Book Stephen King Pride Month Crackle BBC America Tomatazos RT21 animated harry potter TV renewals VICE Apple what to watch comics Sci-Fi rotten space Year in Review OneApp MCU Superheroe YouTube Red 71st Emmy Awards unscripted Kids & Family Quiz Holiday GLAAD Biopics social media asian-american free movies Countdown Cartoon Network Shudder diversity Marathons Amazon Discovery Channel reboot Pirates FX on Hulu A24 Arrowverse Columbia Pictures TV green book sag awards Spike TCA Awards breaking bad Esquire FX disaster Mudbound 20th Century Fox Polls and Games Endgame DC Comics IFC Films canceled venice Marvel Studios