In the last few years, NZ has made its first submissions for the Academy’s Foreign Language gong with Tusi Tamasese’s The Orator, Diana Rotberg’s White Lies and Toa Fraser’s The Dead Lands. NZ hasn’t named a contender this year, but there’s no shortage of contenders jockeying for position with a week to go until deadline.
Over 60 hats are in the ring already, with only a few of the major players yet to name their selections. Poland, winner last year with Pavel Pawlikowski’s Ida, has not yet named a title. Italy, winners two years ago with Paolo Sorrentino’s La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty), has named nine nominees but won’t name its contender until 28 September.
China named its selection yesterday, confirming Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Wolf Totem.
A number of titles familiar to NZIFF-goers are in the running, including the second part of Miguel Gomes’ Arabian Nights trilogy (Portugal), Roy Andersson’s A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence (Sweden), and Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s The Assassin (Taiwan).
Cambodia’s entry is The Last Reel (pictured) by Kulikar Sotho, fixer for Annie Goldson’s Cambodia-set doco Brother Number One and Kieran Darcy-Smith’s Wish You Were Here, featuring Antony Starr. The Last Reel won the Spirit of Asia award at the Tokyo IFF last year. Later this year it will head across the Cambodian border into Laos to play the Luang Prabang Film Festival, arguably the world’s best annual gathering of ASEAN films.
Submissions for the Foreign Language Oscar close on 1 October. Nine finalists will be shortlisted in December, with the nominees announced (for all Oscar categories) on 14 January. The Oscar ceremony will take place Monday 29 February (NZ time).