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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Snubbed at Oscars, Let the Right One In Racks Up Another Prize

The Dublin Film Critics Circle has selected Tomas Alfredson's Let the Right One In as Best Film at the Dublin International Film Festival. It's become a familiar refrain:

Best Foreign Language Film:

  • Boston Society of Film Critics
  • Broadcast Film Critics Association
  • Calgary International Film Festival
  • Chicago Film Critics Association
  • Florida Film Critics Circle
  • Kansas City Film Critics Circle
  • Online Film Critics Society
  • Phoenix Film Critics Circle
  • San Diego Film Critics Society
  • San Francisco Film Critics Circle
  • Satellite Awards
  • Southeastern Film Critics Association
  • Toronto Film Critics Association
  • Washington DC Area Film Critics Association

And yet, you will not see Let the Right One In mentioned tonight at the Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film category. No, it hasn't even been nominated. That's because of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' bizarre rules when it comes to foreign flicks. Apparently, the Academy cannot evaluate any movie it chooses when it comes to deciding nominees. Rather, they can only consider the films each nation has deemed worthy of being submitted for consideration. This has caused many worthy films to be excluded over the years, whether it be for political reasons, or because said nation doesn't feel that it wants to be represented by what it deems to be a "lowly genre film".

And so, alas, Sweden did not submit Let the Right One In for consideration, leaving a movie good enough for a Best Picture nomination to be left out in the cold completely. Shame, really.


Laurent. said...

Correct me if you know better, but it was my understanding that, due to its release date in the U.S.A., Let the Right One In could be presented next year at the Academy Awards.

B-Sol said...

I don't believe that's true. I do not think U.S. release date is a qualifying factor.

Anonymous said...

I am so ashamed of being Swedish when stuff like this happen. Ah well, at least LTROI took a whole bunch of other awards.

gord said...

Good enough for a best picture nomination? Come on now, that's a bit of a stretch isn't it...

BJ Colangelo said...

i don't think it's a stretch at all. "the reader" was nominated and that is by far one of the slowest films i've ever watched. kate winslet is great, but that film should NOT have been there.

B-Sol said...

I don't think it's a stretch at all. Newsweek, AICN and others listed it as their number one pick of the year, ahead of any nominated film. I'm not alone in the opinion that it was one of the best movies of 2008.

Laurent. said...

You are right that it has nothing to do with the American release date...

I retraced the original information (from IGN):

"Ace Swedish vampire movie Let the Right One In didn't make the cut though - with the movie apparently ineligible for the category because it was released after the Swedish cut-off date."

I thought, if it's released after the cut-off date, that it meant it was eligible for next year's competition.

Laurent. said...

Very sorry for the double comment, but I dug a bit further and here is the official rule for the Best Foreign Language Film Award:


Which states: The motion picture must be first released in the country submitting it no earlier than October 1, 2007, and no later than September 30, 2008

But according to IMDB ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1139797/releaseinfo ), the original public release (festival excluded) of LTROI was on October 24th in Sweden.

So I guess it could be presented next year if Sweden doesn't find a better movie to submit (stupid "one movie per country rule").

B-Sol said...

hmmmm....that is a BIZARRE cut-off, especially since it doesn't apply for the other categories. Maybe we will see it up next year. but yeah, the one-movie-per-country rule is ridiculous.

Mr. Cavin said...

"...but yeah, the one-movie-per-country rule is ridiculous."

I don't think so. I mean, yeah, on the surface it seems like some sort of affirmative action thing, but consider how Eurocentric and lopsided the Academy Awards have always proven themselves to be. Do you not think that, without this rule, France and Sweden would be the only foreign-language nationalities to be wrestling over the yearly Oscar? We likely would never have discovered how interesting movies from Romania and Iran have become.

B-Sol said...

I'm not a fan of these "leveling the playing field" maneuvers. Hell, I'm still steamed over the wild card in baseball....The cream rises to the top.

Mr. Cavin said...

"The cream rises to the top."

Wow. I don't think I've ever heard a movie buff say that before. Certainly not in any conversation where the "top" can be inferred to mean the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Awards (or nomination) for achievement in film.

I know it's just a matter of taste, sure, but I'll bet there are more examples we'd agree disproves your statement than ones proving it.

The fact that the current bylaws in film selection barely prevent the Academy from all but ignoring world-wide input in favor of that from predominantly white Christian European nations seems so self-evident that I hardly know how to argue with you about it. Surely you understand that this represents a prejudice, not an indication that Europeans tend to make make superior movies?

B-Sol said...

If anything, the ability of nations to submit as many films as they like, and/or the ability of Academy members to independently evaluate as many as they desire would theoretically give plenty of other worthy filmmakers from a wider spectrum of nations a chance at nomination.

Mr. Cavin said...

That's completely true, or it would be in a world as perfect as we wish this one was. What I am afraid of is that, given the ability to submit more European movies, that the academy will choose to nominate more European movies. I have seen very little indication that my pessimism is unwarranted, but I am indeed warmed by your optimism.

What the Academy should do is present an entire new awards show for films produced and first released outside of the US. A whole Foreign Film Oscars (you know, like a winter Olympics). It'd show the rest of the world that we love their movies enough to recognize their actors and directors and supporting casts, writers, special effect, etc. As it is, we only really recognize their titles, and I think the single statuette ends up in a production company office somewhere.

B-Sol said...

A foreign language Oscars, that really is a terrific idea. Even if it was televised on something like IFC or (the old) Bravo.

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