Sunday, February 24, 2013

Film Club: Oscars 2013

Tonight is Oscar night, the biggest night of the year in Hollywood. We're concluding our look at the top foreign films this awards season with an overview of the nominees for Best Foreign Language Film.

You know the famous gold Oscar statuette?
It's modeled after this guy, Mexican director
Emilio Fernández, who was convinced to
pose nude as the model. Really.
Amour - Austria

If we had to choose tonight's winner, Amour would be our choice. This French-language film tells the story of an elderly couple who must deal with the effects of the wife's stroke on their lives and marriage. It has already won the award for Best Film not in the English Language at the BAFTAs, as well as Best Film at the Césars this year. Even more notable is that the film is also nominated in the Best Picture category, as it is only the ninth non-English language nominated film in the award's history. The last film to be nominated in both categories was Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon in 2000. Although it would be great if Amour took both awards, we're not holding our breath.

War Witch (Rebelle) - Canada

Mainly filmed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, War Witch tells the story of a 12 year-old girl named Komona who is abducted from her village and forced to become a child soldier. The French-language film is also nominated for Best Motion Picture at the upcoming Canadian Screen Awards, while the young actress playing Komona has already won Best Actress at last year's Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

No - Chile

If any film is going to beat Amour, it's likely to be Chile's first ever nominee, No. This Spanish-language film tells the story of the 1988 Chilean national referendum on whether or not dictator Augusto Pinochet would stay in power. The main character, René, dedicates himself to the "No" campaign to remove Pinochet as part of an advertising team that hopes to convince voters through the use of upbeat films. So why do we think it might convince the Oscar voters and secure a win? Three words: Gael García Bernal.

Queen Caroline Mathilde of Denmark,
painted by Francis Cotes.
A Royal Affair (En kongelig affære) - Denmark

The Danish film A Royal Affair is set in the court of mentally ill King Christian VII of Denmark in the 18th century. It tells the story of the romance between Queen Caroline Mathilde and her husband's advisor and physician. The pair work together to reform Danish society while having their affair. We haven't seen the film yet, but suffice it to say that things didn't end well for the physician in real life.

Kon-Tiki - Norway

Our final film, Kon-Tiki, is also a historical drama. It tells the story of the 1947 Kon-Tiki expedition, in which Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl built a raft of the same name out of balsa wood and used it to sail across the Pacific Ocean from Peru to Polynesia. Most anthropologists at the time disagreed with his theory that people from South America could have settled in Polynesia in pre-Columbian times, so he set out to prove them wrong. He and his crew sailed for over 100 days, but we'll leave you to watch the film or read about his expedition to find out what happened! The film is in both English and Norwegian.

The Academy Awards are shown in over 100 countries, so tune in tonight if you want to find out who wins!