Goodbye to (Foreign) Language: Why Godard’s film will be nominated for Picture, Director & Screenplay

Goodbye to Language” has just been added to GoldDerby’s Oscars predictions center for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay, and its chances of reaping some serious Oscar nominations may be much greater than most of us are giving it credit for.

Goodbye to Language,’ Marion Cotillard, Timothy Spall
win National Society of Film Critics’ Awards

“Goodbye” did manage to take home the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and it recently beat out “Boyhood” for Best Picture at the National Society of Film Critics Awards. The film’s writer-director is none other than the legendary Jean-Luc Godard, whose notable films include “Breathless” (1960), “Pierrot le Fou” (1965), “Band of Outsiders” (1964), “Contempt” (1963), and “My Life to Live (Vivre sa vie)” (1962).

In a 2002 Sight & Sound poll, Godard was ranked third in the critics’ list of the top directors of all time. And despite never receiving an Academy Award nomination in any competitive category, Godard was awarded an Honorary Oscar in 2010. The academy may feel inclined to recognize the auteur, who recently celebrated his 84th birthday, with a competitive Oscar nomination as a way of recognizing his lifetime achievements.

It isn’t uncommon for foreign-language films to sneak their way into major Oscar categories, causing major surprises or upsets. In recent years, how many were predicting the Best Director nominations for Pedro Almodovar (“Talk to Her”), Fernando Meirelles (“City of God”), Clint Eastwood (“Letters from Iwo Jima”) or Michael Haneke (“Amour“)?

This year, “Goodbye to Language” is ineligible for a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, as its was jointly produced by France and Switzerland, and those respective countries opted to submit “Saint Laurent” and “The Circle” for consideration instead.

But the film’s absence from the Foreign Film category may actually help its chances in other races. Historically, when a notable film was ineligible in the foreign category (often because its country of origin opted to submit a different film), Oscar voters have been known to rally behind the film in even more prestigious races. The following foreign films have received nods in Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay categories despite being left off the ballot for Best Foreign Language Film:

9 semi-finalists for Foreign Language Oscars: ‘Ida,’ ‘Force Majeure,’ ‘Wild Tales,’ …

BEST PICTURE

Nine foreign language films have been nominated for Best Picture. The first, “Grand Illusion” (1938) was nominated before the existence of the Best Foreign Language Film category. Of the eight other foreign films to be nominated for Best Picture, three weren’t nominated in the foreign category:

– “Cries and Whispers” (1973) — also nominated for Director and Original Screenplay
– “The Postman (Il Postino)” (1995) — also nominated for Director and Adapted Screenplay
– “Letters from Iwo Jima” (2006) — also nominated for Director and Original Screenplay

It is worth noting that since there is no longer a limit of five Best Picture nominees, and that there can now be as many as 10, the chances of “Goodbye to Language” sneaking into the race are much greater than the films that broke through before 2009.

BEST DIRECTOR

28 foreign-language films have been nominated for Best Director (surprisingly, more than triple the number that have made the Best Picture lineup). Of those 28 films, more than half (15) were not nominated for Best Foreign Language Film:

– “La Dolce Vita” (1961) — also nominated for Original Screenplay
– “Divorce, Italian Style” (1962) — also won Original Screenplay
– “Satyricon” (1970)
– “Cries and Whispers” (1973) — also nominated for Picture and Original Screenplay
– “Face to Face” (1976)
– “La Cage aux Folles” (1979) — also nominated for Adapted Screenplay
– “Das Boot” (1982) — also nominated for Adapted Screenplay
– “Ran” (1985)
– “My Life as a Dog” (1987) — also nominated for Adapted Screenplay
– “Red” (1994) — also nominated for Original Screenplay
– “The Postman (Il Postino)” (1995) — also nominated for Picture and Adapted Screenplay
– “Talk to Her” (2002) — also won Original Screenplay
– “City of God” (2003) — also nominated for Adapted Screenplay
– “Letters from Iwo Jima” (2006) — also nominated for Picture and Original Screenplay
– “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (2007) — also nominated for Adapted Screenplay

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BEST SCREENPLAY (ORIGINAL OR ADAPTED)

Of the 69 foreign-language nominees for either Original or Adapted Screenplay since the introduction of the Foreign Language Film category, 36 (roughly 55%) missed out on a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.

– “Piasà” (1949) — Original Screenplay
– “La Ronde” (1951) — Adapted Screenplay
– “Mr. Hulot’s Holiday” (1955) — Original Screenplay
– “The Red Balloon” (1956) — Original Screenplay (won)
– “I Vitelloni” (1957) — Original Screenplay
– “The 400 Blows” (1959) — Original Screnplay
– “Wild Strawberries” (1959) — Original Screenplay
– “Hiroshima Mon Amour” (1960) — Original Screenplay
– “Ballad of a Soldier” (1961) — Original Screenplay
– “La Dolce Vita” (1961) — Original Screenplay (also nominated for Best Director)
– “General della Rovere” (1961) — Original Screenplay
– “Divorce, Italian Style” (1962) — Original Screenplay* (also nominated for Best Director)
– “Last Year at Marienbad” (1962) — Original Screenplay
– “The Organizer” (1964) — Original Screenplay
– “That Man from Rio” (1964) — Original Screenplay
– “Casanova 70” (1965) — Original Screenplay
– “The War Is Over” (1967) — Original Screenplay
– “The Damen” (1969) — Original Screenplay
– “The Conformist” (1971) — Adapted Screenplay
– “Murmur of the Heart” (1972) — Original Screenplay
– “Cries and Whispers” (1973) — Original Screenplay (also nominated for Picture and Director)
– “And Now My Love” (1975) — Original Screenplay
– “Casanova” (1976) — Adapted Screenplay
– “Autumn Sonata” (1978) — Original Screenplay
– “La Cage aux Folles” (1979) — Adapted Screenplay (also nominated for Director)
– “Mon Oncle d’Amerique” (1980) — Original Screenplay
– “Das Boot” (1982) — Adapted Screenplay (also nominated for Director)
– “El Norte” (1984) — Original Screenplay
– “My Life as a Dog’ (1987) — Adapted Screenplay (also nominated for Director)
– “Europa Europa” (1991) — Adapted Screenplay
– “Red” (1994) — Original Screenplay (also nominated for Director)
– “The Postman (Il Postino)” (1995) — Adapted Screenplay (also nominated for Picture and Director)
– “Talk to Her” (2002) — Original Screenplay* (also nominated for Director)
– “Y Tu Mamá También” (2002) — Original Screenplay
– “City of God” (2003) — Adapted Screenplay (also nominated for Director)
– “The Motorcycle Diaries” (2004) — Adapted Screenplay
– “Letters from Iwo Jima” (2006) — Original Screenplay (also nominated for Picture and Director)
– “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (2007) — Adapted Screenplay (also nominated for Director)

Do you agree with me that “Goodbye to Language” is a serious Oscars threat? Use our drag-and-drop menu below to predict Best Picture, or click here to prediction all Oscar categories, as well as Golden Globes, SAG Awards, Critics’ Choice, and more.

6 thoughts on “Goodbye to (Foreign) Language: Why Godard’s film will be nominated for Picture, Director & Screenplay

  1. LMAO Goldderby you used to be much more respectable than this. Goodbye to Language isn’t making into best picture. The comparisons to Cries and Whispers and Talk to Her make zero sense. You know, you can make an article about how GtL without saying it’s getting into BP right?

    And yes, many predicted Haneke to get into Director and the film to get into Picture. It was never a lock but when Oscar nomination morning came, we knew there was a chance he’d get in.

  2. It’s hard to take this seriously when, as the previous poster said, it’s not even eligible. Try checking the Academy’s list of eligible films.

  3. Mr. Boneschansker, you need to investigate better or get a better editor to avoid erroneous facts. First of all, only you need to fact-check the AMPAS list to know “Goodbye to Language” is ineligible, as other comments mentioned before. Second, few of the examples were wrong. Ex: “Letters from Iwo Jima”. In the article you mentioned Eastwood was a “surprise”. I guess you didn’t follow the race that year, because the evidence said otherwise: . Next time, better fact-checking arguments before publishing an article.

  4. How embarrassing! Thanks to the observant readers for pointing out that “Goodbye to Language” was in fact not submitted for consideration in other categories (most likely because it did not have a qualifying theatrical release in L.A. County). This was an oversight on my part, and on behalf of GoldDerby, I apologize to our loyal readers who expect a higher level of research put into our articles. Perhaps the film could pull off a “City of God” and pop up in a few categories at next year’s Oscars instead? I appreciate the feedback. All the best!

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