On Tuesday, October 11, the motion picture academy announced a record 85 entries competing for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars, and Germany’s “Toni Erdmann” is one of them. If it makes the cut, it would be the 10th film from the reunified Germany to be nominated. And if it can go all the way, it would be the nation’s third winner.
Germany previously won Best Foreign Language Film for “Nowhere in Africa” (2002) and “The Lives of Others” (2006). Before the reunification of the nation in 1990 West Germany prevailed for “The Tin Drum” (1979). The other seven Oscar nominees from the unified country were as follows:
“The Nasty Girl” (1990); lost to “Journey of Hope” (Switzerland)
“Schtonk!” (1992); lost to “Indochine” (France)
“Beyond Silence” (1997); lost to “Karakter” (Netherlands)
“Downfall” (2004); lost to “The Sea Inside” (Spain)
“Sophie Scholl: The Final Days” (2005); lost to “Tsotsi” (South Africa)
“The Baader Meinhof Complex” (2008); lost to “Departures” (Japan)
“The White Ribbon” (2009); lost to “The Secret in Their Eyes” (Argentina)
“Toni Erdmann” won’t be released in the United States by Sony Pictures Classics until Christmas Day, but it’s already a critical darling. In a recent BBC poll of film critics it made the list of the 100 best films of the 21st century so far. Then it won the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, where it also competed for festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or. Most recently it screened at the New York Film Festival, and currently has scores of 93 on MetaCritic and 93% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes.
The dramedy from writer-director Maren Ade tells a modern father-daughter story about Winfried (Peter Simonischek), who tries to bond with his workaholic daughter Ines (Sandra Huller) by assuming a false identity. It’s a markedly lighter film than the two that previously won Oscars for Germany — will that be an advantage or a liability? Watch the trailer above and let us know what you think in our forums.
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