2018 Oscar Predictions: Best Foreign Language Film (Updated January 14, 2018)

Predicting the eventual five Oscar nominees for Best Foreign Language Film is made difficult by the two-step process that began after the Oct. 2 deadline for countries to submit entries. (Scroll down for the most up-to-date predictions for this year’s Best Foreign Language Film race.)

First, the several hundred academy members of the Foreign-Language Film screening committee are divided into groups and required to watch a number of the submissions over a two-month period that ends in mid December. They will rate them from 6 to 10 and their top six vote-getters make it to the next round, as will three films added by the 20 members of the executive committee.

Those nine semi-finalists will be screened three per day beginning in early January by select committee members in both New York and Hollywood who will then vote for the final five which will be revealed, along with the other Oscar nominations on Jan. 23, 2018.

The entire academy membership will get screeners of these five films and vote for the winner, which will be revealed on the Oscars on March 4, 2018.

UPDATED: January 14, 2018

On Thursday (Dec. 14), the academy announced the nine semi-finalists in the Foreign-Language Film race at the Oscars. The clear frontrunner in the group is the Swedish entry, “The Square,” which just swept the European Film Awards. Among its rivals for Best Picture at the EFAs were two other films that have made the cut with the academy: Hungary’s “On Body And Soul” and Russia’s “Loveless.”

One of the other five EFA nominees was submitted to the Oscars but was snubbed: France’s “BPM (Beats Per Minute),” The fifth EFA contender “The Other Side of Hope,” was not entered by Finland which went with “Tom of Finland” instead.

While last year’s shortlist of line had six films from Europe, this year’s has only four with Germany’s “In the Fade,” which earned Diane Kruger the Best Actress award at Cannes, rounding out that quartet.

The other five films still in contention include two from Africa (Senegal’s “Félicité” and South Africa’s “The Wound”), two from the Middle East (Israel’s “Foxtrot” and Lebanon’s “The Insult) and one from South America (Chile’s “A Fantastic Woman”).

The absence of Asia from the shortlist is striking, especially given the high profile of the Cambodian entry “First They Killed My Father” by Angelina Jolie, which qualified based on her dual citizenship with that country. This acclaimed biopic chronicles the horrific childhood of Loung Ung under the deadly Khmer Rouge in 1970s Cambodia. Jolie worked with Ung, who is now a human rights activist, to adapt her 2000 memoir of the same name. One of Jolie’s children, Maddox, is Cambodian by birth, and she says he was the one who encouraged her to make this movie as he wanted to know more about his heritage.

Six of the nine film were decided by the several hundred academy members who volunteered to be on the Foreign-Language Film screening committee while the other three were added by the 20 members of the executive committee, chaired by academy governor and Oscar-winning producer Mark Johnson (“Rain Man,” 1988).

We are predicting all 24 of the competitive categories at the Oscars.

Best Picture | Best Director | Best Original Screenplay | Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Actor | Best Actress | Best Supporting Actor | Best Supporting Actress
Best Cinematography | Best Costume Design | Best Film Editing | Best Production Design
Best Makeup & Hairstyling | Best Sound Editing | Best Sound Mixing | Best Visual Effects
Best Original Score | Best Original Song
Best Animated Feature | Best Documentary Feature | Best Foreign Language Film
Best Animated Short | Best Documentary Short | Best Live-Action Short

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