Predicting the eventual five Oscar nominees for Best International Feature is made difficult by the three-step process that began after the November 1 deadline for countries to submit entries. To be part of the selection process for this category, which was called Best Foreign Language Film before 2020, requires a great deal of dedication. (Scroll down for the most up-to-date 2022 Oscar predictions for Best International Feature.)
First, the several hundred academy members of the International Feature screening committee were divided into groups and required to watch a minimum of 12 of the submissions over a six-week period that ended in mid December. They rated them from 6 to 10 and their top 15 vote-getters made it to the next round. That list of semi-finalists was revealed on December 21, 2021.
These 15 films are made available to the entire academy membership who can cast ballots for the final five nominees provided they attest to having watched all the entries. The nominations in this (and the other 22 competitive categories) will be announced on February 8. All voters will get access to the five nominees and can vote for the winner, which will be revealed on the Oscars on March 27.
Since the competitive category was introduced in 1957, European films have dominated by winning 53 times. Compare that to four victories for films from Asia, three from each of Africa and South America, and one apiece from Canada and Mexico. In 2020 and 2021, a record 93 countries submitted entries in the International Feature Film race. That was up by six from 2019, when the category was still called Best Foreign-Language Film, and eclipses the record 92 submissions in 2018 and this year.
UPDATED: January 24, 2022
Leading Contenders (ranked by likelihood of winning)
“Drive My Car” (Director: Ryusuke Hamaguchi; Japan)
“A Hero” (Director: Asghar Farhadi; Iran)
“The Worst Person in the World” (Director: Joachim Trier; Norway)
“Flee” (Director: Jonas Poher Rasmussen; Denmark)
“The Hand of God” (Director: Paolo Sorrentino; Italy)
“Compartment No. 6” (Director: Juho Kuosmanen; Finland)
Strong Contenders (alphabetical by title)
“The Good Boss” (Director: Fernando León de Aranoa; Spain)
“I’m Your Man” (Director: Maria Schrader; Germany)
“Lamb” (Director: Valdimar Jóhannsson; Iceland)
“Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom” (Director: Pawo Choyning Dorji; Bhutan)
“Prayers for the Stolen”(Director: Tatiana Huezo; Mexico)
Possible Contenders (alphabetical by title)
“Great Freedom” (Director: Sebastian Meise; Austria)
“Hive” (Director: Blerta Basholli; Kosovo)
“Playground” (Director: Laura Wandel; Belgium)
“Plaza Catedral” (Director: Abner Benaim; Panama)
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