Surprise: ‘Girl’ by Lukas Dhont is not on the shortlist of contenders on an Oscar for Best foreign film. It is a list of nine films last night, it was announced by the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences. Later in January, that list will be narrowed to five nominees.
That ‘Girl’ not be the final nominees would have been, no one would be shocked: the competition this year was great, especially of old friends for the Academy. The ‘Roma’ of Alfonso …
That ‘Girl’ not be the final nominees would have been, no one would be shocked: the competition this year was great, especially of old friends for the Academy. The ‘Roma’ from Alfonso Cuaron is always sure of a place, just as the ‘Cold war’ by Pawel Pawlikowski. The first has already won an Oscar for best director with “Gravity”, the second has already won even the Oscar for foreign language film ‘Ida’. That last also did Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck with ‘Das Leben der anderen’, so also his Work ohne Autor’ is pretty sure of a nomination. The Academy would never be the Golden Palmwinnaar ‘Shoplifters’ by Hirokazu Kore-eda just left.
That means that four of the five towns all with any certainty. The chance was not very big that a Flemish movie debut just that fifth spot would get, especially since in the US a lot of love for the Lebanese film ‘Capharnaüm’. There would be to that fifth spot firmly gebikkeld.
Genekt by controversy
That ‘Girl’ even this list of nine is not successful, will come as a surprise, after the award as best debut film in Cannes. Also in the States could the film about a transgendermeisje that ballerina wants to be on good reviews count – the film scores 91% on the site Rotten Tomatoes, where 22 reviews were added. But in recent weeks, dived in the united states, some op-eds on that has a firm doctrine went against the film, written by critics who describe themselves as transgender identify. On the site of LGBTQI+leaf Out was the Academy even outright warned: ‘A vote for ‘Girl’ is a vote for a dangerous, traumatiserende, narrow-minded and one-dimensional representation of the transervaring.’ Who dares?
At least one of those pieces turned out to be written by someone that the film had not seen, but that proved no obstacle for filmbladen as The Hollywood Reporter and Variety to the opinions to share. Those magazines are read by the professionals that are part of the Academy. There came in The Hollywood Reporter a brave answer in the form of a letter by Nora Monsecour, the woman ‘Girl’ was based, but was the tide then already not to return. It can’t be otherwise, or that some nefarious pieces have the opportunities of ‘Girl’ on an Oscar genekt.
That also has to do with the selection process. Six of the nine films were chosen by the Academy, five of those six movies were all a certainty. That six movies were last minute three films added by a committee that chooses after a meeting. Play then suddenly also other elements than cinefilie. If such a committee controversy can be avoided, it will not fail.
Other criteria which are so-called, are of a geopolitical nature. The Oscars for best foreign film – not incorrectly – a European preference criticized. And then asks such a committee: we have enough Asian films selected? ‘Burning’ of Lee Chang-dong is an excellent choice, but if the movie get a nomination, that would be the first time since 1962 for South Korea.
A film that was certainly added for a better geographical distribution, ‘Ayka’ from Kazakhstan. Great film, no, but it would be surprising if more than twenty members of the Academy have seen it. The choice for some Asian films, and the Colombian film ‘Pájaros de verano ” was also a line by the account of ‘the Dogman’. The Italian director was ten years ago, was also ignored by the Academy with his ‘Gomorrah’.
That proves yet again that there is such a Oscarselectie many factors come to see that little to do with the film itself. That is also the reason why Lukas Dhont and Victor Pad in recent weeks to Los Angeles, went to screenings for Academy members in and out to lead. You need your story to sell, or you disappear among the rest. The question is whether ‘Girl’ more likely would have made with a different distributor than Netflix. The streamingbedrijf did not have the best contacts with the Academy and this year may be more focused on his big hit ‘Roma’. The chance that that movie later, also will be nominated in the category for ‘best film’.
The Discovery Award at the European Film Awards came in that sense, too late for ‘Girl’. It would not be a bad idea for the European Film Awards to a week earlier on the calendar to go next year, so the European films a push in the back for the Oscars.
Producer Dirk Impens saw earlier two films nominated are: ‘Daens’ and ‘The broken circle breakdown’. ‘Luke can’t be blamed, ” he says. ‘His campaign in LA is also not been for nothing: he has the seed for his next movies. Of course, here I am not happy with it, but disappointed would be also exaggerated. At the risk of cheesy sounding, maybe lacking now is the icing on the cake, but the boys still: what a cake.’
Also, this is not the end of the American adventure for the Girl, which is nominated for a Golden Globe. That Globe win seems a mission impossible, with competition from re – ‘Roma’ and ‘Shoplifters’. But the Globes are awarded by the strange group of 90-odd foreign filmjournalisten in Hollywood. If that make sense in a statement, they know what to do.