5 Foreign Films That Should Have Been Nominated for an Academy Award (Part II)

This is the second part of my list of foreign films that should have been nominated for an Academy Awards. As my previous list – 5 Foreign Films that Should Have Been Nominated for an Academy Award (Part I) – I am listing only those films that were officially submitted by their respective countries for consideration.

I. In the Mood for Love [2000]

Directed by Wong Kar-wai (Chungking Express [1994]), this film follows a man and a woman living in Hong Kong who find out that their spouses are having an affair. Confronted with this bizarre state of affairs, the pair also grows closer. Subtle, moving and profound, In The Mood for Love is a modern classic of a film whose score Yumeji’s Theme by Shigeru Umebayashi (first featuring in Seijun Suzuki’s film Yumeji) brings out all the nuances of Su and Chow’s unusual situation and contributes to the film’s unforgettable atmosphere.

II. The Seventh Seal [1957]

Probably Ingmar Bergman’s greatest films, The Seventh Seal is set in the Middle Ages and follows a group of people who try to escape the plight of the majority – becoming victims of a plague sweeping the Earth. Steeped in religious nuances and symbolism, The Seventh Seal is an entrancing cinematic experience and few know that it is actually based on a play (Wood Painting) by Bergman himself who first devised this story for his acting students.

III. Nobody Knows [2004]

Loosely based on a shocking true story of Tokyo’s child abandonment case of 1988, this film by Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda is about a  twelve-year-old boy Akira who is forced to care for his siblings after their mother disappears. Heart-breaking and powerful, Nobody Knows is one of the best films about the traumas and hardship of childhood.

IV. The Story of Qiu Ju [1992]

This tragicomedy by Chinese director Zhang Yimou is based on a novella by Yuan Bin Chen and tells of a peasant woman who seeks redress after her husband was kicked in a groin by a village chief. Starring Gong Li (Raise the Red Lantern [1991]) in the lead role, it is a remarkable portrayal of a woman trying to navigate one tricky terrain while fighting Chinese bureaucracy.

V. Gomorrah [2008]

Matteo Garrone directed this masterwork from the book of the same name by Roberto Saviano. The focus here is one mafia-controlled region of Italy and five individuals who come in contact with the brutal force of the Neapolitan mob. The film also stars Toni Servillo (The Great Beauty [2013]) and its stark realism is simply remarkable.

14 thoughts on “5 Foreign Films That Should Have Been Nominated for an Academy Award (Part II)

  1. I’m total agreement about four of the five choices. I can’t speak on Nobody Knows however, because I hadn’t heard of it until today, though I’m quite familiar with the director and his other work, so I’m sure it’s worth any accolade out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have not seen Nobody Knows or Gomorrah I am so excited so track these down now thanks my dear. You have now sorted my Saturday night viewing! In the Mood for Love was superb and equally so, the haunting soundtrack too. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. I have seen so many awards’ injustices over the years that I have become more or less indifferent to ceremonies, but especially to the Academy Awards. There are Best Picture winners that no one can name nowadays, everyone forgot long time ago and certainly do not regard as “good” anymore, and then there are films that never graced big festivals but are beloved by many and will live in people’s hearts forever, or so it seems. There are also films that bombed at box office, only to gain an iconic and “timeless” cult status in time. Awards are “self-congratulations” of the moment and it is time that is the best of all critics.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hear you right there. It’s no wonder why I’ve heard people say that the Oscars, Grammys, etc are jokes. Very good point there. It’s why I’ve heard The English Patient is a punchline for some award-winning movie that no one watched or remembers. That’s saying nothing about how Harvey Weinstein’s involvement in the film has done no favors in hindsight, but that’s a conversation for another day. I’ve noticed that about movies that don’t win awards but are still beloved or movies that may have been panned at first only for people to re-rate them as underrated classics years down the road. The latter situation is the cinematic version of what I call “The Pinkerton Effect” as a reference to the Weezer album. You’re spot on when it comes to these major award ceremonies being self-congratulatory.

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