Oscars 2012 - Top Contenders for Best Foreign Feature Film

The Oscars have always been the pinnacle of cinematic achievement. Despite the popularity of International film festivals such as Cannes, Venice, TIFF, NYFF, Berlinale and others, the Academy Awards celebrations continue to remain the biggest opportunity for international film-makers to capture the attention of global audience. The 84th Academy Awards has 63 submissions for the best Foreign Film. CI presents the top picks for the ultimate glory.

and the Best Foreign Feature Film for 2012 goes to ....

Where do we go now ? (Lebanon)

A smart and bittersweet comedy by the popular Lebanese actress Nadine Labaki. The movie is about a group of young women trying to prevent Muslim-Christian inter-religious conflict in a peaceful village in Lebanon. Where do we go now ? charmed the audiences with its clever wit, walking away with the People's Choice Award at the 2011 Toronto International Film Awards. If previous winners are anything to go by (King's Speech, Slumdog Millionaire), it stands a great chance of Oscar glory. The movie also impressed at the Cannes Film Festival winning the François Chalais Prize.

Nader and Simin, A Separation (Iran)

Asghar Farhadi's brilliant human drama with a Hitchcockian flavor won numerous awards at festivals around the world. It was most notably the Winner of Golden Bear at 2011 Berliane as well as Best Actors Silver Bears for Peyman Moaadi and Shahab Hosseini, and Best Actress Silver Bears for Leila Hatami and Sareh Bayat. Add the IMDB Top#153 ranking and a 100% fresh certificate at Rotten Tomatoes, and we got ourselves a top contender, and Cine-International's pick as the favorite. 

Once upon a time in Anatolia (Turkey)

An intricate human drama about a day in the life of a murder-investigation from the enormously gifted Nuri Bilge Ceylan. I personally thought the movie was a little too long for comfort at 150 mins, but it also adds to the depth of the human portrayal. I'm sure the Academy wouldn't mind. It won the Grand Jury prize at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival for best Film as well as a Palme d'Or nomination for Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

Le Havre (Finland)

Written, Directed and produced by the Finnish auteur Aki Kaurismäki, Le Havre is a delightful comedy-drama about an aging shoe-shiner who tries to protect a African immigrant boy set in the French harbor city of Le Havre. The movie won the FIPRESCI Prize for best film at the Cannes Film Festival as well as a Gold Hugo at the Chicago International Film Festival. Given the academy's predeliction towards intricate, dark and serious dramas, Le Havre might find itself sidelined given it's rather jovial demeanor, but we have been surprised by the Oscar jury before.

Footnote (Israel)

An Israeli drama about the power struggle between a son and father, both teaching at the eccentric Talmud department of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, captured attention at the 2011 Cannes Film festival winning the Best Screenplay Award as well as a Palme d'or nomination for writer-director Joseph Cedar. At home, the movie won an impressive 9 Ophir awards (Israel's equivalent of the Academy Awards). An intricate and well-constructed plot, along with brilliant performances by the lead might do the trick with the jury.