The Oscars of the foreign assault on Hollywood | Culture

What changes five weeks. The awards season shorter than remembered in Hollywood began on January 5 with the Golden Globes, where they arrived as favorites Once upon a time in ... Hollywood Y the Irish. Maybe the prizes would be distributed with Joker and Story of a marriage. A movie that had not been released commercially, 1917, took the prize for best drama. It premiered the following Friday. In the remainder of January, he won the prize of the producers' guild and that of the directors. Last week, the British Bafta. In a year in which a handful of extraordinary films have coincided for months making big ticket offices and receiving deserved praise, the strategy of winning in the photo-finish starting from behind in the last corner has given a great result to Sam Mendes war film.

Based on the precedents and predictions of the experts, including that of this newspaper, 1917 I should have enough votes to be the winner of the 92nd edition of the Oscars. The awards season began completely open. It ends with a consensus on the rare winner of watching in Hollywood. In total, it has 10 nominations.

In video, the predictions of critics of EL PAÍS.

On the other hand, in these five weeks it has given time to digest the impact of 1917, to see the failures and compare it with the first contenders to these Oscars with a little more perspective. If there is a reaction against Mendes' film, which is accused of an exercise in an effective style, of little depth in the characters and of not having a true message about the war, the original contenders are always waiting: Joker (11 nominations), Once upon a time Y the Irish (10 each). If they do not win the main category, they can at least win in number of statuettes and leave a winning poster representative of an extraordinary year in cinema.

That is the scenario if the Oscars were a festival of American cinema. The problem is that they are not so much anymore.

Can a movie with subtitles win the Oscar?

Pedro Almodóvar and Antonio Banderas, at a party before the Oscars, this February 7 in Los Angeles.

Pedro Almodóvar and Antonio Banderas, at a party before the Oscars, this February 7 in Los Angeles.

This year, the asterisk is called Parasites. It has been so successful in the United States that it seems normal that a South Korean film (a country that had never had a nomination for the best foreign film) has six Oscar nominations. A foreign film with subtitles is not remembered available in so many Los Angeles cinemas and for so long, as if it were one more local proposal. It premiered in three American cinemas in November. It has become more than a thousand. He has raised 34 million dollars in the US and 164 worldwide. The North American industry is rendered to Parasites. This Sunday it is decided if they consider it a foreign film or a film, to dry. For the experts, Parasites It is the real alternative to the Mendes movie. There is virtually no doubt if one is better than another, but whether it can win.

The phrase of director Bong Joon-ho for the American public when collecting the Golden Globe sounds like a prophecy: “If you overcome the barrier of an inch high that are the subtitles, you will discover many more incredible films”. It's happening, at least with yours. The impact of Parasites In Hollywood, he makes it not only the favorite to win the award for best international film, but his nomination has put an asterisk next to 1917.

The consensus on Parasites leaves second as a foreign film, a long distance, to Pain and Glory, by Pedro Almodóvar, a film adored by the critics of Los Angeles but that has not had the same impact, although this nomination for Spain has encountered an international phenomenon unknown until now.

It's not by chance. In 2015, given the criticism for lack of people of color and women among the nominees, the Academy launched a five-year target. Its directors then committed to double the number of women and non-white people among the members by 2020. "I am part of that initiative," Sergio Pablos, Spanish nominated for the best film, acknowledged Friday in a meeting with the Spanish press. of animation by Klaus. Pablos entered the Academy in 2018, within the largest expansion of the voter base that this institution has made with 928 new members, half of them women and 38% non-white people.
“I think that this greater representation of different types of cinema is noticeable in the shorts and in which the films already opt for a better film,” said Pablos. "It is very possible that Klaus is today precisely nominated as the result of that initiative. ” Beside Klaus, for example, there is a French movie, I lost my body.

Greta Gerwig, director of the film 'Little Women', which has been nominated for six Oscars.

Greta Gerwig, director of the film 'Little Women', which has been nominated for six Oscars. AFP

There is still a problem of diversity and parity

The first objective that the Academy has achieved with this initiative is to make the Oscars more international, as is evident. But the path for diversity to be more or less constant will be long. This year, again there is only one non-white nominee among the 20 actors, Cynthia Erivo, as the protagonist for Harriet. The Oscars of last year They were the most diverse in history. Among the winners there was a white woman, a son of Egyptian immigrants, and a black woman and man. That photo will not be repeated this year.

But in addition, the Academy has received criticism for the lack of women nominated in the leadership category, the last female frontier in Hollywood. The most striking case is that Little Women I received six nominations but none of them were for its director, Greta Gerwig. In that initiative to increase diversity, half of the new members of the Academy were women. The proportion rose to 31% of academics. Still not enough.

There is no emotion in the categories of actors

Joaquin Phoenix will win the Oscar for best actor for Joker. Renee Zelwegger will win the best actress by Judy Brad Pitt is the best supporting actor for Once upon a time in ... Hollywood and Laura Dern the best high school for Story of a marriage. The photo of the four favorite actors has been repeated over and over again as a mantra in Hollywood. There is no precedent for a similar consensus in the categories that are usually the most exciting for the public. Any name other than those four would be a capital surprise.

The certainty of Phoenix comes to end the hopes of Antonio Banderas. But the achievement of being nominated for the best actor for an interpretation in Spanish, especially in a year with films like these, is remarkable. The only one in history who has won the Oscar for best lead actor for a non-English interpretation is Roberto Benigni, for Life is Beautiful in 1999. The Oscar will be for Joaquin Phoenix, but with this nomination Banderas has added this year to a list in which foreigners such as Javier Bardem, Gerard Depardieu, Max von Sydow or Marcelo Mastroianni are.

This will not be the year of Netflix's assault on the summit

The rise of Netflix As a great Hollywood studio, it has been consolidated this year. The tension between the great classical studios and everything they carry around, in terms of promotion, popularity, exhibition strategy, and an app can only grow. Netflix threatens an entire ecosystem and is doing it with movies, not just money. He won 17 Golden Globe nominations, more than any other study. Only one won, Laura Dern's. He has won 24 Oscars, including two for the best film. However, the pools indicate that your bets will not be among the winners. This is the year that Netflix's strategy for survival has become clear. You cannot participate in the worldwide conversation about these Oscars without having seen at least four movies that are only on Netflix (Story of a marriage, The Irish, American Factory, Klaus) The day when the Oscar winner can only be seen on Netflix is ​​not far away.

Singer Billie Eilish, who will perform at the Oscars, poses with her Grammy Awards at the last edition of the event.

Singer Billie Eilish, who will perform at the Oscars, poses with her Grammy Awards at the last edition of the event. REUTERS

There is no presenter, no need to do

In the end, all this only serves one purpose: to make a good three-hour television show and encourage people to go to the movies and talk about movies. In this sense, the Oscars, which are the world standard of the galas of prizes, have decided to try again to do the show without master of ceremonies. Last year was by necessity, when a controversy in the networks made Kevin Hart retire and they ran out of presenter. This year, by choice. "It does not mean that it will always be like this," Glenn Weiss, the director of the ceremony, told THE COUNTRY. It seems that he seemed more relaxed.

The appeal will be in some winners who have demonstrated eating the stage with a statuette in hand (Phoenix and Pitt), a list of presenters with all the celebrities of the year and, especially, the musical numbers. The Academy has invited Billie Eilish to act, the teenager who swept the Grammy and who has composed the song of the new James Bond. Idina Menzel will sing Elsa's song in Frozen II along with the voices that double it around the world, including the Spanish Gisela. Elton John will perform the nominated song of Rocketman


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