Oscar Predictions: Best International Feature – Could This Year Be the Most Competitive in Decades?

·8-min read

Variety Awards Circuit section is the home for all awards news and related content throughout the year, featuring the following: the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tony awards ceremonies, curated by Variety senior awards editor Clayton Davis. The prediction pages are Davis’ assessment of the current standings of the race and do not reflect personal preferences for any film or performance. Like any organization or body that votes, each individual category is fluid and subject to change. Predictions are updated every Thursday.

LAST UPDATED: Sept. 22, 2022

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2023 Oscars Predictions: Best International Feature

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CATEGORY COMMENTARY: Could this be the most competitive year for the international feature category? Looks like it is based on the field that will only yield 15 films on the shortlist when the Academy names them in late December.

More announcements have been made for Sweden with “Boy from Heaven” and Venezuela with “The Box.”

Countries that are typically Academy favorites like Argentina, Denmark, France and Mexico have yet to announce. We expect to see Santiago Mitre’s “Argentina, 1985” going forward for its title country, especially with the backing of Amazon Studios to help usher it along. Denmark is expected to choose Ali Abbasi’s vivacious crime-thriller “Holy Spider,” even though it’s not spoken in its native language.

Even though “Bardo” got off to a rough start at Telluride and Venice, Mexico would be foolish not to move forward with a big name like Alejandro González Iñárritu, who was nominated for the country with his masterful “Amores perros” (2000) and “Biutiful” (2010). The first and only time Mexico took home the prize was for Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” (2018). The streamer also has Edward Berger’s “All Quiet on the Western Front” that will go forth for Germany.

France will be a nail-biter with plenty of quality selections to choose from including the Venice Silver Lion winner “Saint Omer” from Alice Diop, which was picked up by Neon’s boutique label Super. They could also go with Mia Hansen-Løve’s “One Fine Morning” or Claire Denis’ “Both Sides of the Blade.” The country seems unlikely to go with Romain Gavras’ “Athena,” given the distribution of Netflix nor the Dardenne’s “Tori and Lokita,” which could have gone either way as France or Belgium’s selection. The latter opted for Lukas Dhont’s “Close.”

See the latest film predictions, in all 23 categories, in one place on Variety’s Oscars Collective.

To see the ranked predictions for each individual category, visit Variety’s Oscars Hub.

ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS AND RANKINGS:

And The Predicted Nominees Are:

Rank

Name

Director(s)

Country

1

“Close”

Lukas Dhont

Belgium (OFFICIAL)

The intense friendship between two thirteen-year old boys Leo and Remi suddenly gets disrupted. Struggling to understand what has happened, Léo approaches Sophie, Rémi’s mother. “Close” is a film about friendship and responsibility.

2

“Holy Spider”

Ali Abbasi

Denmark

A journalist descends into the dark underbelly of the Iranian holy city of Mashhad as she investigates the serial killings of sex workers by the so called “Spider Killer”, who believes he is cleansing the streets of sinners.

3

“Argentina, 1985”

Santiago Mitre

Argentina

A team of lawyers take on the heads of Argentina’s bloody military dictatorship during the 1980s in a battle against odds and a race against time.

4

“Bardo (or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths)”

Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Mexico

A renowned Mexican journalist and documentary filmmaker living in Los Angeles, who, after being named the recipient of a prestigious international award, is compelled to return to his native country.

5

“Decision to Leave”

Park Chan-wook

South Korea
(OFFICIAL)

A detective investigating a man’s death in the mountains meets the dead man’s mysterious wife in the course of his dogged sleuthing.

Next in Line

6

“Saint Omer”

Alice Diop

France

Follows Rama, a novelist who attends the trial of Laurence Coly at the Saint-Omer Criminal Court to use her story to write a modern-day adaptation of the ancient myth of Medea, but things don’t go as expected.

7

“EO”

Jerzy Skolimowski

Poland (OFFICIAL)

Follows a donkey who encounters on his journeys good and bad people, experiences joy and pain, exploring a vision of modern Europe through his eyes.

8

“Klondike”

Maryna Er Gorbach

Ukraine (OFFICIAL)

The story of a Ukrainian family living on the border of Russia and Ukraine during the start of the war. Irka refuses to leave her house even as the village gets captured by armed forces. Shortly after they find themselves at the center of an international air crash catastrophe on July 17, 2014.

9

“Corsage”

Marie Kreutzer

Austria (OFFICIAL)

A fictional account of the later years of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. On Christmas Eve 1877, Elisabeth turns 40 and is officially deemed an old woman and starts trying to maintain her public image, once idolized for her beauty.

10

“All Quiet on the Western Front”

Edward Berger

Germany (OFFICIAL)

A young German soldier’s terrifying experiences and distress on the western front during World War I.

Other Top-Tier Contenders

11

“The Quiet Girl”

Colm Bairéad

Ireland
(OFFICIAL)

12

“Joyland”

Saim Sadiq

Pakistan

13

Utama

Alejandro Loayza Grisi

Bolivia (OFFICIAL)

14

“Alcarràs”

Carla Simón

Spain (OFFICIAL)

15

“Girl Picture”

Alli Haapasalo

Finland (OFFICIAL)

16

“Goddamned Asura”

Lou Yi-an

Taiwan
(OFFICIAL)

17

“One Fine Morning”

Mia Hansen-Løve

France

18

“Return to Seoul”

Davy Chou

Cambodia

19

“The Eight Mountains”

Charlotte Vandermeersch and Felix Van Groenigen

Italy

20

“Beautiful Beings”

Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson

Iceland (OFFICIAL)

Also In Contention

21

“Boy from Heaven”

Tarik Saleh

Sweden (OFFICIAL)

22

“Cinema Sabaya”

Orit Fouks Rotem

Israel (OFFICIAL)

23

“A Piece of Sky”

Michael Koch

Switzerland
(OFFICIAL)

24

“The Employer and the Employee”

Manolo Nieto

Uruguay
(OFFICIAL)

25

“The Box”

Lorenzo Vigas

Venezuela (OFFICIAL)

26

“A Ballad”

Aida Begić

Bosnia and Herzegovina (OFFICIAL)

27

“Lo Invisible”

Javier Andrade

Ecuador (OFFICIAL)

28

“Mars One”

Gabriel Martins

Brazil (OFFICIAL)

29

“Our Brothers”

Rachid Bouchareb

Algeria (OFFICIAL)

30

“Darkling”

Dušan Milić

Serbia (OFFICIAL)

All Contenders Listed (Unranked-Alphabetical)

“A Cup of Coffee and New Shoes On”

Gentian Koçi

Albania (OFFICIAL)

“Our Brothers”

Rachid Bouchareb

Algeria (OFFICIAL)

“Aurora’s Sunrise”

Inna Sahakyan

Armenia (OFFICIAL)

“Corsage”

Marie Kreutzer

Austria (OFFICIAL)

“Close”

Lukas Dhont

Belgium (OFFICIAL)

“Utama”

Alejandro Loayza Grisi

Bolivia (OFFICIAL)

“A Ballad”

Aida Begić

Bosnia and Herzegovina (OFFICIAL)

“Mars One”

Gabriel Martins

Brazil (OFFICIAL)

“Eternal Spring”

Jason Loftus

Canada (OFFICIAL)

“Domingo and the Mist”

Ariel Escalante

Costa Rica (OFFICIAL)

“Safe Place”

Juraj Lerotić

Croatia (OFFICIAL)

“Il Boemo”

Petr Václav

Czech Republic (OFFICIAL)

“Lo Invisible”

Javier Andrade

Ecuador (OFFICIAL)

“Girl Picture”

Alli Haapasalo

Finland (OFFICIAL)

“A Long Break”

Davit Pirtskhalava

Georgia (OFFICIAL)

“All Quiet on the Western Front”

Edward Berger

Germany (OFFICIAL)

“Magnetic Fields”

Yorgos Goussis

Greece (OFFICIAL)

“The Silence of the Mole”

Anäis Taracena

Guatemala (OFFICIAL)

“Blockade”

Ádám Tõsér

Hungary (OFFICIAL)

“Beautiful Beings”

Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson

Iceland (OFFICIAL)

“Last Film Show”

Pan Nalin

India (OFFICIAL)

“Ngeri-Ngeri Sedap”

Bene Dion Rajagukguk

Indonesia (OFFICIAL)

“World War III”

Houman Seyyedi

Iran (OFFICIAL)

“The Quiet Girl”

Colm Bairéad

Ireland (OFFICIAL)

“Cinema Sabaya”

Orit Fouks Rotem

Israel (OFFICIAL)

“Plan 75”

Chie Hayakawa

Japan (OFFICIAL)

“Life”

Emir Baigazin

Kazakhstan (OFFICIAL)

“TeraStorm”

Andrew Kaggia

Kenya (OFFICIAL)

“Looking for Venera”

Norika Sefa

Kosovo (OFFICIAL)

“January”

Viestur Kairish

Latvia (OFFICIAL)

“Pilgrims”

Laurynas Bareiša

Lithuania (OFFICIAL)

“Carbon”

Moldova (OFFICIAL)

“The Elegy of Laurei”

Dušan Kasalica

Montenegro (OFFICIAL)

“Butterfly on the Windowpane”

Sujit Bidari

Nepal (OFFICIAL)

“Narcosis”

Martijn de Jong

Netherlands (OFFICIAL)

“Muru”

Tearepa Kahi

New Zealand (OFFICIAL)

“Mediterranean Fever”

Maha Haj

Palestine (OFFICIAL)

“Birthday Boy”

Arturo Montenegro

Panama (OFFICIAL)

“Eami”

Paz Encina

Paraguay (OFFICIAL)

“EO”

Jerzy Skolimowski

Poland (OFFICIAL)

“Alma Vivia”

Cristèle Alves Meira

Portugal (OFFICIAL)

“Immaculate”

Monica Stan, George Chiper

Romania (OFFICIAL)

“Darkling”

Dušan Milić

Serbia (OFFICIAL)

“Victim”

Michal Blaško

Slovakia (OFFICIAL)

“Orchestra”

Matevž Luzar

Slovenia (OFFICIAL)

“Decision to Leave”

Park Chan-wook

South Korea (OFFICIAL)

“Alcarràs”

Carla Simón

Spain (OFFICIAL)

“Boy from Heaven”

Tarik Saleh

Sweden (OFFICIAL)

“A Piece of Sky”

Michael Koch

Switzerland (OFFICIAL)

“Goddamned Asura”

Lou Yi-an

Taiwan (OFFICIAL)

“Tug of War”

Amil Shivji

Tanzania (OFFICIAL)

“Under the Fig Trees”

Erige Sehiri

Tunisia (OFFICIAL)

“Kerr”

Tayfun Pirselimoğlu

Turkey (OFFICIAL)

“Tembele”

Morris Mugisha

Uganda (OFFICIAL)

“Klondike”

Maryna Er Gorbach

Ukraine (OFFICIAL)

“The Employer and the Employee”

Manolo Nieto

Uruguay (OFFICIAL)

“The Box”

Lorenzo Vigas

Venezuela (OFFICIAL)

“Argentina, 1985”

Santiago Mitre

Argentina

“Return to Seoul”

Davy Chou

Cambodia

“Holy Spider”

Ali Abbasi

Denmark

“Tori and Lokita”

Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne

France

“One Fine Morning”

Mia Hansen-Løve

France

“Athena”

Romain Gavras

France

“Both Sides of the Blade”

Claire Denis

France

“Saint Omer”

Alice Diop

France

“The Eight Mountains”

Charlotte Vandermeersch and Felix Van Groenigen

Italy

“Bardo (or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths)”

Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Mexico

2023 Academy Awards Predictions

BEST PICTURE | DIRECTOR | ACTOR | ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | ADAPTED SCREENPLAY | ANIMATED FEATURE | PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING | SOUND | VISUAL EFFECTS | ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE | INTERNATIONAL FEATURE | ANIMATED SHORT | DOCUMENTARY SHORT | LIVE ACTION SHORT

The 95th Oscars ceremony will be held at the Dolby Theatre and televised live on Sunday, March 12, 2022, on ABC.

2022 category winner: "Drive My Car" (Japan) - dir. Ryûsuke Hamaguchi

About Variety Awards Circuit:

Variety's unmatched coverage gives its readership unbeatable exposure in print and online, as well as provides inside reports on all the contenders in this year's awards season races. In addition to predictions, the section includes -- Awards Circuit Column, a weekly analysis dissecting the trends and contenders in the race; Awards Circuit Podcast, a weekly series featuring interviews with the top contenders in the awards race and an expert roundtable discussion with Variety's leading editors and columnists; Awards Circuit Predictions Video Series, a deep dive into specific categories, led by the leading pundits.

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