Oscar Handicap 2008: Foreign Language Film

We continue our annual Oscar Handicap with the Best Foreign Language Film category.

(For explanations as to how our scoring system works, make sure to read our first article in the series, Best Picture of the Year, linked at the bottom of this article.)

With the continued globalization of cinema and a rediscovery of foreign language films by American audiences, some have argued the need for this category, especially this year, when four of the five eventual nominees were released into theatres during the regular calendar year (most often in years past, only one or two nominees would ever find their way into theatres, and usually not until after the nominations or awards were announced).

The Breakdowns

1) Films released in the United States prior to the start of final balloting have won 23 of the past 29 times (79.31%). Advantage: Beaufort

2) Films submitted from a country in Western Europe have won 21 of 29 times (72.41%). Advantage: The Counterfeiters

3) As long as your film does not have the longest running time, you’ve won 20 of 29 times (68.97%). Advantage: Beaufort, The Counterfeiters, Katya, Mongol

4) Stories set in the past have won 17 of 29 times (58.62%). Advantage: Beaufort, The Counterfeiters, Katya, Mongol

5) The winner of the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar has won at least one award at the Cannes, Toronto or Venice Film Festival 15 or 29 times (51.72%). Advantage: None, and thus will not be included in this year’s counts

By The Numbers

Without expected front runner 4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days or controversially disqualified The Band’s Visit, it’s anyone’s race. Most people expect The Counterfeiters to take the award home, but would it not be nice to see master Polish filmmaker Andrzej Wajda to take home a real Oscar to go along with his honorary Oscar from 2000r (And if you have never read Wajda on Film: A Master’s Notes, you must read do so immediately.)

Beaufort (Israel): +1, -2, +3, +4 (68 of 116, 58.62%)

The Counterfeiters (Austria): -1, +2, +3, +4 (64 of 116, 55.17%)

Katya (Poland): -1, -2, +3, +4 (51 of 116, 43.97%)

Mongol (Kazakhstan): -1, -2, +3, +4 (51 of 116, 43.97%)

12 (Russia): -1, -2, -3, -4 (35 of 116, 30.17%)

Personal prediction for Best Foreign Language Film: The Counterfeiters

All articles in this series:

Best Picture of the Year
Best Director
Best Actor and Best Actress
Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress
Best Cinematography
Best Score, Best Editing and Best Art Direction
Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Animated Feature