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

Contenders include 'Close,' 'Decision to Leave,' 'Holy Spider' 'Klondike' and 'The Quiet Girl'

The Quiet Girl
Courtesy of Insceal

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

2023 Oscars Predictions: Best International Feature

Courtesy of Seattle International Film Festival

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:
RankNameDirector(s)Country
1“Close”Lukas DhontBelgium (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 AbbasiDenmark
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 MitreArgentina
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. IñárrituMexico
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-wookSouth 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 DiopFrance
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 SkolimowskiPoland (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 GorbachUkraine (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 KreutzerAustria (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 BergerGermany (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 BairéadIreland
(OFFICIAL)
12“Joyland”Saim SadiqPakistan
13UtamaAlejandro Loayza GrisiBolivia (OFFICIAL)
14“Alcarràs”Carla SimónSpain (OFFICIAL)
15“Girl Picture”Alli HaapasaloFinland (OFFICIAL)
16“Goddamned Asura”Lou Yi-anTaiwan
(OFFICIAL)
17“One Fine Morning”Mia Hansen-LøveFrance
18“Return to Seoul”Davy ChouCambodia
19“The Eight Mountains”Charlotte Vandermeersch and Felix Van GroenigenItaly
20“Beautiful Beings”Guðmundur Arnar GuðmundssonIceland (OFFICIAL)
Also In Contention
21“Boy from Heaven”Tarik SalehSweden (OFFICIAL)
22“Cinema Sabaya”Orit Fouks RotemIsrael (OFFICIAL)
23“A Piece of Sky”Michael KochSwitzerland
(OFFICIAL)
24“The Employer and the Employee”Manolo NietoUruguay
(OFFICIAL)
25“The Box”Lorenzo VigasVenezuela (OFFICIAL)
26“A Ballad”Aida BegićBosnia and Herzegovina (OFFICIAL)
27“Lo Invisible”Javier AndradeEcuador (OFFICIAL)
28“Mars One”Gabriel MartinsBrazil (OFFICIAL)
29“Our Brothers”Rachid BoucharebAlgeria (OFFICIAL)
30“Darkling”Dušan MilićSerbia (OFFICIAL)
All Contenders Listed (Unranked-Alphabetical)
“A Cup of Coffee and New Shoes On” Gentian KoçiAlbania (OFFICIAL)
“Our Brothers”Rachid BoucharebAlgeria (OFFICIAL)
“Aurora’s Sunrise”Inna SahakyanArmenia (OFFICIAL)
“Corsage”Marie KreutzerAustria (OFFICIAL)
“Close”Lukas DhontBelgium (OFFICIAL)
“Utama”Alejandro Loayza GrisiBolivia (OFFICIAL)
“A Ballad”Aida BegićBosnia and Herzegovina (OFFICIAL)
“Mars One”Gabriel MartinsBrazil (OFFICIAL)
“Eternal Spring”Jason LoftusCanada (OFFICIAL)
“Domingo and the Mist”Ariel EscalanteCosta Rica (OFFICIAL)
“Safe Place”Juraj LerotićCroatia (OFFICIAL)
“Il Boemo”Petr VáclavCzech Republic (OFFICIAL)
“Lo Invisible”Javier AndradeEcuador (OFFICIAL)
“Girl Picture”Alli HaapasaloFinland (OFFICIAL)
“A Long Break”Davit PirtskhalavaGeorgia (OFFICIAL)
“All Quiet on the Western Front”Edward BergerGermany (OFFICIAL)
“Magnetic Fields”Yorgos GoussisGreece (OFFICIAL)
“The Silence of the Mole”Anäis TaracenaGuatemala (OFFICIAL)
“Blockade”Ádám TõsérHungary (OFFICIAL)
“Beautiful Beings”Guðmundur Arnar GuðmundssonIceland (OFFICIAL)
“Last Film Show”Pan NalinIndia (OFFICIAL)
“Ngeri-Ngeri Sedap”Bene Dion RajagukgukIndonesia (OFFICIAL)
“World War III”Houman SeyyediIran (OFFICIAL)
“The Quiet Girl”Colm BairéadIreland (OFFICIAL)
“Cinema Sabaya”Orit Fouks RotemIsrael (OFFICIAL)
“Plan 75”Chie HayakawaJapan (OFFICIAL)
“Life”Emir BaigazinKazakhstan (OFFICIAL)
“TeraStorm”Andrew KaggiaKenya (OFFICIAL)
“Looking for Venera”Norika SefaKosovo (OFFICIAL)
“January”Viestur KairishLatvia (OFFICIAL)
“Pilgrims”Laurynas BareišaLithuania (OFFICIAL)
“Carbon”Moldova (OFFICIAL)
“The Elegy of Laurei”Dušan KasalicaMontenegro (OFFICIAL)
“Butterfly on the Windowpane”Sujit BidariNepal (OFFICIAL)
“Narcosis”Martijn de JongNetherlands (OFFICIAL)
“Muru” Tearepa KahiNew Zealand (OFFICIAL)
“Mediterranean Fever”Maha HajPalestine (OFFICIAL)
“Birthday Boy”Arturo MontenegroPanama (OFFICIAL)
“Eami”Paz EncinaParaguay (OFFICIAL)
“EO”Jerzy SkolimowskiPoland (OFFICIAL)
“Alma Vivia”Cristèle Alves MeiraPortugal (OFFICIAL)
“Immaculate”Monica Stan, George ChiperRomania (OFFICIAL)
“Darkling”Dušan MilićSerbia (OFFICIAL)
“Victim”Michal BlaškoSlovakia (OFFICIAL)
“Orchestra”Matevž LuzarSlovenia (OFFICIAL)
“Decision to Leave”Park Chan-wookSouth Korea (OFFICIAL)
“Alcarràs”Carla SimónSpain (OFFICIAL)
“Boy from Heaven”Tarik SalehSweden (OFFICIAL)
“A Piece of Sky”Michael KochSwitzerland (OFFICIAL)
“Goddamned Asura”Lou Yi-anTaiwan (OFFICIAL)
“Tug of War”Amil ShivjiTanzania (OFFICIAL)
“Under the Fig Trees”Erige SehiriTunisia (OFFICIAL)
“Kerr”Tayfun PirselimoğluTurkey (OFFICIAL)
“Tembele”Morris MugishaUganda (OFFICIAL)
“Klondike”Maryna Er GorbachUkraine (OFFICIAL)
“The Employer and the Employee”Manolo NietoUruguay (OFFICIAL)
“The Box”Lorenzo VigasVenezuela (OFFICIAL)
“Argentina, 1985”Santiago MitreArgentina
“Return to Seoul”Davy ChouCambodia
“Holy Spider”Ali AbbasiDenmark
“Tori and Lokita”Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc DardenneFrance
“One Fine Morning”Mia Hansen-LøveFrance
“Athena”Romain GavrasFrance
“Both Sides of the Blade”Claire DenisFrance
“Saint Omer”Alice DiopFrance
“The Eight Mountains”Charlotte Vandermeersch and Felix Van GroenigenItaly
“Bardo (or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths)”Alejandro G. IñárrituMexico

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

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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.