January 23, 2021

2021 Oscars Best International Feature Predictions


Variety's Awards Circuit is home to the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars from Film Awards Editor Clayton Davis. Following Academy Awards history, buzz, news, reviews and sources, the Oscar predictions are updated regularly with the current year's contenders in all categories. Variety's Awards Circuit Prediction schedule consists of four phases, running all year long: Draft, Pre-Season, Regular Season and Post Season. Eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and will be displayed next to revision date.

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DRAFT>>>PRE SEASON>>>REGULAR SEASON>>>POST SEASON

2021 OSCARS PREDICTIONS:
BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE

UPDATED: Jan. 7, 2021

AWARDS COMMENTARY:
The best international feature race is always a question mark, but you can read the tea leaves on in many films. Denmark’s “Another Round” seems to be the frontrunner and is probably the film with the best chance to break out in other categories, particularly Mads Mikkelsen and its screenplay (if it catches on). Mexico’s “I’m No Longer Here” and France’s “The Two of Us” has the goods to far as well as “A Sun” from Taiwan and “Quo Vadis, Aida?” from Bosnia and Herzegovina that could surprise if it makes the shortlist. Preliminary voting begins on Feb. 1, and the required viewing list will be provided by Friday, Jan. 8, with about 70 countries and films up on the platform.

(Awards Circuit Winners Chart (2020-2021)


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Mads Mikkelsen – Another Round
Courtesy of TIFF

AND THE PREDICTED NOMINEES ARE:

  1. "Another Round" (Denmark)
    "Druk" - Danish (language)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 12 nominations, 3 wins, 57 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Thomas Vinterberg
    SYNOPSIS: Four friends, all high school teachers, test a theory that they will improve their lives by maintaining a constant level of alcohol in their blood.
    STARRING: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang


  2. "I'm No Longer Here" (Mexico)
    "Ya no estoy aquí" - Spanish (language)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 9 nominations, 1 win, 52 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Fernando Frias
    SYNOPSIS: In Monterrey, Mexico, a young street gang spends their days dancing to slowed-down cumbia and attending parties. After a mix-up with a local cartel, their leader is forced to migrate to the U.S. but quickly longs to return home.
    STARRING: Daniel Garcia, Xueming Angelina Chen, Sophia Metcalf


  3. "Two Of Us" (France)
    "Deux" - French, German (languages)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 40 nominations, 12 wins, 66 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Filippo Meneghetti
    SYNOPSIS: Pensioners Nina and Madeleine have hidden their deep and passionate love for many decades, but their bond is put to the test when they are suddenly unable to move freely between each other's apartments.
    STARRING: Barbara Sukowa, Martine Chevallier, Léa Drucker


  4. "My Little Sister" (Switzerland)
    "Schwesterlein" - English, French, German (languages)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 5 nominations, 2 wins, 47 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond
    SYNOPSIS: Lisa has bid goodbye to her ambitions as a playwright and the Berlin arts scene and now lives in Switzerland with her husband, who runs an international school. When her twin brother falls ill, she returns to Berlin.
    STARRING: Nina Hoss, Lars Eidinger, Marthe Keller


  5. "Night of the Kings" (Ivory Coast)
    "La Nuit des rois" - Dyula, French (languages)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Philippe Lacôte
    SYNOPSIS: A young man is sent to "La Maca", a prison of Ivory Coast in the middle of the forest ruled by its prisoners. With the red moon rising, he is designated by the Boss to be the new "Roman" and must tell a story to the other prisoners.
    STARRING: Denis Lavant, Issaka Sawadogo, Steve Tientcheu


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Courtesy of Venice Film Festival

NEXT IN LINE CONTENDERS:

  1. "Dear Comrades!" (Russia)
    "Дорогие товарищи! (Dorogie tovarishchi!)" - Russian (language)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 7 nominations, 1 win, 27 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Andrey Konchalovskiy
    SYNOPSIS: Director Alexander Nanau follows a crack team of investigators at the Romanian newspaper Gazeta Sporturilor as they try to uncover a vast health-care fraud that enriched moguls and politicians and led to the deaths of innocent citizens.
    STARRING: Yuliya Vysotskaya, Vladislav Komarov, Andrey Gusev


  2. "Quo Vadis, Aida?" (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
    "Quo Vadis, Aida?" - Bosnian, Dutch, English, Serbian (languages)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 1 nomination, 1 win, 19 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Jasmila Žbanić
    SYNOPSIS: Aida is a translator for the UN in the small town of Srebrenica. When the Bosnian Serb army takes over the town, her family is among the thousands of citizens looking for shelter in the UN camp.
    STARRING: Jasna Djuricic, Izudin Bajrovic, Boris Ler


  3. "A Sun" (Taiwan)
    "陽光普照 (Yángguāng Pǔzhào)" - Mandarin (language)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Chung Mong-hong
    SYNOPSIS: A family of four fractures under the weight of unmet expectations, unexpected tragedy, and uncompromising pride.
    STARRING: Chien-Ho Wu, Yi-wen Chen, Samantha Shu-Chin Ko


  4. "Sun Children" (Iran)
    "خورشید (Khōrshīd)" - Persian (language)

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    OSCAR HISTORY:: 3 nominations, 2 wins, 25 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Majid Majidi
    SYNOPSIS: 12-year-old Ali and his three friends.Together they work hard to survive and support their families. In a turn of events that seems miraculous, Ali is entrusted to find hidden treasure underground.
    STARRING: Ali Nassirian, Javad Ezati, Tannaz Tabatabaei


  5. "Charlatan" (Czech Republic)
    "Šarlatán" - Czech (language)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 3 nominations, 1 win, 26 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Agnieszka Holland
    SYNOPSIS: The breathtaking story of a man gifted with exceptional abilities set against the background of the events of the totalitarian fifties.
    STARRING: Ivan Trojan, Josef Trojan, Juraj Loj


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Courtesy of Venice Film Festival

TOP-TIER AWARDS CONTENDERS:

  1. "La Llorona" (Guatemala)
    "La Llorona" - Spanish, Kaqchikel (languages)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated, 2 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Jayro Bustamante
    SYNOPSIS: An aging paranoid war criminal, protected by his faithful wife, faces death while being haunted by the ghosts of his past.
    STARRING: María Mercedes Coroy, Sabrina De La Hoz, Margarita Kenéfic


  2. "The Mole Agent" (Chile)
    "El agente topo" - Spanish (language)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 2 nominations, 1 win, 24 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Maite Alberdi
    SYNOPSIS: A private investigator in Chile hires someone to work as a mole at a retirement home where a client of his suspects the caretakers of elder abuse.
    STARRING: Romulo Aitken, Sergio Chamy


  3. "Collective" (Romania)
    "Colectiv" - Romanian (language)

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    Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures and Participant Media

    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated, 35 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Alexander Nanau
    SYNOPSIS: Director Alexander Nanau follows a crack team of investigators at the Romanian newspaper Gazeta Sporturilor as they try to uncover a vast health-care fraud that enriched moguls and politicians and led to the deaths of innocent citizens.
    STARRING: Razvan Lutac, Mirela Neag, Catalin Tolontan


  4. "The Endless Trench" (Spain)
    "La trinchera infinita" - Spanish (language)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 20 nominations, 4 wins, 62 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Jon Garaño, Aitor Arregi and Jose Mari Goenaga
    SYNOPSIS: 1936. A country taken by the fascism. A husband marked for the killing. A wife determined to all for saving him. An endless incarceration in his own home.
    STARRING: Antonio de la Torre, Belén Cuesta, Vicente Vergara


  5. "Never Gonna Snow Again" (Poland)
    "Śniegu już nigdy nie będzie - French, Polish, Russian, Vietnamese (languages)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 12 nominations, 1 win, 51 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Małgorzata Szumowska and Michał Englert
    SYNOPSIS: Zhenia, a Russian-speaking Ukrainian immigrant works as a masseur in Poland and becomes a guru-like figure in a wealthy gated community of his clients.
    STARRING: Alec Utgoff, Maja Ostaszewska, Agata Kulesza


  6. "Apples" (Greece)
    "Μήλα (Mila)"

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 5 nominations, 39 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Christos Nikou
    SYNOPSIS: Amidst a worldwide pandemic that causes sudden amnesia, middle-aged Aris finds himself enrolled in a recovery program designed to help unclaimed patients build new identities.
    STARRING: Aris Servetalis, Sofia Georgovassili, Anna Kalaitzidou


  7. "Asia" (Israel)
    "אסיה (Asia)" - Hebrew, Russian (languages)

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    OSCAR HISTORY:: 10 nominations, 52 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Ruthy Pribar
    SYNOPSIS: Asia's motherhood has always been an ongoing struggle rather than an obvious instinct. Becoming a mother at a very early age has shaped Asia's relationship with her teenage daughter Vika. Despite living together, Asia and Vika barely interact with one another. Asia concentrates on her job as a nurse while Vika hangs out at the skate-park with her friends. Their routine is shaken when Vika's health deteriorates rapidly. Asia must step in and become the mother Vika so desperately needs. Vika's illness turns out to be an opportunity to reveal the great love within this small family unit.
    STARRING: Alena Yiv, Shira Haas, Tamir Mula


  8. "The Man Standing Next" (South Korea)
    "남산의 부장들 (Namsanui bujangdeul)" - Korean (language)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: 1 nomination, 1 win, 31 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Woo Min-ho
    SYNOPSIS: In the 1970s Korea is under the absolute control of the president Park who controls the KCIA the organization with the edge over any branch of government.
    STARRING: Lee Byung-Hun, Sung-min Lee, Do-won Kwak


  9. "Vitalina Varela" (Portugal)
    "Vitalina Varela" - Cape Verdean Creole, Portuguese (languages)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated, 36 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Pedro Costa
    SYNOPSIS: A Cape Verdean woman navigates her way through Lisbon, following the scanty physical traces her deceased husband left behind and discovering his secret, illicit life.
    STARRING: Vitalina Varela, Ventura, Manuel Tavares Almeida


  10. "The Auschwitz Report" (Slovakia)
    "Správa" - Czech, German, Polish, Slovak (languages)

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    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated, 23 submissions

    DIRECTOR: Peter Bebjak
    SYNOPSIS: Two prisoners in the Auschwitz concentration camp manage to escape with a document about the camp's operation.
    STARRING: Noel Czuczor, Peter Ondrejicka, John Hannah


† = no release date scheduled / could be delayed / may not be eligible
†† = could be campaigned in lead or supporting categories / original or adapted screenplay categories

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. The most awarded films in Oscar history are “Ben-Hur,” “Titanic,” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” at 11 statuettes. The most nominated films in Academy history are “All About Eve,” “Titanic” and “La La Land” at 14. “La La Land” is the only film of the three to have lost best picture. The biggest Oscar “losers,” meaning most nominated and walk away with zero awards, are 1977’s “The Turning Point” and 1985’s “The Color Purple” at 11 each.

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