The motion picture academy has announced the animated, documentary and international features eligible for Oscar consideration. Some of the animated and documentary contenders have not yet had their required qualifying release. Each of them must fulfill the requirement to advance in the voting process.
In the documentary feature realm, a record 238 docs are among the contenders, crushing the record of 170 submissions from 2017. Among the pics is Amazon Studios’ “Time,” which won the Los Angeles Film Critics, National Board of Review and New York Film Critics awards for best documentary. It’s the first film since Sarah Polley’s “Stories We Tell” to win the big three critics’ prizes. However, Polley’s film did fail to get a nomination from the Academy. This also begs the question raised in our most recent round of documentary feature predictions. Is it time for the branch to expand its nominations from five to 10, as they are about to institute next year in best picture? Members of the documentary branch will begin voting on Feb. 1, to determine the 15-film shortlist, announced on Feb. 9. The branch will then vote to determine the five nominees when member-wide voting opens.
See the complete list of documentary feature submission on the Academy website.
It was also revealed that 27 animated features are eligible for Oscars, shy of last year’s record of 32. Among them is the frontrunner “Soul” from Pixar, which has netted more than 18 wins from the regional critics’ prizes. Also among the eligible films are “Onward,” “Over the Moon,” “Trolls: World Tour” and “Wolfwalkers.” To determine the five nominees, members of the short films and feature animation branch, and any other AMPAS members who opted-in to participate will cast their ballots during the voting period, which takes place on March 5. Last year, members who opted-in must have watched 50% of the total submissions to vote, meaning 14 of this year’s contenders must have been seen by the member to vote.
See the complete list of animated feature submissions on the Academy website.
The best international feature category also broke a record, with 93 countries submitted for consideration. Thus far, “Another Round” from Denmark is the leader in the critics’ awards. Coincidentally, the film also seems to be one of the few contenders making a strong play in the other categories, particularly star Mads Mikkelsen in best actor. Last year, 93 countries were also submitted, which had broken the 2017 record of 92. Still, Nigeria’s first-ever submission, “Lionheart,” was disqualified for contained too much English dialogue, even though English is the country’s official language. Prominent filmmakers spoke out at the time regarding the decision, including Oscar nominee Ava DuVernay.
The Academy defines an international feature film as “a feature-length motion picture (more than 40 minutes) produced outside the United States with a predominantly (more than 50%) non-English dialogue track.”
Also among the nominees are first-time submissions from Lesotho (“This Is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection”) Sudan (“You Will Die at Twenty”) and Suriname (“Wiren”), along with other leading contenders from Ivory Coast (“Night of the Kings”), Guatemala (“La Llorona”) and Taiwan (“A Sun”).
The Academy’s board of governors recently voted to expand the shortlist from 10 to 15 films due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other security concerns. For the first time in Academy history, all branches were invited to vote in the preliminary round of voting, requiring a minimum viewing requirement to vote in the category. Voting for the shortlist takes place Feb. 1-5, with the 15 highest vote-getters being announced on Feb. 9.
Last year, South Korea’s “Parasite” became the first foreign-language winner for best picture, winning three other awards for international feature, directing and original screenplay.
See the complete list of international feature submissions on the Academy website.
Nominations for the 93rd Academy Awards will be announced on March 15. The 93rd Oscars telecast is scheduled for April 25.