The 95th edition of the Oscars arrives, which can be seen on TNT and HBO Max. Arrives the edition in which Argentina competes for the sixth time in its history for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film, from the hand of Argentina, 1985, the film by Santiago Miter starring Ricardo Darín and Peter Lanzani. It will be an edition of novelties, where some of those vices that Hollywood urgently wants to get out of their hair return, as if they were ashes. The funniest of them is the creation of an emergency committee, in case the most famous stamp in the history of the award is repeated again: Will Smith slapping Chris Rock. Returning to drive, after having done that task in 2017 and 2018, is Jimmy Kimmel. The batch of presenters has names like Zoe Saldaña, Jonathan Majors, Riz Ahmed, Emily Blunt, Glenn Close, Jennifer Connelly, Ariana DeBose, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, Michael B. Jordan, Troy Kotsur, Melissa McCarthy, Janelle Monáe, Deepika Padukone, Questlove, and Donnie Yen.
The test and surprise comes in the 11 nominations of the film that leads the shortlists: Everything everywhere at the same time, the Daniels film that has been a revelation, first, for being absurd action that threatens to win the main prize and, second, for having made a sci-fi crossover drama and action film get nominations for its Asian actors (all great candidates to win). It is followed with nine nominations by The Spirits of the Island and All Quiet on the Front, the German Netflix film that is Argentina’s great “opponent”, 1985.
Among the main complaints of this edition is the already commonplace, doubly so, that implies the absence of female directors in the Best Director shortlist, something that is made evident precisely by Jane Campion’s victory for The Power of the Dog. Among the possible nominees that were not, the industry pointed to Sarah Poller, for Ellas habland, and the English Charlotte Wells for the hit Aftersun. Another factor that generated a lot of complaints had less to do with the author’s gender or race, but rather with what that absence of a nomination represented: Nope, Jordan Peele’s most daring film (and that’s saying something in the director’s crusade for generating really new films) that remained ignored behind the flashes of Everything everywhere at the same time. But what this ignoring of Nope implies is perhaps the biggest and most considerable complaint: at a time when horror movies are the only ones that really speak to young audiences, to the passion of young audiences (and not to the anabolic marketing campaign of every Marvel film), is colossally ignored when it comes to awards and nominations. Peele, an Oscar winner for a much easier-to-watch movie like Run!, now gets nothing at all from the Academy. Not to mention performances like Mia Goth’s in Pearl (and how more traditional roles continue to be chosen, such as the one that earned Andrea Riseborouh her surprise nomination for a film the world hardly knew was released). But it’s not all bad news: two records were broken in this edition. Michelle Yeoh, the martial arts legend, was ultimately nominated for Best Actress. She is the second Asian to achieve that nomination and the last time that happened was in 1936, thanks to Merle Oberon. The other record is a bit more gestural, but it implies the first nomination for the devalued Marvel and it is due to Angela Bassett and her role as Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
What will become of Argentina, 1985? Well, All Quiet Front comes from sweeping the Bafta awards and other awards, and Argentina, 1985 has been making giant strides when it comes to showing itself as a great candidate. But the German film is even nominated for Best Film and generally the double nomination, both for Best Film and Best Foreign Film, implies victory in the second shortlist. Everything indicates that it will be a moment of tension, which says little or nothing about the real impact of the Argentine film that has managed to put our cinema before the entire world. That is very much and a celebration.
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