Among the 92 international films eligible to participate in the 2023 Oscars, there were 16 from Latin America and Spain. But just two made it to the International Feature Film shortlist for 95th Academy Awards. Argentina and Mexico made the cut, inching closer to a possible nomination.
Argentina 1985 tells the story behind the trial against the military juntas in Argentina after the return to democracy in the country following the 1976 to 1983 military dictatorship. Directed by Santiago Mitre, renowned actor Ricardo Darín portrays the lead prosecutor. The film is co-produced by Amazon
From Mexico, Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths is about a journalist and documentary filmmaker living in Los Angeles, who returns to Mexico after many years to receive a prestigious award. Daniel Giménez Cacho stars as the conflicted journalist, who questions his identity and mortality. The film, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, winner of five Oscars, is distributed by Netflix
“I think they were the favorites from the beginning,” says film critic Carlos Aguilar, about the Latin American film candidates. “The two stood out for the caliber of the productions but also for the distributors in the United States who were pushing them very, very hard. Argentina 1965 is from Amazon Prime and Bardo is from Netflix.
Aguilar points out support from the streaming giants gives the films a better chance to move on to the next phase.
“This year, it was particularly evident that the films with the strongest campaigns and distributors with the most resources were the ones that stood out, perhaps preventing other smaller Latin American films like Bolivia’s Utama, Venezuela’s The Box and Brazil’s Mars One, from a shot at making the list.”
The full list of films from Latin America and Spain that were eligible were:
Brazil, Mars One
Colombia, The Kings of the World
Costa Rica, Domingo and the Mist
Dominican Republic, Bantú Mama
Ecuador, Lo Invisible
Guatemala, The Silence of the Mole
Mexico, Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths
Panama, Birthday Boy
Peru, Moon Heart
Uruguay, The Employer
The two films now have to compete with 13 others for the attention of Academy voters. Nominations voting is from January 12 to January 17, 2023.As for which of the two Latin American films have the best shot at scoring a nomination?
“My personal favorite is Bardo, not only because I’m Mexican, but obviously I feel that it’s a more interesting film that has a lot to say and is complex… But I feel that Argentina 1985, because it’s more accessible, is a historical film that speaks of a very important moment…has more chances of reaching the Argentine 1985 nomination.”
Aguilar says it helps that Argentina 1985 has already received a Golden Globe nomination, whearas Bardo didn’t get one.
The five nominees in this and all other categories will be announced on January 24, 2023.