The ANICA (Associazione Nazionale Industrie Cinematografiche Audiovisive e Multimediali) received its yearly invitation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The Oscars, to pick an Italian film that will compete in the 90th Academy Awards presentation in the foreign language category.
The Oscars aren’t until March 4, 2018, but we can start thinking about what the committee to choose a candidate from Italy might be considering.
Here are the rules: It has to be a film that was distributed from October 2016 until September 2017, and the committee’s choice has to be submitted by 9/14/17. Films competing in the Foreign Language Film category must have been first released in the country submitting them and must have been screened for at least seven consecutive days in a commercial movie theater. This means that films that will premiere at this year’s Venice Film Festival and last year’s Rome Film Festival will be considered.
In order to be nominated for the Award, it also has to be in a language other than English, so that eliminates Paolo Virzì’s upcoming The Leisure Seeker, however, The Leisure Seeker could be nominated for other Oscars. More than one publication has suggested stars Helen Mirren or Donald Sutherland for best acting awards.
Don’t forget, this doesn’t mean that the film that Italy submits will automatically be nominated for the Oscar. Each year, eleven or twelve dozen countries submit films, but the list is paired down to just five by the Academy.
Back in 2011 Italy chose Emanuele Crialese’s Terraferma as their submission (it didn’t end up as a final 5), and MyMovies.it published a funny list of “Why The Oscars Are Stupid And We Didn’t Want One Anyway.”
1) How do we make the right choice? Who knows what those nut cases are looking for on any given year anyway and we’ll never know if another film might have done better.
2) We want to choose a film that is exportable but how can we know that? Gomorrah did very well abroad but didn’t even make it to the short list for the Oscars. If someone can tell us what the hell they are looking for, please come forward.
3 ) The rules are always changing anyway and a formula for choosing that worked one year might not work the next. And don’t forget, Italian cinema doesn’t have the support of Miramax anymore that in the 90s produced 3 Oscars for La vita è bella.
4 ) There are more than 60 candidates for one prize – the odds are against us.
5 ) Who really cares anyway about the debatable opinion of a group that is going to make a pretty random choice anyway. Better to worry about ourselves and how well our movies do abroad than worry about this silly Oscar.
They’ll announce the nominees on January 23, 2018, so In Bocca Al Lupo Italia!