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10 films make shortlist for Oscars’ best international film

Can ‘Little Women’ recover for Oscars after SAG nom shutout?

Yeo-jeong Jo in a scene from “Parasite.” (Neon)

LOS ANGELES, Dec 17, (Agencies): Ten international films, including widely acclaimed offerings from South Korea, Spain and Senegal, are on the shortlist of movies vying for Academy Award nominations.

The best international feature shortlist announced Monday by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences includes Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite,” Pedro Almodovar’s semi-autobiographical “Pain and Glory” and “Atlantics,” Senegal’s entry from history-making director Mati Diop.

In May, Diop became the first black woman to compete for the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival. That honor went to “Parasite,” while “Atlantics” won the festival’s Grand Prix honor. If “Parasite” or “Atlantics” receive nominations, they would mark the first for South Korea and Senegal, respectively.

It is the first year the Oscar formerly will be awarded under a new name: best international feature film. The category was previously known as the best foreign language film.

The 10 short-listed films are: the Czech Republic’s “The Painted Bird”; Estonia’s “Truth and Justice”; France’s “Les Misérables”; Hungary’s “Those Who Remained”; North Macedonia’s “Honeyland”; Poland’s “Corpus Christi”; Russia’s “Beanpole”; Senegal’s “Atlantics”; South Korea’s “Parasite” and Spain’s “Pain and Glory.”

The shortlist was culled from 91 eligible films.

The film academy announced nine shortlists Monday in categories including best documentary feature, visual effects and original song.

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” which will be released on Friday, appears on two shortlists for best original score and visual effects. Also on the visual effects shortlist are the blockbuster “Avengers: Endgame” and the upcoming musical “Cats.”

No song from “Cats” made the original song shortlist, but two songs from “The Lion King” did: Elton John’s “Never Too Late” and “Spirit” by Beyoncé.

Nominations for the 92nd annual Academy Awards will be announced on Jan 13. The Oscars will be held on Feb 9 in Los Angeles.

Where in the world was “Little Women”?

That was the big question this morning when the 2020 SAG Award nominations were announced.

Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of the classic novel was completely shut out by Wednesday’s nominations. It comes on the heels of “Little Women” snagging just two Golden Globe noms for Saoirse Ronan for lead actress and score for Alexandre Desplat.

How this plays into the Oscar race is unclear because the Academy noms often repeat SAG noms. But the wins aren’t always a clear match.

While Rami Malek picked up both the SAG Award last year for best actor as did Mahershala Ali for supporting, the guild chose Glenn Close for actress before the Oscar went to Olivia Coleman. Regina King took home the Oscar for supporting actress, but she didn’t even make it onto the SAG ballot. Emily Blunt was named best supporting actress by SAG for “A Quiet Place” but failed to nab an Oscar nomination.

As for best pic, “Green Book” snagged the Academy Award but didn’t make the cut for a SAG nomination for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture.

Was timing a factor in “Little Women’s” lack of love by the guild? The Sony film got a late start out of the gate. Its first screenings didn’t happen until Oct 23.

“1917” and “Richard Jewell” also were completely snubbed by the Screen Actors Guild after campaigns for those films didn’t launch until last month.

Sony has less than a month to get eyeballs on “Little Women” in time for Oscar consideration. Oscar nominations voting opens Jan 2 and closes just five days later on Jan 7. Nominations will be announced on Jan 13.

However, “Bombshell” screenings began just 10 days before “Little Women” and managed to earn four SAG nominations for best cast as well as lead actress for Charlize Theron and supporting nods for Margot Robbie and Nicole Kidman.

Just take a look at the films that led SAG voting. Tying “Bombshell” with four noms is “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which been kicking around since its premiere at Cannes in May. “The Irishman” also landed four nods after Martin Scorsese and Netflix’s mob epic opened the New York Film Festival in September.

Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story,” also from Netflix, premiered at Venice in August and goes into the SAG Awards with three mentions.

Lupita Nyong’o picked up a SAG nom for her work in “Us,” the Jordan Peele horror movie that premiered all the way back in March at SXSW.

“The Farewell” was also shut out by SAG. Awkwafina was a favorite to land an acting nom and many believed the film had a strong shot at ensemble. “The Farewell” has been kicking around since Sundance so it may just be a victim of another year of crowded categories.

The HFPA faced outrage on Monday when it failed to nominate any women for a Globe in the directors category.

The lack of love from the HFPA and SAG could work in “Little Women’s” favor. Academy voters may feel Gerwig deserves more recognition than she’s received and the Oscars may be her last shot to scoop up some kudos.

For the most part, the SAG acting noms lined up as expected. A couple of notables include Taron Egerton’s nom for “Rocketman” and Robert De Niro’s lack of one for “The Irishman.” But De Niro will still be going home with a trophy because he’s being honored at the ceremony with the lifetime achievement award.

“Parasite” also came out on top this morning. It’s one nomination for best cast is monumental because SAG doesn’t have a strong track record of recognizing subtitled non-English language films.

Other SAG shut-outs include “The Two Popes,” “Uncut Gems,” and “Honey Boy,” all of which have been recognized in some way or another by other guilds. They’ve been strong contenders throughout awards season but not as robust as leaders “The Irishman,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and “Marriage Story.”

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