Oscar Predictions: Best Animated Film, Foreign Language Film and Documentary

Photo: AMPAS

Well, here we are, the final batch of individual predictions prior to tomorrow’s all out free-for-all when you have the chance to vote for who you think will take the top spot in each category. Today we take a look at the nominees for Animated Film, Foreign Language Film and Documentary and even though we are taking a look at three categories there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot to talk about.

You can take a look at past predictions made long the way by clicking on any of the links below.

As for this round, let’s look at the nominees for …

Best foreign language film of the year
  • The Baader Meinhof Complex
  • The Class
  • Departures
  • Revanche
  • Waltz With Bashir
Best documentary feature
  • The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
  • Encounters at the End of the World
  • The Garden
  • Man on Wire
  • Trouble the Water
Best animated feature film of the year
  • Bolt
  • Kung Fu Panda
  • WALL•E

Waltz with Bashir, Man on Wire and WALL•E. There, done. In all seriousness is there much more to say?

As for the Animated category I am going to say no. Kung Fu Panda‘s big win at the Annies is not swaying my opinion. WALL•E is a lock — done deal. However, I guess we can talk a little about the other categories.

First off, outside of the nominated short films, the Foreign Language Film and Documentary nominees are the only two categories in which I have not seen all of the nominated films and Lord knows I tried. I actually just got an invite to see Departures in Los Angeles today, but considering that screening is two states away I probably won’t make it and I do blame myself for never hitting play on my Blu-ray copy of Werner Herzog’s Encounters at the End of the World. I will some day, but I haven’t yet. However, the others I never had a chance as The Class, Waltz With Bashir and Man on Wire were the only ones I had a chance to see. Strangely enough those seem to be the only three films anyone is talking about in terms of major award consideration.

Man on Wire is one of the best reviewed films of 2008 and it is a great feature, but there are those out there that don’t believe it is the front-runner and in fact say Man on Wire is “flat” compared to the rest of the field.

Kris Tapley at In Contention put together a very well written piece after watching all five nominees in the Doc category and gives an opinion on each that is well worth the read. I just wonder if the voting Academy is being as meticulous as Kris was. I still keep to my Man on Wire prediction and looking at Tapley’s predictions he is too, but it is nice to see someone open up the category.

As for the Foreign Language category Dave Karger at Entertainment Weekly is pushing for The Class, a fantastic film that I even included in my 2008 top ten, and I would love to be in his camp, but Waltz with Bashir is on quite a role and Tom O’Neil drove the final nail with his piece headlined “No, Dave and Thom, ‘The Class’ won’t win best foreign film at the Oscars“:

OK, Dave and Thom, here goes. You’re wrong about what’ll win best foreign-language film. It won’t be “The Class.” Sure, it won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, but it benefited from being a Paris-set docu-drama about an inspiring ghetto schoolteacher, portrayed by the actual teacher. The brainy judges lounging along the French Riviera, buzzed from champagne, were easily smitten. But, come on, it’s not one of the fest’s most widely loved choices.

At least not among Oscars voters, who didn’t pick it to be nominated for best foreign film. No, it didn’t make the final five — at first. It got jammed onto the final list by the academy’s committee charged with overruling voters when they make decisions that might raise a hoopla. That’s the new system in place after all of the hoopla last year when the Oscars didn’t nominate the last Cannes champ, “4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days.” Obviously, the committee wasn’t going to make that mistake again. No, the academy hasn’t admitted publicly that the committee shoehorned “The Class” into this category’s final five, but Gold Derby has an excellent source unafraid to spill the French green beans.

One voter in that category tells me that “The Class” has not gone over well with his peers. “A lot of us think it’s too boring,” he rats.

Some eye-opening stuff eh?

Personally I didn’t care for Waltz with Bashir all that much and don’t think if it wasn’t for its striking imagery at the end it would have garnered so much attention. O’Neil offers up a few ideas in his piece that are actually quite interesting, but it is so hard to make a pick when you haven’t seen some of the nominees.

So, with all that said, my picks remain Waltz With Bashir, Man on Wire and WALL•E, but I hope I gave you something to think about and perhaps opened up a few ways for you to disagree with me. If so, let’s hear it!

Stay tuned, tomorrow the polling begins as we begin the big Oscar weekend countdown.

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