Oscar 2017 Predictions: Iceland picks Toronto hit 'Sparrows' for the Academy Awards
"Sparrows" will represent Iceland at this year's Academy Awards. Directed by Rúnar Rúnarsson, the movie premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in World Cinema Section. It was also awarded the Golden Shell at the San Sebastián International Film Festival and also won the Silver Hugo at the 2015 Chicago International Film Festival.
"Sparrows" tells the story of Ari, whose city lifestyle is disrupted as he is sent by his mother to live with his uninvolved father and his grandmother in a small fishing village. The film has not obtained U.S distribution but with all the accolades and buzz it may soon be acquired.
Iceland began submitting films in 1980 and has landed only one Oscar nomination. That came in 1991 for "Children of Nature" by Fridrik Thor Fridriksson. Since then the country has only made the January shortlist once and that was in 2012 for the film "The Deep."
Last year the country submitted "Rams," which was later released by Cohen Media Group and won the Prix Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival. It also played at the Toronto Film Festival to great reviews.
This year "Sparrows" has challenging competition and it will have to face off against "Toni Erdmann," "Julieta," "House of Others," "Sieranevada," "The Ardennes," "Chevalier" and "Mother." Other films that will also be strong competitors include "El Clasico," "From Afar" and "Neruda."
The Academy is known for choosing some of the most critically acclaimed films out of the festival circuit and usually nominate films from Venice, Cannes, Toronto, Sundance, Berlin, Tribeca and Locarno Film Festivals. The past winners have come from Cannes, Berlin and Toronto and they include "Son of Saul," "Ida," "The Great Beauty," and "A Separation."
The Foreign Language Film deadline to submit is Oct. 3. On Jan. 17 the Academy will announce the nine finalists from among the eligible films and on Jan. 24 nominations will be announced. The winner will be announced at the Oscar ceremony on Feb. 26.