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Oscar 2015 Predictions: Is Mexico's Selection 'Cantiflas' Good Choice?

First Posted: Sep 12, 2014 01:36 PM EDT
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'Cantinflas' Selected to Represent Mexico at 2015 Oscars This Winter, But is it a Good Choice?

Photo : Pantelion Films/Cantinflas

The foreign film competition for the 2015 Oscars has become even more competitive over the past week as more countries have submitted, with Mexico delivering a stunning decision by offering a biopic on one of its most iconic actors for Academy Award consideration.

Mexico has surprised by submitting the biopic "Cantinflas." The submission comes a year after Mexico opted to submit the art house film "Heli" over the popular "Instructions Not Included."

"Heli" was an incredibly controversial film at the festival circuit, but won the Cannes Best Director award. Meanwhile, "Instructions Not Included" was a global phenomenon which was beloved by international and Mexican audiences. The Mexican Academy was thus under scrutiny since both films were received with mixed reactions by critics.

This year, "Cantinflas" seems like the obvious choice since the film tells the story of Mexico's most famous actor. The movie was also released in the U.S to great results at the box office. However, it is unlikely to play with the Academy. The movie scored terrible reviews with critics complaining about its formulaic script.

Mexico is known for submitting art house films that are beloved by critics and festival hits. These have included "Pan's Labyrinth," "Miss Bala," "After Lucia" and "Biuitful."

After obtaining eight nominations, Mexico is unlikely to get a nomination this upcoming year.

This is the third country to surprise with its submission. Previously Ukraine surprised, submitting "The Guide" over the critically-acclaimed movie "The Tribe." The country's Miroslav Slaboshpitsky said his film, "The Tribe", better represented national cinematography than what was nominated, Oles Sanin's "The Guide."

Slaboshpitsky also claimed that three members of "The Guide's" production team were involved in a decision that was shrouded in mystery and made by too few members of the committee.

Additionally, "The Tribe" had won the Critic's Week sidebar at the Cannes Film festival while "The Guide" had barely screened internationally.

Bulgaria also had a similar reaction after the country submitted "Bulgarian Rhapsody" over festival hits "Viktoria" and "Bota."

Meanwhile, two other countries also submitted. Portugal chose the documentary "What Now? Remind me." The documentary by Joaquim Pinto was a critical success that played at the New York Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival and was released in August by Cinema Guild.

Portugal has submitted 30 times in the past few years and thus far has never be nominated. Although the country has always had big festival films, it has also never made the top nine.

Montenegro opted for "The Boys from Marx and Engels Street." The film obtained the second place award by the Ministry of Culture of Montenegro's program for Cinema 2010. However, it was not an international hit and has not obtained the exposure most Oscar winners have.

There are still a number of countries that have yet to submit, including Argentina, Belgium, Israel, Italy, Denmark and Spain, among others.

Of the countries that have already submitted, Turkey's "Winter Sleep," Chile's "To Kill a Man," and Germany's "Beloved Sisters" are some of the top contenders." Hungary's "White God," Poland's "Ida" and Norway's "1001 Grams" are also films that have a lot of buzz.

Meanwhile, Mauritania submitted an entry for the first time with the Cannes hit "Timbuktu."

The Academy will announce a list of eligible submissions in October 2014 and nine finalists from among the dozens of entries will be shortlisted in mid-January.

The five nominees will be announced in January 2015.

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