Oscars 2023: Best International Feature Film Predictions

7 March 2023

We will update these predictions throughout awards season, so keep checking IndieWire for all our 2023 Oscar picks. Final voting is March 2 through 7, 2023.  The 95th Oscars telecast will be broadcast on Sunday, March 12 and air live on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT.

Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson are collaborating on predictions updates for this category. See Thompson’s preliminary thoughts for what to expect at the 95th Academy Awards here and earlier predictions for this category here.

The State of the Race

When Oscar nominations were announced in January, “All Quiet on the Western Front” was the obvious frontrunner. Director Edward Berger’s war epic, the first German-language adaptation of the 1928 novel, projected strength across eight additional categories, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and other crafts. While it remains to be seen if it will win any of those, that level of support for the violent and devastating Netflix production will almost certainly emerge triumphant in this category.

As we previously reported, the last three winners for Best International Feature — “Drive My Car,” “Parasite,” and “Roma” — also had Best Picture nominations. This year, that has led to some theories that “All Quiet” could be a stealth Best Picture frontrunner, though the only major evidence of potential Academy support came from its seven BAFTA awards including Best Film and Director; elsewhere, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” has dominated. If nothing else, though, the BAFTA wins made it clear that a significant number of international voters support the movie to a degree that no other contender for Best International Feature can match.

If there is a potential upset here, though, it would have to be “Argentina 1985,” Santiago Mitre’s stylish courtroom drama featuring a major performance by Latin American acting superstar Ricardo Darín as the famed lawyer who put former members of the military dictatorship on trial. With Amazon Studios’ backing, the movie has garnered a lot of support since its Venice premiere last fall, with celebrities like Pedro Pascal offering their endorsement of its message about the triumph of justice over oppression; it also beat “All Quiet” at the Golden Globes in January, where Mitre and Darín gave rousing speeches.

Other contenders have various supportive factions, but haven’t made nearly as much noise, though it’s thrilling to see octogenarian Polish auteur Jerzy Skolimowski nominated for this melancholic donkey drama “EO” alongside 31-year-old Belgian director Lukas Dhont for his touching and tragic coming-of-age story “Close.” The two Cannes winners speak to the range of filmmaking styles and experiences on display in this category as the Academy continues to push for greater awareness of international features, going so far as to create a new position exclusively dedicated to its oversight. Even if these movies don’t win, they still have managed to elevate international filmmakers during Oscar season, with “EO” crossing $1 million at the U.S. box office in recent weeks and “Close” director Dhont forging a new relationship with A24, which bought the movie in part due to its Oscar potential after its Cannes premiere.

Finally, there’s a bit of history in the category this year with another movie that has “Quiet” in its title. “The Quiet Girl” marks the first Irish-language movie nominated for Best International Feature Film. The likable adaptation of Claire Keegan’s short story about a young woman (Catherine Clinch) spending the summer with dysfunctional relatives has plenty of fans even if it hasn’t been as widely embraced as the noisier nominees. Like last year’s surprise nomination for “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom,” which marked a first-time nomination for Bhutan, the very presence of a new country in this category proves that it’s a key factor in expanding the scope of the Oscars each year.

Nominees are listed in order of their likelihood to win.

Contenders:
“All Quiet on the Western Front” (Edward Berger, Germany)
“Argentina, 1985” (Santiago Mitre, Argentina)
“Close” (Lukas Dhont, Belgium)
“EO” (Jerzy Skolimowski, Poland)
“The Quiet Girl” (Colm Bairéad, Ireland)

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