Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thailand sends Love of Siam to Oscars

The deadline for submission for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film was October 1, which came and went without a word about what Thailand had sent this year.

Or if there was any word, I didn't hear it or read about it anywhere.

Finally, today, I received confirmation from Mr. Srirat Nujaniyama, director of the Federation of National Film Associations of Thailand (FNFAT), who says that Love of Siam was selected as Thailand's submission this year to the Oscars.

After receiving that word, I now see something on Deknang that links to a Pantip thread about this. And BISEAN has a roundup of all the entries from Southeast Asia. They also have a recap of Southeast Asia's Oscars so far. Singapore sent Eric Khoo's My Magic and the Philippines has submitted Dante Nico Garcia's Ploning.

And of course there is the master list at Wikipedia, and Love of Siam has already been added. There's also a list of all of Thailand's Oscar submissions.

In all, 96 countries were invited by the Academy to submit films. The films must have been released between October 1, 2007 and September 30, 2008. Love of Siam was released in November 2007, so it falls within that time frame.

Since 2006, the Academy has selected the nominees in a two-stage process in which a committee watches all the entries -- typically around 60 films -- and from those, nine are selected for a short list. The final five nominees are then selected by a second committee.

How will writer-director Chukiat Sakweerakul's sweet, innocent Love of Siam fare against such heavy hitters as Gomorra from Italy, Three Monkeys from Turkey or Waltz With Bashir from Israel (or, for that matter, Painted Skin from Hong Kong)?

Well, having swept the best picture trophies from all of Thailand's major film awards this year, the unanimous industry backing for the film is notable, when in past years Thailand's Oscar pick wasn't necessarily a big winner in the awards ceremonies.

That a gentle drama that encompasses family dysfunction and homosexual teen puppy love has been so widely acclaimed, and is now submitted to the Academy Awards is a remarkable achievement for a film in the Thai industry.

Update: Hollywood Reporter has a complete list. Variety reports a record 67 submissions this year.

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