Thursday, January 20, 2011

Apichatpong-a-Rama: No Uncle Boonmee for Oscars, a Singapore Q&A and an AFA nomination

The short-list of contenders for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards has been pared down from 66 to nine semi-finalists, and once again Thailand didn't make the cut, despite having had possibly the best chance it's had yet at an Oscar.

But then again, a movie as blissfully weird as Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives was a long-shot to win an Oscar anyway.

Film Business Asia has a look at the Asian film that did make the short list. The final list of nominees will be announced on January 25.

At In Contention, Oscar prognosticator Guy Lodge gave Boonmee a chance:

This is where I’m guessing the executive committee makes its presence felt. Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s meditative, Palme d’Or-winning reincarnation fantasy is revered by numerous critics, but is surely too languid and left-of-center to impress the general voters — leaving the smaller group to shoehorn it into the list for credibility points. (Not to mention geographical balance: no other Asian title looks likely to feature.)

Steve Pond at The Wrap's Odds column also offered his predictions:

Magical, strange, funny, perplexing and boring, Uncle Boonmee is a reverie that encompasses life and death, the spirit world and strange characters in monkey costumes. I get the feeling that while many critics loved it, and Tim Burton's Cannes jury flipped for it, it's just too weird, in an arty but narratively unfulfilling way, for Oscar voters. ("The emperor's new clothes" is a phrase I heard.) Unless the executive committee finds that Palme d'Or awfully persuasive, I suspect this'll supply this year's "how dare they not nominate it!" controversy.

Pond later stated: "I get the sense that there is no chance at all for the other oddball critics' favorite, Thailand's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives."

Boonmee, meanwhile, makes most of the lists in the Senses of Cinema 2010 World Poll.

You can hear Apichatpong talk about his film in the Q&A session after last weekend's charity screening of Uncle Boonmee to benefit the Asian Film Archive in Singapore. Click over to A Nutshell Review to watch the videos or see this playlist (embedded below).

Update: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives was nominated for best film at the Asian Film Awards. Top nominees are Japan's Oscar submission (and possible nominee) Confessions and China's Let the Bullets Fly.

Update 2: Singapore's MovieXclusive has a review of Uncle Boonmee.

Update 3: Twitch's Todd Brown thought Uncle Boonmee was a significant omission from the Oscars list.


  1. Wow, nice diz change, mr. Kwai.

  2. nice site design man!

    now talk about Tony Jaa!

    Ong Bak 2, best movie:)


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