Film fans across Chile celebrated yesterday at the announcement of the 2013 Academy Award nominees. For the first time in history, a Chilean film, “No”, has been nominated in the prestigious category of Best Foreign Language Film.
“No”, directed by Chilean Pablo Larraín and starring Gael García Bernal, is set in 1988 during the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. The film stands out for its use of slightly blurry U-matic video tape, which gives it an authentic and historic feel. “No” has already received top honors at the Cannes Film Festival and Sundance Film Festival.
A record-breaking 71 countries submitted a film for consideration in this year’s Best Foreign Language Film category. Every film was screened by the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Committee, whose members then selected five official nominations by secret ballot. The entire Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (a professional organization of around 5,700 members) will now vote for the winning film, which will be announced at the 85th Academy Awards Ceremony on February 24 in Hollywood, California.
“No” has made the award shortlist alongside four other non-English language films. Austria’s “Amour”, Canada’s “War Witch”, Norway’s “Kon-Tiki”, and Denmark’s “A Royal Affair” are all in the running for the coveted Oscar.
For Larraín, the greatest benefit to having “No” selected by the Academy is that it will increase the film’s presence in theaters worldwide.
“This is obviously very good news for everyone, but especially for the film itself,” the director told Emol.com. “Now it will be much better known, and will have exposure in more countries – and that it is still interesting, because movies are not meant to be kept in the closet. The idea is that as a director, one wants to be satisfied with the artistic expression in the product, but also wants as many people to see the movie as possible.”
Larraín is not the only Chilean in the running for an Oscar next month. Chilean cinematographer Claudio Miranda could also take home an Academy Award for his work on the film “Life of Pi”, which has been nominated for Best Picture. This is Miranda’s second Oscar nomination, having previously been recognized for his work on “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, a 2009 Best Picture nominee.