From beekeeping to fake priests, international movies find place at Oscars

(Reuters) – From riots in modern Paris to beekeeping in North Macedonia, Oscar nominations on Monday for the best international feature film spanned a vast range of topics.

A scene from “Parasite”. Handout via REUTERS

Led by dark social satire “Parasite” from South Korea, members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences also honored films from Poland, France and Spain.

However Oscar hopeful “Atlantics” from Senegal, a story of migrants and those they leave behind from female director Mati Diop, failed to make it to the list of five, despite having won at the Cannes Film Festival last year.

“Parasite,” about the vast gap between rich and poor in South Korea, boosted an international winning streak that includes a Golden Globe, with six Oscar nods, including the coveted best picture prize, best director for Bong Joon Ho, and best screenplay in addition to its best international feature nomination.

The academy this year changed the name of the category to international feature from foreign language film to reflect a more positive and inclusive approach to films made outside Hollywood.

Spain is represented by director Pedro Almodovar’s semiautobiographical “Pain and Glory,” about depression and the creative process. The movie, which also stars Penelope Cruz, also won a first Oscar nod for lead actor Antonio Banderas.

Despite its title, French entry “Les Miserables” has little obvious connection with the 19th-century Victor Hugo novel and subsequent musicals. The film, written and directed by Ladj Ly, the son of a Mali immigrant, was inspired by 2005 riots in a multiethnic, working-class area of Paris, and was also a winner at the Cannes film festival.

Poland’s “Corpus Christi” is a slow-burn drama about a young man with a criminal background who later passes himself off as a priest.

“It is amazing that a Polish story … appropriately universalized, properly told, can be readable all over the world,” Krzysztof Rak, one of the producers, told reporters in Warsaw on Monday.

“Honeyland,” from North Macedonia, relates the tale of one of the last wild beekepers in a remote village in the former Yugoslav territory.

The film, which has been praised for combining a nature film with a human story, won three awards at the Sundance Film Festival last year. It also won a nomination on Monday in the best documentary field.

The Oscars will be handed out at a ceremony in Hollywood on Feb. 9.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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