This year, 79 countries from around the world will compete for one of five Oscar nominations in the Best International Feature Film category (formerly Best Foreign Language Film) at the 94th annual Academy Awards. Of those countries, 13 are from Latin America. The deadline for a country’s official submission was November 1, 2021.
Of the Latin American countries that have submitted over the history of the Academy Awards, Mexico has the most submissions with 53, getting nominated nine times and winning once in 2018 for Alfonso Cuarón’s dramatic masterpiece Roma. Argentina has the most victories of any Latin American country winning twice – in 1985 for The Official Story and in 2009 for The Secret in Their Eyes.
A shortlist of 15 Oscar finalists will be announced on December 21, 2021. The final five Oscar nominees will be announced on February 8, 2022. The 94th annual Academy Awards take place March 27, 2022.
Here is a look at seven of the 13 Latin American hopefuls. The others are Bolivia (The Great Movement), Brazil (Private Desert), Panama (Plaza Catedral), Peru (Manco Cápac), Uruguay (The Broken Glass Theory) and Venezuela (The Inner Glow).
Argentina – ‘The Intruder’
Directed and co-written by Natalia Meta, the thriller follows a voice actress named Marta (Cecilia Roth) as she faces an identity crisis. Marta believes that her body is being overtaken by intruders from her dreams.
Chile – ‘White on White’
The Spanish-Chilean production, directed and co-written by Théo Court, tells the story of a wedding photographer who becomes infatuated by a young bride-to-be he has been hired to photograph.
Colombia – ‘Memoria’
Written and directed by Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul, the fantasy drama was submitted for Oscar consideration by Colombia, but it is a production of several countries: Thailand, Colombia, France, Germany, Mexico, and China. The film stars Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton) as a Scottish woman who begins to hear strange sounds while traveling in Colombia.
Costa Rica – ‘Clara Sola’
Set in a remote Costa Rican village, the drama, directed and co-written by Nathalie Álvarez Mesén, follows a 40-year-old woman who experiences a sexual awakening after a life of religious repression.
Ecuador – ‘Sumergible’
The drama features Colombian actress Natalia Reyes (Terminator: Dark Fate) as a young woman who is found by three men in the cargo hold of a submarine being used to traffic drugs.
Mexico – ‘Prayers for the Stolen’
The coming-of-age film follows three girls – Rita (Mayra Batalla), Luz (Norma Pablo) and Zulma (Olivia Lagunas) – living in a rural village ruled by drug dealers and human traffickers. The film is directed by Salvadoran-Mexican filmmaker Tatiana Huezo, who also tackled the subject of human trafficking in her 2016 film, Tempestad.
Paraguay – ‘Nothing But the Sun’
The documentary film directed by Arami Ullón tells the story of Mateo Sobode Chiqueno, an indigenous man who has been capturing the voices of the Ayoreo people for 40 years through stories, interviews, and songs. The Ayoreo are an indigenous people of the Río de la Plata basin, which includes eastern Bolivia, western Paraguay, northern Argentina, and part of Brazil.