Oscar Gold 2019 – First Submissions Announced!

Today is Veterans’ Day (or Remembrance/Armistice Day if you’re not in the U.S.), otherwise known as 11/11 (make a wish!). And you may think it’s waaaaaaay too early for coverage of next year’s Academy Awards. And you would be right. But I don’t care. It’s never too early to get started on the Blitz!

If you don’t follow Academy news on a daily basis, you likely wouldn’t have known that the deadline to submit for six categories was October 1st. That was the last day for producers to put forth their efforts in the three Short categories, as well as Animated Feature, Documentary Feature, and Foreign Language Film. The rest of the field has until the 15th of this month to get their slate together.

Over the course of the last month, the Academy has given us the slow roll on the three feature-length categories, but as of now, we have the lists of submitted films for all three! So it’s already time to start wringing our hands in anticipation of shortlists and nominations.

Now, some of the films on these respective lists have not yet been released. In the case of Documentary and Animated feature, they have until the end of the calendar year to release them for one week in a Los Angeles public theatre in order to qualify. For Foreign Language, the films need only be released commercially in their native country for a week before October 1st to be eligible. Technically, they don’t ever have to be available for viewing in America, but if they want votes, they’ll make sure we can see them.

Animated Feature:
The official press release from the Academy can be found here. A total of 25 films have been submitted, seven of which I have seen so far, and two more planned with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Ralph Breaks the Internet set to be released in the coming weeks. Of this list, 16 have to be deemed eligible in order to nominate a full slate of five films in the category. Here are the 25 films, with links to reviews if I’ve done them here.

Ana y Bruno
Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch
Early Man
Have a Nice Day
Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
The Laws of the Universe – Part 1
Liz and the Blue Bird
Lu Over the Wall
Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms
The Night is Short, Walk On Girl
On Happiness Road
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Ruben Brandt, Collector
Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero
Sherlock Gnomes
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Tall Tales
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
Tito and the Birds

Some of these movies I didn’t see during their original theatrical run, but I’m more than open to seeing them if anyone out there thinks they’re any good and/or have a shot at a nomination (I’ve heard surprisingly good things about Teen Titans, for instance). Of all the animated films I’ve seen this year, the only one not submitted is the Chinese film, Big Fish & Begonia. I’m guessing it’s not eligible as it’s originally from 2016, despite only being released in the States this year. Some of these films I’ve not even heard of, but if you’ve seen them and would recommend, let me know where to find them! Conventional wisdom would say that it’s a three-film race between Incredibles 2Isle of Dogs, and Ralph Breaks the Internet, but the trailers for Spider-Verse look super cool, and I’d love it if Sgt. Stubby could get a dark horse nod.

Documentary Feature:
I’m not going to post the entire list of submitted docs, mostly because 166 were put forth. The full list is here. What I will note is that a few of the documentaries I’ve reviewed on here were not submitted, for one reason or another. In particular, these are Andre the GiantI Am Evidence, and A Dangerous Son. I’m surprised Andre wasn’t submitted, as it was a fine piece of work, and it’s clear that HBO docs are allowed, as BelieverRobin Williams: Come Inside My Mind, and Jane Fonda in Five Acts were all submitted. The shortlist of 15 films will be revealed on December 17th, at which point I will once again attempt to see them all before the nominations on January 22. I’d say that the money should be on Mr. Rogers and Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, but the Academy has a penchant for leaving popular documentaries out of the final list, with the notable exceptions of An Inconvenient Truth and March of the Penguins.

Foreign Language:
Again, I’m not going to post the full list, as there were 87 countries who submitted a film. You can find the list here. I confess I haven’t seen any of these films. How have I gotten this late in the year without at least one foreign flick to my tally? I must be slipping in my old age. A shortlist of nine films is usually released in the first two weeks of December, but we don’t have a clear date on that just yet. As with the docs, once we get the shortlist, the hunt will be on. I’m sure there’s at least one or two on Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, or some combination of the three plus DVD. As mentioned, 87 countries successfully submitted, with Malawi and Niger being first time entrants. Two other countries – Cuba and Kyrgyzstan – also submitted, but their entries were denied. The only other noteworthy thing for now is that in Kenya, the government was sued over the censorship of the film Rafiki, as it contained lesbian content. The ban was lifted and the film allowed to be screened for eligibility, but in the end the point was moot, as Kenya submitted a film called Supa Modo instead.

That’s it for now. I imagine the Short Subject lists will be released soon, and as mentioned at the top, submissions are due for all the other categories on Thursday. Figure on more announcements and shortlists coming soon. I’ll do my best to stay on top of it all!

Join the conversation in the comments below! Which films are your early favorites? Have you seen any animated films I may have missed? Are you annoyed that I’m starting so early, but also started your Christmas shopping last month? Let me know!

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