Latin American Movies That Made It Into The Oscars 2022

By 20 January, 2022

This year, 79 countries from across the world are competing for one of the five Oscar nominations in the Best International Feature Film category. Of those countries, 13 are from Latin America. The official submission window for the 94th Academy Awards ended on November 1, 2021.

If we look at the history of Academy Awards, with 53 submissions, Mexico has the most submissions of all Latin American countries. And they have been nominated nine times, enjoying a single victory in 2018 for Alfonso Cuaron’s masterpiece “Roma.” On the other hand, Argentina has enjoyed the most wins of any Latin American country, taking the trophy home twice—in 1985 for “The Official Story” and 2009 for “The Secret in Their Eyes.”

A shortlist of 15 Oscar finalists was announced on December 21, 2021. And the final five Oscar nominees will be announced on February 8, 2022, following which the 94th annual Academy Awards will take place on March 27, 2022.

Latin Americans have several candidates in various categories this time, with representations ranging from Chile to Puerto Rico. With sportsbooks like Draftkings beginning their promo codes offering as a booster for the Oscar awards, let’s look at the top four Latin American movies that made it into the Oscars.

The Three Latin American Movies Running The Oscars Race

This year, only Panama’s prayers for “Plaza Catedral,” Mexico’s for “Prayer for the Stolen,” and Spain’s for “The Good Boss” were heard. Nevertheless, the three movies made it into 15 films shortlist for Academy members to vote on starting January 27. Three out of 15 doesn’t sound that bad after all when you consider there existed a 92-way competition.

According to movie critic Carlos Aguilar, Panama, Mexico, and Spain are strong contenders that tackle the issue of social injustice, violence, and economic inequality.

Plaza Catedral

Plaza Catedral is directed by the Panamanian director Abner Benaim and co-produced by the famous Panamanian singer Ruben Blades. It talks about an unusual friendship between a street kid and a Mexican woman working in Panama, portrayed by the Mexican actress Ilse Salas. In addition, the movie addresses the social and economic disparity that exists in Panama and many other places like Latin America.

Salas plays the role of a 40-year-old woman, Alicia, who is traumatized by the death of her young son in an accident. When she moves to Panama, she meets “Chief,” a poor boy in a luxury residential building struggling with abandonment and violence in the streets.

Unfortunately, Fernando Xavier de Casta, the film’s young protagonist, passed away earlier this year in the act of violence. This highlights the importance of the film even more. According to Aguilar, Plaza Catedral is an intense movie by a country from which we are not quite used to seeing good films.

Prayer for the Stolen

Mexico’s Prayer of the Stolen is directed by Salvadoran-Mexican filmmaker Tatiana Huezo who had previously tackled the subject of human trafficking in her 2016 film, Tempestad. Distributed by Netflix, the movie is an intense, coming-of-age drama that explores how innocent children get caught in the war against drug cartels.

It is narrated from the unique perspective of three girls – Rita (Mayra Batalla), Luz (Norma Pablo), and Zulma (Olivia Lagunas) – who live in a small town ruled by drug dealers and human traffickers, and how the fear affects their childhood and adolescence.

The Good Boss

Written and directed by Fernando Leon de Aranoa, Spain’s The Good Boss is a dark dramedy that stars the Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem. Bardem portrays the role of the owner of a struggling family-owned factory of professional-grade scales. He plays the antagonistic character who would do anything to maintain control over his factory. His character, the movie, and the factory’s scales, according to Aguilar, highlight the social balance of who has power and who is subjugated to that power.

The Good Boss hit the theatres during September’s San Sebastian Festival, a perfect time for a new to make its debut in front of audiences. And the movie did evolve to be one of the best received of main competition films during the San Sebastian Festival. Critics particularly didn’t hesitate to compliment Bardem’s central performance.

The Academy will reveal the five international feature film nominees on February 8, 2022.

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