This year a record 76 countries submitted a motion picture for Best Foreign Language Film for the upcoming 86th Annual Academy Awards (March 2, 2014). Of these entries, 10 are from Spanish-speaking countries. In the next few weeks, the 76 films will be cut down to a more manageable short list. From those, the Academy will then choose the final five films for an Oscar nomination. Let’s take a closer look at the Spanish-language films vying for a nod:
FILM: Wakolda (The German Doctor)
DIRECTOR: Lucía Puenzo
LANGUAGE(S): Spanish, German and Hebrew
SYNOPSIS: The film is based on the true story of a family unaware they were sharing their home with a former Nazi physician who worked in the concentration camp in Auschwitz.
DIRECTOR: Sebastián Lelio
LANGUAGE(S): Spanish and English
SYNOPSIS: A 58-year-old divorced woman decides to spend her time frequenting clubs in Santiago. During a night out, she meets a former naval officer and must decide if she will allow herself to fall in love.
FILM: La Playa DC
DIRECTOR: Juan Andrés Arango Garcia
SYNOPSIS: When his youngest brother goes missing, a young Afro-Colombian teen must venture out into Bogotá alone to look for him.
COUNTRY: Dominican Republic
FILM: Quien Manda? (Who’s the Boss?)
DIRECTOR: Ronni Castillo
SYNOPSIS: A battle of the sexes takes place in this romantic comedy between Alex and Natalie, two individuals who want to be in control of their relationship with one another.
FILM: Mejor no hablar (Porcelain Horse)
DIRECTOR: Javier Andrade
SYNOPSIS: Tragedy strikes when two brothers break into their own parents’ home to steal something that will help them buy drugs.
DIRECTOR: Amat Escalante
SYNOPSIS: Drug violence affects a family when a young girl gets involved with a police cadet.
FILM: El limpiador (The Cleaner)
DIRECTOR: Adrian Saba
SYNOPSIS: A forensics cleaner takes in a young orphan who is a survivor after an epidemic hits Lima.
FILM: 15 Años y un dia (15 Years and One Day)
DIRECTOR: Gracia Querejeta
SYNOPSIS: An at-risk teenager is sent to live with his grandfather, but is soon enlisted by a local gang.
DIRECTOR: Alfredo Soderguit
SYNOPSIS: The only animated film on this list follows a 10-year-old girl whose imagination gets the best of her when the principal of her school punishes her for a playground skirmish by giving her a closed envelope with the details of her punishment sealed inside and asks her not to open it for a week.
FILM: Brecha en el silencio (Breach in the Silence)
DIRECTOR: Andrés and Luis Rodríguez
SYNOPSIS: A young woman with a hearing impairment does everything she can to save her siblings from an abusive household.