Oscars season is near, so of course, it’s appropriate to talk about the Latin American talent that got submitted for the Academy’s consideration and the possibility of being a nominee or even winning an award.
Every country made a proposal, but only a few of them made it to the shortlist, and we still don’t know if they will get nominated, so here’s a brief list of highlights from this year if you’re an avid cinema enjoyer.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: LA FIERA Y LA FIESTA (HOLY BEASTS)
Holy Beasts, directed by Israel Cardenas and Laura Amelia Guzman, follows the story of Vera, an old actress that wants to pay homage to her late friend Jean-Luis Jorge, finishing one of his big projects while she still can. Following Vera, as she faces struggles and has to seek the help of people she’s no longer in contact with, yet still has one clear goal: finishing this project for someone she holds close to her heart is, to say the least, a fantastic experience.
The cast members are outstanding through and through, with music that perfectly matches the movie’s feeling and beautiful cinematography that makes everything glow more. At last, the film closes a chapter in Vera’s life, and as the spectator, it feels like a warm hug after getting to know the character so deeply.
PANAMA: PLAZA CATEDRAL
Directed by Abner Benaim and starred by Ilse Salas and Fernando De Casta. We get to know the story of Alicia, who is trying to live a normal life while dealing with emotions that she has to hide after losing her son, but everything suddenly changes when a little boy shows up at her doorway with a bleeding wound.
The highlights of Plaza Catedral, without a doubt, are the performances, with the cast making every bit of the movie feel genuine, trapping the audience into feeling everything they go through together. “How far would you go to help a stranger?” is one of the essential questions Alicia has to answer, and you’ll have to watch to find out.
VENEZUELA: UN DESTELLO INTERIOR (THE INNER GLOW)
In The Inner Glow, directed by Andrés Eduardo Rodriguez, we revolve around Silvia. Silvia is a janitor struggling with money and many family conflicts, having to take care of her little daughter Sara all by herself when she faces the biggest of threats that someone can face in Venezuela: a severe medical diagnosis.
We get to know a desperate woman in a country with nearly no opportunity for impoverished people, pushing her to make desperate decisions.
MEXICO: NOCHE DE FUEGO (PRAYERS FOR THE STOLEN)
Prayers for the Stolen is a heart-wrenching movie about the innate fear of being a woman, directed by Tatiana Huezo, adapting the book by Jennifer Clement. The film is about a tiny community exposed to Narcos, where they would come and take every girl they thought it was pretty, and the girls would never come back.
“In Mexico, the best thing that can happen to you is being born an ugly girl,” said reviewer Frida Lai. We see a mother trying to protect her child, cutting her hair, dressing her as a boy, everything to avoid attention since being considered cute in an environment like this would only take you away from your family.
You can watch it on Netflix, and yes, it’s a devastating story, but it’s also a true one and deserves recognition. We hope to see this one up on the nominee’s list.
Let’s hope that one of the Latin proposals snatches the Oscar this year, and if you have the chance, make sure to check these fantastic submissions!