This is pure speculation at this point, since official selections aren’t even in full swing yet (a few have been announced) and so we’re only going off of buzz and reviews and sight-unseen assumptions on what films have the biggest narrative for not only submission but nomination.
I will say this, the French keep fucking up. First, last year they chose the Weinstein backed ‘Intouchables’ over the critically acclaimed ‘Rust + Bone’ and screwed themselves out of a nomination (I totally expected ‘Intouchables’ to make it in, so I was shocked too) and now they are not giving ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ a qualifying release in France in order for them to submit it. This is so bizarre to me. They are planning a qualifying Oscar run here in the United States, but not in France. I’m not saying that they would have won the Oscar in Foreign Language (the themes are still a tough sell) but it would have been a lock for a nomination. That said, if they go with ‘The Past’ they’ll still probably land on the final ballot. Hell, if they go with ‘Ernest & Celestine’ they still might.
I’m skeptical about ‘The Grandmasters’ being Hong Kong’s choice, but Kar Wai is a great director and deserves to have an audience, so maybe. I also wonder if Hungary could sneak in with ‘The Notebook’. Oscar loves war films here, especially ones with children.
For now, I’m making an ass of myself and assuming the following:
1. The Past (France)
2. Child’s Pose (Romania)
3. The Hunt (Denmark)
4. The Great Beauty (Italy)
5. Touch of Sin (China)