What else? „The Lives of Others“, by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. At least that’s what I have to assume after having read an article entitled “So gewinnt man einen Auslands-Oscar” (How to win a foreign language Oscar) by Georg Seesslen of Die Zeit.

He didn’t go out on a limb or anything, but he did make a few interesting points about what he thinks a foreign film has to bring with it to win in Hollywood. It has to be “foreign” enough to be recognizable as such, but not too much so, for instance. It has to have utilized traditional storytelling and convincing acting techniques. The film should have a certain degree of novelty to it, being something that one feels he or she is “seeing for the first time”. The film needs to have already enjoyed a relatively high level of success in its country of origin (7 Lolas enough?). And most importantly, and by far the most difficult, the film in question needs to comfortably straddle those often opposing worlds of art and craftsmanship on the one side and commerce and industry on the other. “The Lives of Others” certainly seems to meet all these criteria – and the other films it is competing against seem rather pale in comparison, which will also help.

And so it won’t matter that the celebrities handing over the Oscar won’t be able to pronounce von Donnersmarck’s name properly tonight (Hollywood time). Who cares? I can’t shake the feeling that most Hollywood celebrities don’t even know how to read (not even from their que cards), so why should we expect them to be able to pronounce them there funny foreign names and words. And von Donnersmarck speaks better English than most of them do anyway.

I have the good fortune of not haven written an article that gets printed out on paper and all that like Herr Seesslen did, so I can and will go out on the limb on this one. That’s why I can now publicly declare that “The Lives of Others” is going to win the Oscar for best foreign language film for 2006.

Besides, I can always edit this later.

Come visit me at Observing Hermann…

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