Just as everyone was coming down from the Emmy Awards yesterday, people in Hollywood were making moves for another awards show, the Oscars, still almost 6 months away. It was confirmed that the Cambodian Oscar Selection Committee has chosen to submit Angelina Jolie’s First They Killed My Father for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Which means that there’s a lot of work ahead. Because this is just the first stage. The Foreign Film category is divided into several phases.
All that’s happened now is that FTKMF has been added to the longlist that includes submissions from countries around the world, sometimes multiple submissions. Over the next couple of months Academy members will screen the films on the longlist and edit the contenders down to a shortlist. The shortlist represents their “top six choices, augmented by three additional selections voted by the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee”. From this shortlist, the Academy will then narrow down the field even further to the final 5, which are announced on nomination day, January 23, 2018.
Given that process, Angelina basically has to start campaigning before everyone else. Which is why she was at an Academy screening this weekend in LA. She has two months to try to convince the Academy that she deserves to be on the shortlist. And even if she makes the shortlist, she then has to convince them that FTKMF deserves an official nomination.
With Angelina Jolie’s involvement, FTKMF is without a doubt the most recognisable film on that longlist. And it’ll be an interesting observation of what her influence in the industry really is. Angelina is very, very famous. But she has called herself a Hollywood outsider. In many ways, she kind of is. She doesn’t move in the usual circles. She doesn’t brunch with the Hollywood moms. She not tapped into that network that controls who gets invited where and who’s been declared persona non grata. We saw that when World War Brange happened, when Brad Pitt was welcomed at the Golden Globes and by so many of his Hollywood peers. Angelina Jolie is excellent at the media game. She can leverage that skill up to a point with the Academy but beyond that, she’ll have to start playing the Hollywood game. It’s a game of favours and friendships and alliances and grudges. We’ve seen Julia Roberts, for example, go hard in her support for Brad Pitt last year and Moonlight when she attended a screening with him before it started building momentum all the way to its eventual Best Picture win at the Oscars. Will there be anyone to stand up for Angelina? Will she need it?