3 Oscar-Nominated Foreign Films You Need to Watch

With the 91st Academy Awards approaching and the release of the nominations list, there are several predictions of who will win what and who will be taking the most statuettes home. But what caught my attention from the list is the increased presence of foreign films in different categories. This is a huge step for international filmmakers trying to break into the American film industry. It highlights groups and areas in the world usually forgotten.

If you’re looking for new movies to watch, here are the best Oscar-nominated films of 2019 you should immediately add to your watch-list. 

1. Roma

Roma is taking over the Oscars this year, and rightfully so. This Mexican film has received several achievements, including a Best Actress Oscar, two Golden Globes and a record amount of Oscar nominations ever received by a film that’s not in English (since the 2000 movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). The semi-autobiographical film takes place in the 1970s, following the life of a housekeeper living with a middle-class Mexican family in the Colonia Roma district of Mexico City. The housekeeper is indigenous, which makes the plot of the movie unique. It adds a missing element to the Mexican film industry that is dominated by “white-looking” actors. The film includes perfect cinematography, plot and emotional portrayal of ordinary lives. An untrained actress and a fitting cast will definitely leave you in awe. You can watch this film on Netflix.

2. Capernaum  

This is one of the few films that have truly grabbed my attention from its trailer alone. It showed a 12-year-old boy standing in front of a judge and taking his parents to court. Curiosity immediately struck me and left me wanting more. This Oscar-nominated Lebanese film, directed by Nadine Labaki, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. It told the story of Zain, who sues his parents for what he calls a crime – giving him life. He escapes his parents, takes care of an Ethiopian refugee and her son and ends up in jail. The non-professional actors of the film fully capture this intense plot that is a reality for them. It will make you reach for a box of tissues to deal with the raw emotions packed into every scene. The film opened in U.S. theaters Feb. 15.

3. Shoplifters  

Shoplifters, a one-of-a-kind Japanese film, talks about an impoverished family who decide to shoplift to survive. This family finds a girl locked out on an apartment balcony and decides to bring her home. After discovering signs of abuse on her body, they let her live with them. This gesture slowly turns into a twisted story of crime and drama that will let you dig deep into the meaning of family in times of despair. The scenario is like one of those moral dilemma games that will make you question everything. This film also did well internationally and won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, so make sure to watch it on Digital HD from Amazon Video and iTunes.

If the idea of reading subtitles isn’t that appealing to you, I can guarantee you that these films will change your mind. The visual language of these three films alone will  compensate for the words lost in translation. You will most likely find yourself in one of the characters and realize that some feelings and struggles are international.