Belgian movie 'Close' misses out on Oscar for Best International Film

Belgian movie 'Close' misses out on Oscar for Best International Film
Cast of 'Close' pictured during the award ceremony of the 'Ensors' Flemish film prizes at the 'Film Festival Oostende, 4 February 2023. Credit: Belga/James Arthur Gekiere

The Belgian film 'Close' – about the intimate friendship between two 12-year-old boys – did not win the Oscar for Best International Film at this year's Academy Awards on Sunday.

Not entirely unexpectedly, the Oscar went to Edward Berger's German war film 'All Quiet on the Western Front' which was the main entry in the category. Berger's film was nominated for nine Oscars and eventually won four.

"Unfortunately we did not win the Oscar but we did everything we could and gave everything we had to make 'Close' go as far as possible," Belgian director Lukas Dhont told reporters on Sunday night (local time) in Hollywood.

The film stars young actors Eden Dambrine and Gustav De Waele, as well as actress Emilie Dequenne, and was produced by Michiel Dhont – the brother of director Lukas Dhont. "We are incredibly proud of this team. We thoroughly enjoyed this experience and this gives us a reason to do it again and win the Oscar then," the director said.

No surprises

In addition to 'Close' and 'All Quiet on the Western Front,' the Polish road movie starring a donkey 'EO,' the Irish coming-of-age film 'A Quiet Girl' and the Argentinian courtroom drama 'Argentina, 1985' were also nominated.

The win for 'All Quiet on the Western Front' did not come as a surprise as not a single movie that has been nominated for the Oscars for both Best Picture and Best International Film has ever seen the second one pass it by – an unwritten rule that held true this year.

Earlier in the evening, James Friend, the cinematographer of 'All Quiet on the Western Front', was already awarded the Oscar for best cinematography.

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This was the eighth time a Belgian film had been nominated for the Oscar for Best International Film. The last time this happened was in 2014 with Felix Van Groeningen's 'The Broken Circle Breakdown', which lost to Paolo Sorrentino's 'La Grande Bellezza'.

On Sunday night, Dhont could have become the first Belgian director to win an Oscar for a feature film.

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