The Oscar race for best international feature film in 2024 is heating up as Germany announces its shortlist of 12 films to represent the country. Standouts include Christian Petzold’s romantic drama Afire, which won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at the 2022 Berlin Film Festival, and The Teachers’ Lounge, winner of 6 awards at Germany’s national film awards including best picture and actress. Other noteworthy selections are Elaha, winner at Berlin’s Perspektive Deutsches Kino sidebar, and Sisi & I, providing a feminist perspective on Empress Sisi and her lady-in-waiting. With acclaimed veteran director Wim Wenders also making the cut for his documentary Anselm, Germany has assembled a diverse and compelling group of films to choose from as it seeks its first international feature Oscar since 2007’s The Lives of Others. The final nomination will be closely watched by cinephiles when announced later this year.
While Wim Wenders’ Japan-set drama Perfect Days was overlooked, his documentary on painter Anselm Kiefer, Anselm, made Germany’s Oscar shortlist. The 12-film list spans an array of genres like sci-fi feature The Ordinaries and modern Orpheus reimagining Orphea in Love. Acclaimed docs also abound, including A Woman tracing one life through the 20th Century and Jeanine Meerapfel’s film on painter Anselm Kiefer. Upcoming titles will also vie for Germany’s nomination like Marc Rothemund’s Weekend Rebels about an autistic son and father and Venice’s debut The Theory of Everything.
With previous nominations but no wins since 2007, Germany hopes its diverse slate will break the dry spell. An independent jury will select Germany’s final Oscar submission this month before the Academy announces the shortlist in December. By showcasing fresh voices like Sophie Linnenbaum while including revered directors like Wim Wenders, Germany makes a compelling case to be back in the international conversation for 2024.