( ) — “Argentina, 1985”, directed by Santiago Mitre, is one of the five nominees in the Best International Film category at the Oscars.
The triumph at the Golden Globes, the political weight of the film and the Ricardo Darín effect in Hollywood are some of the strong points of this fictional production based on true events, which personalities like Lionel Messi have recommended.
Here we review the five keys that could give Argentina the highest award given to non-English-speaking cinema for the third time.
1. In this story, good triumphs
In the mid-1980s, the reborn and still fragile Argentine democracy was still marked by the last military dictatorship, a regime that carried out forced disappearances, torture and repression.
The monumental task of indicting the junta leaders falls to Julio César Strassera (Ricardo Darín), a prosecutor who doubts his ability to fight this battle. He is accompanied by the then rookie assistant prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo (Peter Lanzani).
Faced with what they felt was a lack of support in the judicial sphere, both summon a courageous group of young people who help to collect, in a matter of weeks, evidence of crimes to present them to Justice. Prosecutors, amid threats and questions from the press, are dealing with their own emotional storms and conflicts with their loved ones.
The film does not overwhelm the audience with an excess of historical data (for example, the figure of the then president, Raúl Alfonsín, who was the one who made the decision to try the military leadership, remains in the shadows) and takes advantage of fiction and humor to move the story forward. “Argentina, 1985” connects with viewers by internalizing the protagonists and their journey. In this classic tale of heroism, it’s clear who wins the fight in the end.
2. Defend democracy, a current issue
“Argentina, 1985” was born in a coffee chat. Producer Axel Kuschevatzky told that he was talking with the film’s director, Santiago Miter, about “The Post,” Steven Spielberg’s film about the publication of the Pentagon Papers, which revealed government secrets surrounding the war in Vietnam. They wondered: What event in Argentine history of the caliber of the Watergate case never made it to the big screen? Together, they hit the key.
“The Trial of the Juntas is one of the most important legal and political events in the history of Argentina, at levels that we could not believe that no one had ever made a television program about it,” said Kuschevatzky in Perspectives from Buenos Aires .
And it is not for less: since the Nuremberg trials against the Nazi hierarchs, there had not been a large-scale trial of dictators for State terrorism. Even more striking was that it was carried out in a civil court, instead of a military one.
“We felt that it was not a film about Argentina (in) 1985, but rather about the need for the existence of justice for democracy to survive,” he added, reflecting on other more recent threats to institutions, such as the attack on the United States Capitol. United in 2021.
“I discovered that the most important thing is the films of the trials,” explained Luis Moreno Ocampo to , who after his role in these events became the first chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. “Cinema defines memory, and memory defines politics,” he added on the Conecta2 program.
And Miter summed it up in his Golden Globe acceptance speech: “I think democracy is something we have to keep fighting for.”
3. The prizes won and the conquest of the public
The recognitions began with the long lines in the cinemas of Buenos Aires, after its premiere in 2022. And with the effusive applause inside the theaters, from New York to the Buenos Aires neighborhoods, after the scene of Strassera’s plea pronouncing the famous ” Never more”. Including the ovation of more than nine minutes and the prize of the press at the Venice Festival, a prelude to what was to come.
Also contributing to this successful phenomenon was the strong global marketing campaign, the support of Amazon Studios (which offers the film on the Amazon Prime Video platform), and, more recently, the praise on social media from figures such as Michael Bublé, Ricky Martin and Lionel Messi.
The awards were not lacking: Golden Globe for the best non-English language film, Goya for the best Ibero-American film, audience award in San Sebastián, freedom of expression award from the National Board of Review… and the list goes on.
4. The Darín effect at the Oscars
Argentina competed four times in just over two decades in the category for best international film (formerly called best foreign film), always with actor Ricardo Darín at the helm.
The streak began in 2001, when “The Son of the Bride” was selected. Although Juan José Campanella’s film left empty-handed, the Argentine director had a second chance to win the award. Thanks to “El secreto de la ojos de él”, with Darín in the stellar role of investigator of a brutal crime, Campanella raised the golden statuette in 2010.
The third nomination came with the episodic “Wild Tales” by Damián Szifrón, which won the BAFTA, but not the Oscar. The actor gave an explosive performance: it was not for nothing that his character as an engineer fed up with bureaucracy who resorts to dynamite earned the nickname “Bombita”.
And finally we come to “Argentina, 1985”, the last chapter of this romance between the Hollywood Academy and one of the most renowned Ibero-American actors of today.
5. A difficult race, but not impossible
The production that could frustrate this Argentine dream is the impressive “All Quiet On The Western Front”, distributed by Netflix, which is also competing in the most coveted category: best film.
The dark and bloody tale, focusing on the experiences of a German soldier during World War I, garnered nine other nominations for its production design, sound, original score, adapted screenplay, special effects, makeup and photography. The film also swept the BAFTA (British Academy) awards, taking seven statuettes, including best film.
However, with the Golden Globe in hand, Argentina remains hopeful.
The other shortlisted are “Close”, the Belgian candidate, who won the Grand Prix prize at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, thanks to her moving story about the intimate relationship of two pre-adolescent boys.
But perhaps the surprise in this category is “The Quiet Girl”, the proposal from Ireland, which has not won so many important awards in recent months. However,
its simple premise about the relationship of a quiet and abandoned girl with her new caregivers, told with delicacy and tenderness, could give a hit.
There is also “EO”, from Poland, an original road movie-style production narrated from the perspective of a donkey born in a circus. Like “Close”, the tape garnered last year in Cannes, in its case, the grand jury prize.
Now, all that remains is to wait for the definition of the Academy this Sunday, March 12, at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles.
One more key for those who believe in coincidences
The first time that Argentina won an Oscar was in 1986. Its protagonist, the actress Norma Aleandro, ended up hugging Jack Valenti and on the verge of tears when she found out, as presenter, that “The Official Story” was taking the award for best Foreign movie. That same year, Diego Maradona lifted the World Cup together with the champion soccer team in the tournament held in Mexico.
Now that Argentina has won its third World Cup in Qatar, will it also get its third golden film statuette? We choose to believe.