Czech film The Painted Bird shortlisted for Oscar nomination

The Painted Bird, Václav Marhoul’s epic Holocaust drama and one of the best Czech movies ever made, has officially become one of ten finalists shortlisted to be eligible for nomination for the 2020 Academy Award for Best International Feature Film (formerly Best Foreign Language Film). 

The five nominees, among which The Painted Bird certainly belongs, will be officially announced on January 13. 

“I still cannot believe it,” Marhoul told the Czech press agency CTK earlier today. 

“I feel like Ester Ledecká, who finished her race and stared at her rating with misbelief,” he said, referring to the Czech skier-snowboarder who won two gold medals at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

Marhoul confessed that The Painted Bird faces tough competition among the other films competing for the Best International Feature Film Oscar, and that some US critics have chided the film for being excessively realistic. 

The other nine films The Painted Bird will compete against for an Oscar nomination include four that most Oscar handicappers predict to be shoo-ins: Bong Joon-ho’s Cannes-winning Parasite, Ladj Ly’s French immigrant drama Les Misérables, the Senegalese supernatural drama Atlantics, and Pedro Almodóvar’s acclaimed Pain and Glory.

The five other films competing for the Best International Feature Film nomination are Corpus Christi (Poland), Truth and Justice (Estonia), Those Who Remained (Hungary), Honeyland (North Macedonia), and Beanpole (Russia).

The Painted Bird isn’t the only Czech film competing for an Oscar nomination at next year’s Academy Awards. 

Daria Kashcheva, a student at Prague’s FAMU, won a Student Oscar for her short film Daughter in October, and the film has also been shortlisted as a finalist for the 2020 Best Animated Short Oscar. 

“All of us will keep our fingers crossed for each other and closely watch the transmission of the Oscar nomination ceremony – FAMU awaited the same moment in 2017 last time, when Jan Sasky’s Happy End was on the shortlist in the Animated Short Film category,” FAMU’s Alexandra Hroncova told CTK.


Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at

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