Czech movie Charlatan shortlisted for 2021 Academy Award

Shortlists for the 2021 Academy Awards in nine categories have just been announced, and the Czech Republic has a couple of representations on the list. The shortlists whittle down potential nominees in categories voters are unlikely to see every eligible film.

Most notably, director Agnieszka Holland’s excellent Charlatan, the official Czech submission to the 2021 Academy Awards, is one of 14 films shortlisted for a nomination for 2021 Best International Film.

Charlatan follows in the footsteps of Václav Marhoul’s masterpiece The Painted Bird, which made the shortlist in 2020 but did not end up among the five nominees.

Since the establishment of the Czech Republic in 1993, three Czech films have been nominated for an Academy Award for what is now Best International Film (previously Best Foreign-Language Film): Jan Svěrák’s Kolya (in 1996), Jan Hřebejk’s Divided We Fall (2000) Ondřej Trojan’s Želary (2003). Kolya remains the only winner.

Can Charlatan snag a nomination? Variety’s latest predictions have Charlatan at #11 of the 14 films on the shortlist, though Gold Derby lists Charlatan as one of seven “leading contenders.”

Five of the 14 films will receive an Oscar nomination for Best International Film when the Academy Award nominations are officially unveiled on March 15. This year’s ceremony, pushed back a couple months due to COVID-19, will take place on April 25.

Most sources predict Denmark’s Another Round, from director Thomas Vinterberg, as the clear favorite to eventually win the 2021 International Film Oscar.

The Korean-language Minari, which has been chosen by many critics groups as 2020’s best foreign-language film, is not eligible for the International Film Oscar as it is a US production.

These are the 14 films competing for the 2021 Best International Film Oscar:

  • Another Round (Denmark)

  • Better Days (Hong Kong)

  • Charlatan (Czech Republic)

  • Collective (Romania)

  • Dear Comrades! (Russia)

  • Hope (Norway)

  • I’m No Longer Here (Mexico)

  • La Llorona (Guatemala)

  • The Man Who Sold His Skin (Tunisia)

  • The Mole Agent (Chile)

  • Night of the Kings (Ivory Coast)

  • Quo Vadis, Aida? (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

  • A Sun (Taiwan)

  • Sun Children (Iran)

  • Two of Us (France)

In addition to Charlatan being listed among the 14 films on the 2021 Best International Film Oscar shortlist, another movie with a Czech connection has made a different shortlist.

The Painter and the Thief, a Norwegian documentary about Czech artist Barbora Kysilkova, has made the shortlist of 15 films for the 2021 Best Documentary Academy Award. The Painter and the Thief follows the story of Kysilkova, a Czech artist living in Norway, and the relationship she develops with a man who stole her artwork.


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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