‘La sociedad de la nieve’ to represent Spain at the Oscars 2024

by Lorraine Williamson

MADRID – The Spanish film ‘La sociedad de la nieve,’ directed by Juan Antonio Bayona, will represent Spain at the 2024 Oscars. 

The film was chosen by the Spanish Film Academy, outpacing the other two pre-selected films, ‘20,000 Species of Bees’ by Estíbaliz Urreosola, and ‘Close Your Eyes’ by Víctor Erice. 

The film made its worldwide premiere at the Venice Film Festival. Furthermore, it is the most financially robust and internationally aspirational production among the three. 

Humane drama of a famous catastrophe 

Based on the book of the same name by Pablo Vierci, the film shines a light on the infamous 1972 plane crash in the Andes involving a Uruguayan rugby team. Like his earlier work ‘The Impossible,’ Bayona delves deep into the human drama of a famous catastrophe. 

A second chance for Bayona 

Juan Antonio Bayona was previously shortlisted for the Oscars in 2007 for his debut film ‘The Orphanage,’ but failed to receive a nomination. However, ‘The Impossible’ earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for Naomi Watts in 2012. Being a familiar face in both the American and global film industry, Bayona has an edge in a Hollywood Academy that is increasingly international. 

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Previously adapted story 

The dramatic survival and cannibalism story was previously adapted in 1993 by Frank Marshall in ‘Alive’. The film starred Ethan Hawke and gained significant attention at the time. Consequently, this could present a potential hurdle during the Oscar campaign. 

Ambitious production 

According to Bayona, the film could only be made with Uruguayan actors, whom he found after an extensive casting process for amateur actors. Filming took place in the Sierra Nevada, in Uruguay, and in Netflix studios in Madrid. Thus, making it an extraordinarily ambitious project for a non-English-speaking film. 

Tribute to the victims 

The film primarily honours the victims and survivors of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571. Bayona seems intent on capturing an honest, definitive, and unchangeable account of the event. The film now embarks on a long and challenging Oscar campaign for Best International Film. An initial shortlist of 15 pre-selected films will be announced on December 21. Then, the final five nominees will be disclosed on January 23, along with other categories. Finally, the 96th Oscars ceremony will take place on March 12 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. 

Last year, the film Alcarraz by Carla Simón was selected to represent Spain at the prestigious film awards but ultimately failed to make the final list of nominated films. 

Related: Spanish film nominated for Best International Film at Oscars 

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