A U.S.-based arts and culture magazine has listed the Philippines’ official Oscar entry Bwakaw as one of this year’s “50 Best Undistributed Films of 2012.” This is based on its yearend survey of more than 120 film critics, journalists, film section editors, and past and present contributors worldwide.
Published by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Film Comment magazine annually releases the most comprehensive review of the year in film. Bwakaw, directed by Jun Robles Lana, landed in the fifth slot of this year’s “50 Best Undistributed Films of 2012.”
Joachim Lafosse’s Our Children, Song Fang’s Memories Look at Me, Alan Berliner’s First Cousin Once Removed, and Ying Liang’s When Night Falls were the other movies that made it to the top four slots. These are movies that made appearances at film festivals or special screenings worldwide, but remain undistributed.
Last October, Bwakaw was the only Asian film to make it to the prestigious list of TIME magazine’s “10 Films to Watch” at the 50th New York Film Festival, one of the world’s oldest and most anticipated film festivals organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
In July 2012, Bwakaw was part of the Directors' Showcase category of the 8th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival. This drama-comedy was able to win the Audience Choice Award and the Best Actor trophy for Eddie Garcia. It was also recognized as the Best Film by the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) Awards.
Bwakaw has since made rounds in various foreign film festivals such as in New York, Toronto, Hawaii and Tokyo where it garnered rave reviews from international film critics.
The bid of the film to become the first ever Filipino film to be nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards gets a strong boost as it continues to get a favorable standing in the leading Oscar prediction site AwardsCircuit.com.
Meanwhile, the 83-year-old Eddie Garcia won Best Actor for his role in Bwakaw at the Asia Pacific Film Festival held in Macau last Saturday (December 15). His powerful portrayal of a grumpy, old, gay man who comes out late in life has been gaining international attention that fuels the movie’s hope to take home an Oscar.
Several critics, including Joey Magidson of AwardsCircuit.com and Larry Rohter of The New York Times, have even echoed comparisons of Eddie to veteran Hollywood actor Clint Eastwood.
Last December 6, the New York Times published a story about Bwakaw on its awards season blog called The Carpetbagger.
The article titled “A Coming-Out Story starring the Filipino Clint Eastwood” featured an interview with Bwakaw director Jun Lana. Writer Larry Rohter pointed out: "No Filipino submission has ever made it to the select group of five films nominated each year for the foreign-language Oscar, and Mr. [Jun] Lana, 40, is aware his film is a long shot. But Bwakaw has received good reviews and a strong audience response this fall at festivals like Toronto and New York."
Last September, Joey Magidson of AwardsCircuit.com described Bwakaw as “terrifically acted (especially by lead Eddie Garcia), tenderly directed, and often laugh out loud funny while retaining a strong emotional core.”
The five shortlisted Best Foreign Feature Film contenders (out of a total of 71 films in the category) will be revealed on January 10, 2013. The winner will be announced during the Academy Awards ceremony on February 24, 2013.