JA Bayona’s ‘Society of the Snow’ gets picked as Spain’s official selection for Oscars

Los Angeles, Sep 21 (IANS) Director J.A Bayona’s real-life-disaster Spanish film ‘Society of the Snow’, has been chosen as the Spanish pick for the 2024 Oscars for Best International Film.

The decision comes less than two weeks after the film had its world premiere as the closing feature of the Venice Film Festival, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The director is best known for directing films such as ‘The Orphanage’ as well as the ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’; and his most recent outing is about the Uruguayan 1972 Andes flight disaster based on Pablo Vierci’s book.

This marks the second time that Bayona’s film has been selected by Spain for Oscar submission after this 2007 gothic horror film ‘The Orphanage’ which was also his last Spanish film. The film also marks the first time that a Netflix film has been selected by Spain.

Spain has a solid track record in the Oscars international feature race, with four wins, the last of which was in 2004 for ‘The Sea Inside’, earning it 20 nominations. Its last appearance in the category was in 2019, when Pedro Almodovar who won in 1999 for ‘All About My Mother’ was nominated for ‘Pain and Glory’.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about ‘Society of the Snow’, Bayona said he’d actually first been inspired to make the film while working on ‘The Impossible’, with his 2012 hit actually named after a passage in Vieri’s book.

The 1972 flight disaster, which saw a plane of 45 mostly young rugby players from Uruguay crash in the Andes with only 16 people surviving after 72 days in the snowy environment and after having been forced to take extreme measures — including cannibalism — to stay alive, has been put to screen before (most notably Frank Marshall’s 1993 film ‘Alive’).

But Bayona said his film was the first to tell the story of the entire “society” on board the plane and was the first that involved the survivors and families of those who died, to the extent that they allowed the film to use their real names.