Singapore has selected Golden Horse-winning film Wet Season as its entry in the Academy Awards best international feature film category.
It is the second time that filmmaker Anthony Chen’s work is representing the country at the Oscars, after his first feature film, Ilo Ilo, was submitted in 2013 for the same category. It was previously called the foreign films category.
The announcement was made on Tuesday (13 October) by the Singapore Film Commission (SFC).
Chen, who is based in London, told Yahoo Lifestyle SEA that he was honoured and humbled that Wet Season was selected, especially since this is his second go at the Oscars race. “I never ever thought about being nominated or winning, I just hope that more audiences outside of Singapore can see and be moved by Wet Season. It’s a true labour of love from the entire cast and crew. All of us were drenched in sweat and tears.”
SFC director Joachim Ng said in a statement, “It is a thought-provoking film which explores human relationships and emotions through the lens of a central female character grappling with her personal identity and marriage. The film has been well received by audiences in several film festivals and we are proud to continue supporting more made-with-Singapore films that transcend boundaries and evoke conversations.”
Malaysian actress Yeo Yann Yann won the best actress awards at the Golden Horse Film Awards and Pingyao International Film Festival last year for her role as teacher Ling in Wet Season. Yeo and co-star Koh Jia Ler were the main actors in both Wet Season and Ilo Ilo.
Wet Season is a drama about a teacher who faces problems in her marriage and at work who rediscovers herself through an unlikely relationship with a student.
The predominantly Chinese-language film has so far been released in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, France and Greece.
It was nominated for several categories at the 2019 Golden Horse Awards, though only Yeo took home the trophy for her acting category. It also received nods for Best Narrative Feature, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (for both Koh Jia Ler and Yang Shi Bin), and Best Original Screenplay.
Chen was named best director for Wet Season at Macao’s International Film Festival & Awards.
Singapore has submitted films for Oscars consideration in most years since 2005, but none have yet been shortlisted. Selected films in recent years include A Land Imagined (2019), Buffalo Boys (2018) and Pop Aye (2017).