Colombia’s Birds of Passage out of 2019 Oscars race

Colombia’s official 2019 Oscar entry, Pájaros de Verano (Birds of Passage), co-directed by Ciro Guerra and Cristina Gallego didn’t make the official list of nominees during the announcement Tuesday ahead of the 91st edition of the Academy Awards.

Filmed in the desert of La Guajira and which tells of the story of the birth of the marijuana trade during the 1960s and 70, Pájaros de Verano was considered a strong contender to join the five finalists in the Best Foreign Language Film category. The films that nudged Colombia out of the list are Never Look Away (Germany), Shoplifters (Japan), Capernaum (Lebanon), Cold War (Poland) and Roma (Mexico).

Alfonso Cuarón’s black and white feature Roma, clinched 10 nominations, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. The 18th-century drama, The Favorite, set in the court of Queen Anne also received 10 nominations.

Colombia’s last participation in the Academy Awards was back in 2016 with Embrace of the Serpent, also by director Ciro Guerra. Embrace of the Serpent was filmed in black and white in the heart of the Colombian Amazon – the Vaupés department – and tells the story of a European explorer who comes into contact with an elderly shaman of an indigenous tribe exterminated by rubber barons.

In Birds of Passage, Guerra once again teamed up with Cristina Gallego, who marked her directorial debut in a film characterized by sweeping cinematography and historical details. After its premiere at Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, the elegiac Pájaros de Verano hit the international film festival circuit where it won a host of awards, including the Coral Award at the 40th edition of the Havana Film Festival in December and Best Fictional Film at the Fénix Awards in Mexico City.

The film will be released in New York and Los Angeles on February 13, with the 91st Academy Awards ceremony taking place on February 24.