Portugal has a record for the Oscars: that of the country that most often proposed titles to the category of Best Foreign Film without having obtained an appointment. Still, do you know that there have already been two Portuguese winners from the Academy and an actor to win the golden statuette for a character from our country?
Portugal and the Oscars have always been with their faces turned.
If there were any doubts, there is a fact that says it all: our country is the one that most often submitted titles to Best Foreign Film (no less than 34 times, starting in 1980) without having won the nomination once. The most recent not to reach the end was "São Jorge", by Marco Martins.
Also the short films of animation are tried to approach the trophy, but still without success: in 2006, for example, "History Tragic with Final Happy", of Regina Pessoa, was in the short-list of 10 nominable films, but did not reach the final list.
But the truth is that the Academy has already distinguished Portuguese talent. Carlos de Mattos is the premier, having twice been honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Hollywood with special certificates in those ceremonies dedicated to the technical awards that are only presented excerpts during the awards ceremony we see annually.
Carlos de Mattos was born in Luanda in 1952 and went to live in the United States at the age of 18, developing important activities in the technological area. He received the first "Technical Achievement Award" in 1983, in partnership with Con Tresfons, Adriaan De Rooy and Ed Phillips for the creation and realization of Tulip Crane, a crane used in films such as «E.T. The Extraterrestrial ».
In 1986 he received a "Scientific and Engineering Award" in partnership with Ernest F. Nettman and Ed Phillips for the creation of a remote control camera used in films such as "Africa My" and "Cotton Club".
The renowned playwright Christopher Hampton, despite being seen by all as a Briton, was actually born on the island of Faial in the Azores, moving very new to the UK where he would make a career with no connection to the country of origin. As a screenwriter he won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for "Dangerous Links" in 1989 and was named the same trophy for "Atonement" in 2008.
But Carlos de Mattos and Christopher Hampton have practically practiced their entire life and career outside of Portugal. Will there be any Portuguese even nominated with a relevant career in our country? There's only one: the director of photography Eduardo Serra.
He has never won but has been nominated twice for the Oscar for his work on "The Wings of Love" (1997) and "Girl with Pearl Earring" (2003). In Portugal, he signed a photograph of such important films as "Sin Sombra de Pecado" and "The Woman of the Next" by José Fonseca e Costa, "The King's Process" by João Mário Grilo, "Amor e Dedinhos de Pé" , by Luis Filipe Rocha, and "O Delfim" by Fernando Lopes.
But even in American films, Portugal was present. In 2015, "Feral" actually came to the nomination in the category of Best Short Film Animation: although it was an American film, it was performed by Daniel Sousa, a Portuguese of Cape Verdean origin, who lived in Portugal until 16 years, then going to the USA where he now lives as an independent animator and teacher.
Already last year, two Canadian Luso-descendants have finally reached the much-desired nomination, both for the film "The Form of Water": Luis Sequeira, the son of Portuguese parents in the area of Aveiro and who maintains dual nationality, And Nelson Ferreira, whose parents are from the area of Mealhada, shared with Nathan Robitaille the nomination for Best Sound Editing (formerly known as Best Sound Effects). They lost respectively to "Phantom Line" and "Dunkirk."
The emblematic case of the film "Lobos do Mar" by Victor Fleming, by which the unforgettable Spencer Tracy won the first Oscar for Best Actor when interpreting the Portuguese fisherman Manuel (in the image), in which he even attempted, somewhat miserably , sing some songs in Portuguese.
And do not forget that the documentary "Portugal", included in the popular series of documentaries "People & Places" that Disney produced in the 1950s, was nominated in 1958 for the Oscar for Best Documentary Short Film.
The Portuguese language, of course, was present in some nominations of Brazilian films, namely in the various designations of the recent "Cidade de Deus" and "Central do Brasil". However, the only film spoken in the Camões tongue to receive an Oscar was the beautiful "Orfeu Negro" in 1960, performed in Terras de Vera Cruz by the Frenchman Marcel Camus. It is a co-production between France, Brazil and Italy, which adapts the play "Orfeu da Conceição" by Vinicius de Moraes, with music by António Carlos Jobim and Luis Bonfá. The film was a huge international success, also winning the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
More recently, of course, in 1994, the Spanish film «Belle Époque», shot largely in our country, won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, with Portugal deserving a word of thanks in the film's director Fernando Trueba.
Finally, without being spoken in Portuguese but adapted from a fundamental work of the national literature written by Eça de Queiroz, distinguished "The Crime of Padre Amaro", named for the Oscar for Best Non-English Language Film in 2003 by Mexico.