Chilean cinema secured two Oscar nominations on Tuesday, an all-time first for the country.
Maite Alberdi’s The Eternal Memory was nominated for Best Documentary, while Pablo Larrain’s The Count got a Best Cinematography nomination for Edward Lachman.
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Alberdi’s The Eternal Memory follows 70-year-old journalist Augusto Góngora and his bond with his wife, actress and former Minister of Culture Paulina Urrutia, as they navigate Góngora’s Alzheimer’s together.
Gongora’s career as one of the most fervent denouncers of Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship and the progress of his illness today bring memory to the center stage in a documentary that is also an intimate portrait of enduring love.
The best cinematography nomination went to veteran American director of photography and filmmaker Edward Lachman for his work on Pablo Larrain’s The Count. Premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2023, this black-and-white, dark comedy portrays General Augusto Pinochet (played by Jaime Vadell) as a 250-year-old vampire who has retired from the world and is sick of immortality.
Stashed away with a servant (Alfredo Castro) and his wife Lucía, Pinochet is visited by his opportunistic children trying to get a piece of his fortune, but he finds new inspiration to continue living a life of vital and counterrevolutionary passion through an unexpected relationship.
Lachman’s long career includes working with some of the most prestigious directors in the world, such as Todd Haynes (Far from Heaven in 2002 and Carol in 2015, Steven Soderbergh, Robert Altman, Paul Schrader, Werner Herzog, and Sofia Coppola.
The double Oscar nomination landmark adds to Chile’s previous four bids at the Academy Awards. Alberdi’s own The Mole Agent was also nominated for a Best Documentary award in 2020. In the Best Film in a Foreign Language category, Pablo Larrain’s No earned a nomination in 2012 and Sebastian Lelio’s A Fantastic Woman won the category in 2017. That was Chile’s second Oscar win after Bear Story, which won the Best Animated Short Film category in 2016.