The announcement, which placed “Vitalina Varela” behind the Romanian “Collective”, by Alexander Nanau, the Brazilian “Bacurau”, Kléber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles, and the Russian “Beanpole”, by Kantemir Balagov, was made through the account organization's Twitter account after the 55th annual awards meeting.

According to the vote, “Collective” got 38 points, while “Bacurau” and “Beanpole” got 36 ‘ex aequo’ points, followed by “Vitalina Varela” with 32 points. Pedro Costa's film was also ranked third in the category of best cinematography, with director of photography Leonardo Simões being surpassed by James Richards (from “Nomadland”) and Shabier Kirchner (from “Lovers Rock”). “Nomadland”, by Chloé Zhao, was the big winner of these awards, having also won the categories of best film, best performance, and best actress, attributed to Frances McDormand.

According to the Critics Society, the process was conducted by a weighted voting system, with participants voting on their three choices for each category (three points for the first choice, two for the second and one for the third). "The nominee with the most points and who appears on most ballot papers wins", explained the society.

Portuguese candidate for the Oscar nomination for Best International Film, “Vitalina Varela” had its world premiere in August 2019 at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland, where he won the main awards: Golden Leopard and Leopard for best female interpretation.

Since then, it has been shown and received several awards at several international film festivals, in addition to appearing on multiple lists of the best of the year. The specialized publication Variety placed him, 19th days ago, in the list of possible candidates for the Oscar for Best International Film.

Pedro Costa met Vitalina Varela when he was running "Cavalo Dinheiro", ending up including part of her story in the narrative, and then giving her a leading role in the next film. The narrative focuses on a Cape Verdean woman who arrives in Portugal three days after her husband's death, after having been waiting for a plane ticket for 25 years.

In Locarno, Pedro Costa explained that the films about the Cape Verdean community are not documentaries: "We are doing something a little more epic", based on a relationship that has existed for 25 years. "I speak of people who live in oblivion today, sleep on the streets, are tortured. The cinema can protect them, in a way, avenge part of this situation, because it can be shown anywhere," he said.