Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Oscar's Best Foreign Language Film shortlist

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has narrowed their Best Foreign Language Film contenders from a field of 65 official submissions to a shortlist of 9 films. 

Those still left in the running are
Algeria's Hors la Loi (Outside the Law), Canada's Incendies (directed by Denis Villeneuve), Denmark's Hævnen (In a Better World), Japan's Kokuhaku (Confessions), Mexico's Biutiful, South Africa's Life, Above All, Spain's Tambien la Lluvia (Even The Rain), and Sweden's I rymden finns inga känslo (Simple Simon)

Incendies is an extraodinary film, my personal favourite of the year. I think it has an excellent chance of making it to the final list of nominees and perhaps winning the Foreign Language Film Oscar itself. It opens this weekend in English Canada.

The South African submission Life, Above All is based on the novel "Chanda's Secrets" by Canadian writer Allan Stratton.

Denmark's Hævnen (In a Better World) was this weekend's Golden Globe Award-winner in the Foreign Language category.

Noteworthy omissions from the short list include France's Des Hommes et Des Dieux (Of Gods and Men), and Palme d'Or winner Uncle Boonme Who Can Recall His Past Lives by Thai auteur Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

The Foreign Language category has the most complicated nomination process. Every country is allowed to submit a single film by its national organization in charge of film. This year, they received 65 submissions. A committee of 200-250 Los Angeles-based members screens them an assigned portion of the film and rates them on a scale of six to ten. The six highest-rated films automatically make the shortlist. From there, the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee augments the list with three more to make the shortlist of nine. This step was instituted after the much-lauded Romanian film 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days didn't make the shortlist, as a way to ensure it didn't happen again.

This weekend, specially invited committees in of 10 people in New York and 20 in Los Angeles will screen the nine films and narrow the choices to the final five nominees (last year's committee members included Ryan Gosling, Jonathan Demme, Thelma Schoonmaker and Mira Sorvino). The nominees will be announced with all the other nominations at 8:30am EST, Tuesday, January 25. 

Complete shortlist for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award 

Hors la Loi (
Outside the Law), directed by Rachid Bouchareb 

Incendies, directed by Denis Villeneuve 

Hævnen (In a Better World), directed by Susanne Bier

Kokuhaku (Confessions), directed by Tetsuya Nakashima

Biutiful, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu

South Africa
Life, Above All, directed by Oliver Schmitz 

Tambien la Lluvia (Even The Rain), directed by Iciar Bollain

I rymden finns inga känslo (Simple Simon), directed by Andreas Ohman

1 comment:

  1. I’m happy to read that South Africa’s film, Life Above All, is on the shortlist this year. I saw their submission for last year’s best foreign film, White Wedding, and loved it. I think it is a hilarious approach to a buddy flick and its feel-good tone is unmatched in foreign films. I can’t wait for it to come out on DVD next week.