Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Oscar's Foreign Language Film shortlist of 9 films

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released its shortlist for the Best Foreign Language Film category. The list whittled the list of 63 submissions down to nine. It will be reduced further to five nominees to be announced with all the other nominations.

Canada's Monsieur Lazhar by Philippe Falardeau made the list. It has won numerous awards so far and has a good chance to make the list of five nominees. Last year, Incendies made the nominees list but did not win. Canada's only win for Best Foreign Language Film was Denys Arcand's Les Invasions barbares (The Barbarian Invasions).

Wim Wenders's superb dance film Pina from Germany also made the list. It is also on the shortlist of films in the Best Documentary category. It could become the first film to be nominated in both categories. It is one of the greatest films ever made on another art form and has some of the best use of 3-D ever - not flashy but discreet, giving a sense of presence, intimacy and space without drawing attention to itself.

The clear favourite in this category though has to be A Separation by Asghar Farhadi. It was named top film of the year by Roger Ebert and I wholeheartedly agree with him. It is an exceptional accomplishment and frankly should compete for Best Picture.

Sadly, only one Asian film film made the cut. Wei Te-sheng's sprawling 4-and-a-half hour epic Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale is a nice surprise to see here. It's a kind of Braveheart story that portrays an uprising by the Taiwan aboriginal population against the colonial Japanese.

Many had expected the Mainland Chinese epic Flowers of War instead. It stars Christian Bale and depicts the historical incident known as "the Rape of Nanking," again by the Japanese.

Also among the omissions are Nadine Labaki’s Where Do We Go Now? (winner of TIFF's Audience Award), Aki Kaurismaki’s Le Havre, Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Karl Markovics Atmen (Breathing), Agusti Villaronga's Pa negre (Black Bread), and Gerardo Naranjo's Miss Bala.

The nominations for the 84th Academy Awards will be announced Tuesday, January 24, at 8:30 a.m. ET.


9 Foreign Language Films Vie for Oscar®

Beverly Hills, CA (January 18, 2012) – Nine films will advance to the next round of voting in the Foreign Language Film category for the 84th Academy Awards®. Sixty-three films had originally qualified in the category.

The films, listed in alphabetical order by country, are:

  • Belgium, Bullhead, Michael R. Roskam, director

  • Canada, Monsieur Lazhar, Philippe Falardeau, director

  • Denmark, Superclásico, Ole Christian Madsen, director

  • Germany, Pina, Wim Wenders, director

  • Iran, A Separation, Asghar Farhadi, director

  • Israel, Footnote, Joseph Cedar, director

  • Morocco, Omar Killed Me, Roschdy Zem, director

  • Poland, In Darkness, Agnieszka Holland, director

  • Taiwan, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale, Wei Te-sheng, director

  • Foreign Language Film nominations for 2011 are again being determined in two phases.

    The Phase I committee, consisting of several hundred Los Angeles-based members, screened the 63 eligible films between mid-October and January 13. The group’s top six choices, augmented by three additional selections voted by the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee, constitute the shortlist.

    The shortlist will be winnowed down to the five nominees by specially invited committees in New York and Los Angeles. They will spend Friday, January 20, through Sunday, January 22, viewing three films each day and then casting their ballots.

    The 84th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 24, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

    Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, February 26, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar® presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries worldwide.

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