Michael Haneke's "The White Ribbon" and Jacques Audiard's "A Prophet" are among the nine films that will advance to the next round of voting in the Foreign Language Film category for the 82nd Academy Awards. Both films - along with Argentine entry "El Secreto de Sus Ojos" - are being released stateside by Sony Pictures Classics, so it must be great news for them.
Sixty-five films had originally qualified in the category. Among those that did not make the cut: Korea's "Mother," Canada's "I Killed My Mother," Italy's controversially selected "Baaria," Romania's "Police, Adjective," Norway's "Max Manus," and Finland's "Letters To Father Jacob."
The nominations for 2009 are again being determined in two phases. The Phase I committee, consisting of several hundred Los Angeles-based members, screened the 65 eligible films between mid-October and January 16. 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 29, through Sunday, January 31, viewing three films each day and then casting their ballots.
The shortlisted films, listed in alphabetical order by country, are:
Argentina, "El Secreto de Sus Ojos" Juan Jose Campanella, director
Australia, "Samson & Delilah" Warwick Thornton, director;
Bulgaria, "The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks around the Corner" Stephan Komandarev, director;
France, "Un Prophete" Jacques Audiard, director;
Germany, "The White Ribbon" Michael Haneke, director;
Israel, "Ajami" Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani, directors;
Kazakhstan, "Kelin" Ermek Tursunov, director;
The Netherlands, "Winter in Wartime" Martin Koolhoven, director;
Peru, "The Milk of Sorrow" Claudia Llosa, director.
The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 2, 2010, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater.