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Oscar Picks of 65 Films Submitted for Foreign Film Contention

Oscar Picks of 65 Films Submitted for Foreign Film Contention

65 countries are competing for the 2009 foreign language film Oscar. The Academy has released the official list, which is on the jump.

Of those 65 films, only five will make it through the foreign branch, which culls through them all. They start looking at the films this Friday. My picks for possible finalists, based on what I know or have seen are below. But remember, this category is always full of surprises. I hear the Norwegian movie is a sleeper.

France has earned the most foreign nominations over the years, so Jacques Audiard’s fest fave A Prophet (SPC) has a good shot. It’s timely, tough, hard-hitting, political.

Michael Haneke’s Bergmanesque White Ribbon (SPC) with its not-to-subtle pre-holocaust message, should play well.

There’s good word on Canada’s French-language I Killed My Mother, directed by Xavier Dolan, although gay subject matter doesn’t always go over.

Chen Kaige’s Farewell My Concubine was nominated in 1993, so his return to the opera with China’s submission Forever Enthralled, starring Zhang Yiyi, should be a contender.

[Photos: White Ribbon, Baaria]

Fredell Pogodin, who has an excellent track record with the foreign branch, will be representing Giuseppe Tornatore’s autobiographical epic Baaria set in his hometown in Sicily. Tornatore won the Oscar for Cinema Paradiso and was nominated for The Starmaker.

Denmark’s droll film noir Terribly Happy (Oscilloscope) has already inspired a planned U.S. remake.

India’s Harishchandrachi Factory is about the birth of Indian cinema.

Israel’s Ajami (Kino International) was directed by an Israeli and a Palestinian and won five Ophir awards, beating out Venice Golden Lion winner Lebanon.

Korea’s Mother (Magnolia), directed Joon-ho Bong, has played well on the fest circuit.

Romania, which has never had a film nominated, has submitted Cannes hit Police, Adjective (IFC), directed by Corneliu Prumboiu. The foreign voters neglected to nominate Cristian Mungiu’s critically hailed Four Months, Three Weeks, Two Days , which partly inspired the Academy to change the nomination rules, adding a selection committee to the final voting process.

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. The Oscar show will air live on ABC on Sunday, March 7, 2010, from the Kodak Theatre.

The official list of 65 submissions by country:

Albania, “Alive!,” Artan Minarolli, director;
Argentina, “El Secreto de Sus Ojos,” Juan Jose Campanella, director;
Armenia, “Autumn of the Magician,” Rouben Kevorkov and Vaheh Kevorkov, directors;
Australia, “Samson & Delilah,” Warwick Thornton, director;
Austria, “For a Moment Freedom,” Arash T. Riahi, director;
Bangladesh, “Beyond the Circle,” Golam Rabbany Biplob, director;
Belgium, “The Misfortunates,” Felix van Groeningen, director;
Bolivia, “Zona Sur,” Juan Carlos Valdivia, director;
Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Nightguards,” Namik Kabil, director;
Brazil, “Time of Fear,” Sergio Rezende, director;
Bulgaria, “The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks around the Corner,” Stephan Komandarev, director;
Canada, “I Killed My Mother,” Xavier Dolan, director;
Chile, “Dawson, Isla 10,” Miguel Littin, director;
China, “Forever Enthralled,” Chen Kaige, director;
Colombia, “The Wind Journeys,” Ciro Guerra, director;
Croatia, “Donkey,” Antonio Nuic, director;
Cuba, “Fallen Gods,” Ernesto Daranas, director;
Czech Republic, “Protektor,” Marek Najbrt, director;
Denmark, “Terribly Happy,” Henrik Ruben Genz, director;
Estonia, “December Heat,” Asko Kase, director;
Finland, “Letters to Father Jacob,” Klaus Haro, director;
France, “Un Prophete,” Jacques Audiard, director;
Georgia, “The Other Bank,” George Ovashvili, director;
Germany, “The White Ribbon,” Michael Haneke, director;
Greece, “Slaves in Their Bonds,” Tony Lykouressis, director;
Hong Kong, “Prince of Tears,” Yonfan, director;
Hungary, “Chameleon,” Krisztina Goda, director;
Iceland, “Reykjavik-Rotterdam,” Oskar Jonasson, director;
India, “Harishchandrachi Factory,” Paresh Mokashi, director;
Indonesia, “Jamila and the President,” Ratna Sarumpaet;
Iran, “About Elly,” Asghar Farhadi, director;
Israel, “Ajami,” Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani, director;
Italy, “Baaria,” Giuseppe Tornatore, director;
Japan, “Nobody to Watch over Me,” Ryoichi Kimizuka, director;
Kazakhstan, “Kelin,” Ermek Tursunov, director;
Korea, “Mother,” Joon-ho Bong, director;
Lithuania, “Vortex,” Gytis Luksas, director;
Luxembourg, “Refractaire,” Nicolas Steil, director;
Macedonia, “Wingless,” Ivo Trajkov, director;
Mexico, “Backyard,” Carlos Carrera, director;
Morocco, “Casanegra,” Nour-Eddine Lakhmari, director;
The Netherlands, “Winter in Wartime,” Martin Koolhoven, director;
Norway, “Max Manus,” Espen Sandberg and Joachim Roenning, directors;
Peru, “The Milk of Sorrow,” Claudia Llosa, director;
Philippines, “Grandpa Is Dead,” Soxie H. Topacio, director;
Poland, “Reverse,” Borys Lankosz, director;
Portugal, “Doomed Love,” Mario Barroso, director;
Puerto Rico, “Kabo and Platon,” Edmundo H. Rodriguez, director;
Romania, “Police, Adjective,” Corneliu Porumboiu, director;
Russia, “Ward No. 6,” Karen Shakhnazarov, director;
Serbia, “St. George Shoots the Dragon,” Srdjan Dragojevic, director;
Slovakia, “Broken Promise,” Jiri Chlumsky, director;
Slovenia, “Landscape No. 2,” Vinko Moderndorfer, director;
South Africa, “White Wedding,” Jann Turner, director;
Spain, “The Dancer and the Thief,” Fernando Trueba, director;
Sri Lanka, “The Road from Elephant Pass,” Chandran Rutnam;
Sweden, “Involuntary,” Ruben Ostlund, director;
Switzerland, “Home,” Ursula Meier, director;
Taiwan, “No Puedo Vivir sin Ti,” Leon Dai, director;
Thailand, “Best of Times,” Yongyoot Thongkongtoon, director;
Turkey, “I Saw the Sun,” Mahsun Kirmizigul, director;
United Kingdom, “Afghan Star,” Havana Marking, director;
Uruguay, “Bad Day for Fishing,” Alvaro Brechner, director;
Venezuela, “Libertador Morales, El Justiciero,” Efterpi Charalambidis, director;
Vietnam, “Don’t Burn It,” Dang Nhat Minh.

[Photo: A Prophet]

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