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Academy Narrows Foreign Language Oscar Race To Nine Films

Academy Narrows Foreign Language Oscar Race To Nine Films

The Academy delivered yet another controversial shortlist for the Foreign Language Film category this morning. Nine films will advance to the next round of voting in the category, many of them unexpected.

While Iran’s “A Separation,” Canada’s “Monsieur Lazhar,” Israel’s “Footnotes” and Poland’s “In Darkness” all found expected places on the list (though there’s really no such thing when it comes to this category), they were joined by a few films that had more shaky chances: Germany’s “Pina,” Belgium’s “Bullhead,” Morocco’s “Omar Killed Me” and Denmark’s “Superclasico.”

Though the most surprising inclusion is Taiwan’s 276-minute action epic “Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale,” which one suspects may have been one of the two films the committee bumped into the shortlist as per the same rule that likely got “Dogtooth” on the list last year (and led it to a nomination).

As for the major omissions, France’s “Declaration of War,” Finland’s “Le Havre,” Mexico’s “Miss Bala” and Lebanon’s “Where Do We Go Now?” were probably the ones that caught people the most off guard.

The films, listed in alphabetical order by country, are listed below. More commentary to come.

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.

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