The Academy foreign branch have selected nine features out of 80 eligible submissions to compete for the final five slots announced on nominations morning January 14th.
The Phase I committee consists of a few hundred Los Angeles-based Academy members from different branches, who signed in for screenings between mid-October and December 14. The group’s top six choices were augmented by three selections voted on by producer’s branch member and veteran foreign film czar Mark Johnson’s hand-picked Executive Committee. He believes strongly that it’s necessary to make sure that worthy films are not left out of consideration.
The films, listed in alphabetical order by country, are:
Belgium, “The Brand New Testament,” Jaco Van Dormael, director;
Colombia, “Embrace of the Serpent,” Ciro Guerra, director;
Denmark, “A War,” Tobias Lindholm, director;
Finland, “The Fencer,” Klaus Härö, director;
France, “Mustang,” Deniz Gamze Ergüven, director;
Germany, “Labyrinth of Lies,” Giulio Ricciarelli, director;
Hungary, “Son of Saul,” László Nemes, director;
Ireland, “Viva,” Paddy Breathnach, director;
Jordan, “Theeb,” Naji Abu Nowar, director.
The shortlist will be cut down to the category’s five nominees by Johnson’s invited committees in New York, Los Angeles and London. They will spend Friday, January 8, through Sunday, January 10, viewing three films each day and then casting their ballots.