Last weekend, I profiled 15 films that were generating the most buzz ahead of the compilation of the Academy’s shortlist for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar category. All nine of the films shortlisted by the Academy today appeared on that list, so while not entirely predictable, the Phase I and Executive Committee’s choices were also not a complete surprise. There’s good news for Cristian Mungiu, the Romanian director whose exclusion from the shortlist in 2008 for his lauded 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days caused widespread consternation. He’s here with Beyond The Hills, the film that took a double best actress prize in Cannes as well as the screenplay honor. The Weinstein Company is facing off against itself, with Norway’s seafaring adventure Kon-Tiki and France’s box office blockbuster The Intouchables advancing to the next round. Sony Pictues Classics has the same issue with Chile’s Pinochet-era No and Michael Haneke’s love story Amour from Austria. Haneke is the only director among the bunch to be nominated in the category (with 2009’s White Ribbon).
Focus World has Baltasar Kormakur’s The Deep, based on the true story of the sole survivor of a 1984 fishing boat accident. Also based on a true story, A Royal Affair (Magnolia Pictures) chronicles the controversial reign of Denmark’s King Christian VII. That film started its career in Berlin as did Ursula Meier’s Sister, the Swiss entry about family and belonging that Adopt Films released in the U.S. Finally, Canada’s War Witch about a young girl in wartorn sub-Saharan Africa, was also a Berlin debut. Tribeca Film has it in the U.S.
The list will be shortened again to five nominees for the official Oscar nominations January 10. Here’s the Academy’s official release this morning:
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Nine films will advance to the next round of voting in the Foreign Language Film category for the 85th Academy Awards®. Seventy-one films had originally qualified in the category.
The films, listed in alphabetical order by country, are:
Austria, “Amour,” Michael Haneke, director;
Canada, “War Witch,” Kim Nguyen, director;
Chile, “No,” Pablo Larraín, director;
Denmark, “A Royal Affair,” Nikolaj Arcel, director;
France, “The Intouchables,” Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, directors;
Iceland, “The Deep,” Baltasar Kormákur, director;
Norway, “Kon-Tiki,” Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, directors;
Romania, “Beyond the Hills,” Cristian Mungiu, director;
Switzerland, “Sister,” Ursula Meier, director.
Foreign Language Film nominations for 2012 are again being determined in two phases.
The Phase I committee, consisting of several hundred Los Angeles-based members, screened the 71 eligible films between mid-October and December 17. 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 4, through Sunday, January 6, viewing three films each day and then casting their ballots.
The 85th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 10, 2013, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.