OSCARS: Nine Films Make Foreign Language Shortlist

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.

  1. So happy to see both NO and KON-TIKI made it to the next round. Both films are great and deserve this recognition. Good job Academy!

  2. Incredible list. Amour might win. Very film noir. The Intouchables too is incredible. I have seen it 4 times. The judges will have a rough time picking the best……

  3. Agreed, Kon-Tiki really is a great film, and unusual in scale for an indie. Really pleased to see it recognised and hope it makes the cut.

  4. KON TIKI?! Really? It has a great trailer, but the movie was less than stellar. There was hardly a plot or structure. When they FINALLY get on the boat, there are two small incidents, and then suddenly they find land. The end. The trip was so short and the conflicts so minor. The characters were never really pushed to the limits or tested so there’s no triumph of the human spirit or coming together to beat the odds, or anything uplifting like that.

  5. No Pieta, the top prize winner @ 2012 Venice Film Festival?! Exactly how f:ed up is the A word (as in a$$holes ?) ?

  6. Great to see such a diverse list. A Royal Affair is definitely a contender as is the Intouchables. Both very different so the Academy will have difficult decisions to make. Good luck all.

  7. My tips are France’s brilliant ‘Intouchables’ and ‘The Deep’ from Iceland. Yes, this last is a country in its own right and it’s made a movie! Yay! Go Iceland! I am also deeply, deeply saddened to see that Germany has again failed to make the list. When will the Academy recognize the genius that its filmmakers believe themselves to embody? I’ll get over it though.

  8. Who are these “experts” that are qualified to be members of the “specially invited committee?” And who is the “expert” who is qualified to make these picks?

  9. Upon knowing the nominees for the Foreign Language Film and being nominated in the main category, i will not be surprised it “Thy Womb” Brillante Mendozas film starring Philippines Superstar Ms. Nora Aunor will be nominated in the Oscars in next year race along with director Brillante. Hopefully they will submit the film, with the many accolades of the film this year. They may even win awards. Wanna bet? the film was a hit at Venice and Toronto and even won awards in the Asia Pacific Oscars counterpart.

  10. Upon knowing the nominees for the Foreign Language Film and being nominated in the main category, i will not be surprised if “Thy Womb” Brillante Mendozas film starring Philippines Superstar Ms. Nora Aunor will be nominated in the Oscars in next year race along with director Brillante. Hopefully they will submit the film, with the many accolades of the film this year. They may even win awards. Wanna bet? the film was a hit at Venice and Toronto and even won awards in the Asia Pacific Oscars counterpart.

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