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Academy unveils foreign-language shortlist

Nine films will advance to the next round of voting from a pool of 71. Germany’s Barbara and Spain’s Blancanieves fail to make the cut.

The films in alphabetical order by country are:

Austria – Amour, dir Michael Haneke;
Canada – War Witch, dir Kim Nguyen;
Chile – No, dir Pablo Larraín;
Denmark – A Royal Affair, dir Nikolaj Arcel;
France – Intouchables, dirs Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano;
Iceland – The Deep, dir Baltasar Kormákur;
Norway – Kon-Tiki, dirs. Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg;
Romania – Beyond The Hills, dir Cristian Mungiu; and
Switzerland – Sister, dir Ursula Meier.

The Phase I committee comprising several hundred Los Angeles-based members screened the 71 eligible films between mid-October and Dec 17.

The group’s top six choices, augmented by three selections chosen by the Academy’s foreign language film award executive committee, constitute the shortlist.

Specially invited committees in New York and Los Angeles will view three films each day on Jan 4-6 and vote on five nominees.

Academy top brass will announce their nominations on Jan 10 ahead of the 85th Academy Awards on Feb 24.

Reviews

A Royal Affair - “A richly satisfying affair which tells an extraordinary true story of political change and royal intrigue with impeccable production values, charismatic actors and gorgeous gowns and wigs”

Amour - “It is a sober, rigorous piece, and a magnificent collaboration with two veteran actors, Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant”

Beyond The Hills - “Spare, unadorned and strikingly shot, Cristian Mungiu’s film is an unusual rendering of a Romanian exorcism case and is bound to split both audience and critical opinions”

Intouchables - “A slickly made French comedy that hits all the right beats despite some troublingly glib social assertions”

Kon-Tiki - “Earnest, stodgy, impressively mounted but a little too enamoured with its own importance to cut very deeply”

No - “Well received at its Quinzaine debut, No nevertheless has identity problems that compound its visual misfire”

Sister - “Despite some script ingenuities this is a tough and tender drama held together by its unwavering, sympathetic focus”

The Deep - “Although rooted in tragedy, the film’s gorgeous, nearly monochromatic visuals, haunting sounds of nature at its cruellest, and rare, appealingly anti-heroic storyline should entice a large chunk of viewers”

War Witch - “A festival item per excellence, it is bound to travel around the world, but selling it to paying audiences may not be an easy task”

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