The foreign-language Oscar race hotted up yesterday as Jean-Pierre Jeunet's Le Fabuleux Destin D'Amelie Poulain aka Amelie was named the French submission for the Academy Award, ending speculation that other French films might deprive the phenomenal hit of its chance in the Hollywood spotlight.
The submission now gives US distributor Miramax Films the fuel it needs to mount an Oscar campaign which should not only include foreign language film but also director and actress (Audrey Tatou). Amelie, which had been spurned for selection at this year's Cannes Film Festival, went on to take over $45m at the domestic box office. Momentum Pictures is enjoying huge success with the film in the UK which has grossed over $3m in two weeks.
In a particularly rich year for French cinema, Amelie beat out other contenders including Laurent Cantet's Venice prize winner L'Emploi Du Temps (Time Out), Eric Rohmer's L'Anglaise Et Le Duc (The Lady And The Duke), Jacques Rivette's Va Savoir and Francis Veber's Le Placard (The Closet).
Meanwhile other candidates are also lining up against Amelie. Denmark has chosen popular Italian For Beginners which is another Miramax release in the US. The Czech Republic has opted for Jan Sverak's Dark Blue World which is partially in English and set for release by Sony Pictures Classics on Dec 28. Bosnia has not surprisingly opted for Danis Tanovic's No Man's Land - a Cannes prize-winner and enormous critical favourite which United Artists will release in the US.
Other countries which have submitted entries so far include Belgium (Pauline Et Paulette), Norway (Elling) and Germany (Das Experiment)
Spain has named three films which have been shortlisted for its submission: No News From God, Sex And Lucia and Juana La Loca. Finland will name its submission today and Sweden on Monday (Oct 29). Italy has set Nov 9 as the date for its announcement.