Michael Haneke’s multi-award-winning Amour will not figure in the nominations for this year’s Austrian Film Awards after the director decided not to submit the film for consideration by the members of the Austrian Film Academy (AFA).

According to AFA managing director Marlene Ropac, Haneke’s action has been considered “a very noble gesture” by his film industry colleagues.

She told ScreenDaily that Amour could not be submitted for the Best Feature Film category since it did not meet the Academy’s guidelines for qualifying as an Austrian film (ie. an Austrian certificate of origin, delegate producer, shooting language,  decision, and criteria of significant Austrian cultural influence).

“However, there is the possibility to submit films with several Austrian categories,” Ropac explained.

“We naturally suggested this to Haneke and asked him to submit in the categories of direction, screenplay and editing (Mona Wille), but he decided against this.”

In a letter to the AFA on Haneke’s behalf, the director’s long-standing producer Veit Heiduschka of Wega-Film explained: “[Haneke] is of the opinion that the Austrian Film Awards will help other Austrian directors realise future films more than would be the case with him.

“Without vilifying the Austrian Film Awards, he refers to the fact that he has already been honoured internationally for this film, and another Austrian film should have the chance to be honoured by the Austrian Film Award.”

Last month, Amour – which has been shortlisted by AMPAS for the Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film category - was named “the best international film of 2012” by the Swiss Film Critics Association SVFJ and picked up top prizes at the European Film Awards.

In total, 40 Austrian features - 15 fiction and 25 documentaries - and 16 short films have been nominated in 14 categories for the awards, which will be presented in the ceremonial hall of Vienna’s Rathaus on Jan 23.

The first part of Ulrich Seidl’s Paradise trilogy, Paradise: Love, which had its world premiere in the Cannes Official Competition, attracted six nominations for Best Feature Film, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Production Design.

But the highest number of nominations went to Florian Flicker’s Grenzgänger which picked up seven nominations for Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Score, and Best Film Editing. The Prisma Film production had its world premiere at the Sarajevo Film Festival last July where it won the CICAE Award.

The other film nominated in the Best Feature Film category was Julian Roman Pölsler’s The Wall (Die Wand) which also garnered another four nominations, including Best Actress for Germany’s Martina Gedeck.

In addition, films directed by Barbara Albert (Die Lebenden), Umut Dag (Kuma), Hüseyin Tabak (Das Pferd auf dem Balkon) and Markus Imhoof (More Than Honey) are in the running for one or more awards.

The third edition of the Austrian Film Awards is organised by the AFA, which was founded in 2009 “to promote and acknowledge the achievements of Austrian film makers, to share their concerns and communicate them to the general public.”

The Film Academy’s current presidents are actor-director Karl Markovics and filmmaker Barbara Albert. The membership now stands at around 280.

This year, in collaboration with national public broadcasters ORF and ORF3, the run-up to the awards ceremony will be accompanied by special programmes such as the first Long Night of Austrian Film and daily television programme Kultur Heute, with Markovics presenting a different award category every day for 14 days.