Carlos Carrera's El Crimen Del Padre Amaro has been selected to represent Mexico at the Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film category.
The controversial priest scandal drama was widely anticipated to win the nomination given its critical acclaim and record-breaking success at the Mexican box office.
Diana Bracho, president of the Mexican Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences announced the decision Friday (October 18). Carrera is one of the 24 active members of the Academy, comprising local directors, actors and other film professionals.
El Crimen has been making the rounds of festivals and has screened at Toronto and San Sebastian. It opens in Chile on November 7th where it is likely to generate similar controversy to that which it generated in Mexico. Columbia Tri Star distributes the film worldwide with the exception of the U.S.
Samuel Goldwyn Films snapped up domestic rights immediately after its phenomenal weekend opening in Mexico in mid-August. It will platform release the drama on November 15th at select US cities. El Crimen is slated to debut in Spain on November 8th on a massive 250 prints, according to Ernesto Victoria of Columbia TriStar Spain.
As of September 30th, the drama has earned $15.5m (PESOS 155.2m) in Mexico, beating the previous record set by romantic comedy Sexo, Pudor Y Lagrimas (Sex, Shame and Tears) which earned $12.4m in 24 weeks - a figure which El Crimen reached in just under three.
The story of a young priest (played by Mexican heartthrob Gael Garcia Bernal) who has an affair with a young woman in a small parish ignited furious protests from various conservative/catholic groups in Mexico. All the free publicity only served to drive up the box office. Distributor Columbia TriStar Mexico released it on around 400 screens, unprecedented for a local film.