Jose Luis Garci was nominated this week for the sixth time to represent Spain in the foreign-language category of the Academy Awards with his latest film, the black-and-white You're The One.
The Garci nomination came as a surprise in some corners: in 1999 a scandal erupted when Garci was accused of buying votes from the Spanish Cinema Academy for the nomination to the Goyas (Spain's Oscars) of his film The Grandfather (El Abuelo). The scandal subsided, Garci was cleared and Grandfather was nominated and made it into the final five of the US Academy Awards.
The Garci nomination is a conservative choice by Spain's Academy, particularly following the Oscar win last year of the anything-but-conservative All About My Mother (Todo Sobre Mi Madre).
The Academy appears to be banking on the previous success of Garci at the Oscars: four of his five previously nominated films were chosen by Hollywood to compete in the final competition. He took home the Oscar for his 1982 film Begin The Beguine (Volver A Empezar), becoming the first Spaniard to win an Academy Award. He was followed in 1993 by Fernando Trueba for Belle Epoque and last year by Pedro Almodovar's Mother.
You're The One opened on a limited release last Friday to good reviews. Despite the English-language title, the post-Civil War drama about a woman's emotional crisis was shot in Spanish with stars Lydia Bosch and Ana Fernandez. Garci, a cinephile who hosts a weekly roundtable TV show dedicated to film, calls One an homage to Hollywood movies of the 1930's and 1940's.
Meanwhile, A Taste Of Others (Le Gout Des Autres), a first film by actress-scriptwriter Agnes Jaoui (Same Old Song), has been selected as France's candidate for the foreign-language Oscar nominations. The comedy, which stars Jean-Pierre Bacri (who also co-wrote the script with Jaoui), Alain Chabat and Gerard Lanvin, was released in France by Pathe Distribution in March, attracting 3.5 million admissions and currently ranking sixth among the top ten films of 2000. Pathe International is handling foreign sales on the title, which has been sold to Artistic License in the US.
Elsewhere in Europe, Denmark has selected Kaspar Rostrup's A Place Nearby (Her I Naerheden). The film is based on a short story by acclaimed author Martha Christensen and produced by Tina Dalhoff for major Nordisk Film Productions. Norway's choice is Stein Leikanger's Odd Little Man, about the childhood memories of Norwegian humorist, writer and singer Odd Borretzen, and the Netherlands has chosen Maria Peters' Kruimeltje, about a homeless 10-year-old child.
French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve's Maelstrom, being handled internationally by Alliance Atlantis Pictures International, has been selected as Canada's entry marking the second time Villeneuve has been thus honoured. His first feature, 32 August On Earth was selected in the same category in 1998. Maelstrom, produced by Roger Frappier and Luc Vandal of Montreal's Max Films, has won honours at both the Montreal and Toronto film festivals.
These join previously announced selections listed below:
CANADA: Maelstrom (Denis Villeneuve)
CROATIA Marshal Tito's Spirit (Vinko Bresan)
DENMARK: A Place Nearby (Kaspar Rostrup)
FRANCE: The Taste Of Others (Agnes Jaoui)
GERMANY: No Place To Go (Oskar Roehler)
HONG KONG: In The Mood For Love (Wong Kar-wai)
IRAN: A Time For Drunken Horses (Bahman Ghobadi)
MOROCCO: Ali Zaoua (Nabil Ayouch)
NETHERLANDS: Kruimeltje (Maria Peters)
NORWAY: Odd Little Man (Stein Leikanger)
POLAND: Life As A Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease (Krzysztof Zanussi)
SERBIA: Sky Hook (Ljubisa Samardzic)
SPAIN: You're The One (Jose Luis Garci)
VENEZUELA: Devil Gold (Jose Ramon Novoa)