The Spanish Film Academy hasselected three finalists for its nomination to the foreign-language Oscar,including Montxo Armendariz's Obaba, which inaugurated the 53rd Donosita-San Sebastian International FilmFestival on Thursday night.

The other two finalists areJose Luis Garci's theatre adaptation Ninette and Fernando Leon's prostitute drama Princesas.

The Academy, which createdthe two-tiered selection four years ago to give additional films a marketingboost, will unveil its official submission on September 29.

Oria Films' Obaba is likely to benefit most from Friday's nominationas Alta Films opensthe filmthe same day across Spain on the backofSan Sebastian coverage. Thedrama, an adaptation of a prize-winngbook set in the Basque Country,received solid praise from Spanish criticsin Friday's press.

The veteran Garci is aregular: he has been nominated out of Spain a half a dozen times and won theOscar in 1982 for To Begin Again (Volver A Empezar). Ninette, which Garci produced through his Nickel Odeon Dos,has been on release through DeA Planeta for five weeks and has earned justunder Euros 2m at the box office.

Leon earned Spain'snomination in 2002 for Javier Bardem-starrer Mondays In The Sun (Los LunesAl Sol), which also won the GoldenShell award at San Sebastian that year. Princesas, a co-production of MediaPro and Leon's own ReposadoPC, opened in Spain two weeks again through Warner Sogefilms and is doingstrong business, with almost Euros 2.2m earned.