Academy Reveals the 2010 Foreign Language Shortlist

This morning the Academy revealed the nine films still in contention for the 2010 Foreign Language Oscar out of the sixty-five films originally submitted.

The films, listed in alphabetical order by country, are:

  • Argentina, El Secreto de Sus Ojos, Juan Jose Campanella, director
  • Australia, Samson & Delilah, Warwick Thornton, director
  • Bulgaria, The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks around the Corner, Stephan Komandarev, director
  • France, Un Prophète, Jacques Audiard, director
  • Germany, The White Ribbon, Michael Haneke, director
  • Israel, Ajami, Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani, directors;
  • Kazakhstan, Kelin, Ermek Tursunov, director
  • The Netherlands, Winter in Wartime, Martin Koolhoven, director
  • Peru, The Milk of Sorrow, Claudia Llosa, director.

Of the bunch I have only seen A Prophet and The White Ribbon and both made my Top Ten of 2009 and A Prophet was actually my #1 film of last year. Both of these films will be nominated as the above nine films will be winnowed down to the five nominees by specially invited committees in New York and Los Angeles. They will spend Friday, January 29, through Sunday, January 31, viewing three films each day and then casting their ballots.

The nine films above were selected by the Phase I committee, consisting of several hundred Los Angeles-based members, who screened the 65 eligible films between mid-October and January 16. The group’s top six choices, augmented by three additional selections voted by the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee, constitute the shortlist.

Which of the nine were selected by the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee? I have not seen the other six so I can’t speak to their quality or even begin to guess, but I think it shows a gaping flaw in the voting process, which only gets wider when you consider the group voting for the final five nominees won’t even screen all nine films. They can only be bothered to screen three each.

It’s also funny to see late year kudos and nominations going to films such as Pedro Almodovar’s Broken Embraces, Sebastian Silva’s domestic servant drama The Maid, Oliver Assayas’ Summer Hours and Cary Fukunaga’s Sin Nombre. None of these films were even up for consideration.

So while this year may see one of my favorites of 2009 go home with an Oscar (The White Ribbon is a heavy odds on favorite), I never feel this is a category representative of its name… at least not wholly.

I have updated the Foreign Language section of The Contenders to include the nine short-listed films followed by the 65 films that were submitted for consideration. You can check that out by clicking here.


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