The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released the shortlist of nine films making it on to the next round in the race for the Oscar for best foreign-language film. Whittled down from 85 films in consideration, the shortlist will be narrowed to five when Oscar nominations are announced on Jan. 24.
In alphabetical order by country, the films are:
Australia, "Tanna," Bentley Dean, Martin Butler, directors;
Canada, "It's Only the End of the World," Xavier Dolan, director;
Denmark, "Land of Mine," Martin Zandvliet, director;
Germany, "Toni Erdmann," Maren Ade, director;
Iran, "The Salesman," Asghar Farhadi, director;
Norway, "The King's Choice," Erik Poppe, director;
Russia, "Paradise," Andrei Konchalovsky, director;
Sweden, "A Man Called Ove," Hannes Holm, director;
Switzerland, "My Life as a Zucchini," Claude Barras, director.
Among the films going through, Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won the Oscar in 2012 for his film "A Separation." Farhadi's "The Salesman" took two prizes at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
German entry "Toni Erdmann" recently swept with five top prizes at the European Film Awards and has been a strong presence among critics awards up to now, but did not receive any prizes when it premiered at Cannes earlier this year. The Canadian entry "It's Only the End of the World" took the 2nd place Grand Prix at Cannes. Norway's "Land of Mine" took three prizes at the European Film Awards.
As always in the category, there are many surprises among the films that did not make it to the shortlist. France's entry "Elle," directed by Paul Verhoeven," was nominated for the foreign-language Golden Globe earlier this week and saw its star Isabelle Huppert also nominated for a Globe for her performance. Chile's entry "Neruda" was also nominated for the Globe but failed to make the shortlist. "Neruda" filmmaker Pablo Larraín also made the recently released English-language film "Jackie," starring Natalie Portman.
Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, a two-time Oscar winner, also failed to make it through to the shortlist with his film "Julieta."
The shortlist is decided by a committee of several hundred Los Angeles-based Academy members following screenings between mid-October and Dec. 12. The group's top six choices, plus an additional three selections by an executive committee, make up the shortlist of nine. The final five nominees will be decided after committees in New York, Los Angeles and London screen the nine shortlisted films over Jan. 13-15.
The Academy Awards are Sunday, Feb. 26, in Hollywood.
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