'Christmas' among foreign competitors; 'Penguins' in docu category

PARIS — French films get a fair showing among the Oscar nominations, leading with Christian Carion’s “Merry Christmas” nominated in the best foreign film category, and “The March of the Penguins,” which grossed a record $78 million at the U.S. box office, up for best docu.

Christian Carion, whose “Merry Christmas” to be released in the U.S. in March, was his sophomore effort, said after the noms were announced:

“It feels good! It makes me happy for lots of reasons.”

“This film was made to show that soldiers fraternized at Christmas 1914. This nomination is a tribute to those people,” he said, adding he would be attending the Academy awards ceremony.

Reacting to the nom for “‘The March of the Penguins,” international sales agent Vincent Maraval, of Paris-based Wild Bunch, told Daily Variety. “We’re very happy. We campaigned for it to be selected in this category.”

He added: “It has been a success all over the world, even in the UK where people are used to watching documentaries on the BBC, not in the cinema.”

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