'A Prophet,' 'Involuntary' among Oscar hopefuls
France, Sweden, Finland and South Africa have chosen pics for consideration for an Oscar nomination in the foreign-language category.Helmer Jacques Audiard’s prison thriller “A Prophet” is the Gallic hopeful. Pic won the grand jury prize in Cannes and is screening at the Toronto Film Festival in the Masters category. It was produced by Why Not Films and co-produced by Celluloid Dreams, which also handles international sales. In the U.S., Sony Pictures Classics plans a one-week limited run in December, followed by a wider release early next year. Pic was tapped by a committee that included Cannes fest topper Thierry Fremaux, Cesar Academy prexy Alain Terzian, thesp Jeanne Moreau and helmers Jean-Jacques Annaud, Costa-Gavras and Regis Wargnier. Dark comedy “Involuntary,” helmed by Ruben Ostlund, is Sweden’s contender. Pic world preemed in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard and went on to win a slew of awards at European film fests. “Letters to Father Jacob,” helmed by Klaus Haro, is Finland’s entry. Pic, about a female killer who is paroled on condition that she serves as an assistant to a blind country pastor, was produced by Kinotar. International sales are handled by Film Sharks. Helmer Jann Turner’s “White Wedding,” exec produced by author Ken Follett (Turner’s stepfather), will represent South Africa. Road comedy was produced by Stepping Stone Pictures in Zulu, Afrikaans, Xhosa and English languages. International sales are handled by Portobello/Fandango. Pic was chosen by the South African Academy Award Selection Committee and the National Film and Video Foundation. The closing date for submissions to the foreign-language category is Oct. 1. Nominations will be announced Feb. 2, and the Academy Awards take place on March 7.