Nine top Oscar’s foreign-film shortlist

Sixty-five films originally qualified in the category

Cannes’ top prizewinners “The White Ribbon” and “A Prophet,” as well as Peru’s Golden Bear winner, “The Milk of Sorrow,” are among the nine films chosen to advance in the foreign-language film Oscar race.

The Secret in Their Eyes” (Argentina), “Samson and Delilah” (Australia), “The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner” (Bulgaria), “Ajami” (Israel), “Kelin” (Kazakhstan) and “Winter in Wartime” (the Netherlands) round out the shortlist culled from the 65 films deemed eligible by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Neither Bulgaria nor Peru has ever seen one of its submissions nominated for the foreign-lingo Oscar. Kazakhstan received its first Oscar nomination for 2007’s “Mongol.”

Germany’s “White Ribbon” took the Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes, and it earned the Golden Globe on Sunday for foreign-language film. Gallic contender “A Prophet” won the Grand Prix also at last year’s Cannes.

Among the high-profile entries missing from the Oscar shortlist are Romania’s “Police, Adjective,” South Korea’s “Mother,” Italy’s “Baaria” and Canada’s “I Killed My Mother.”

In recent years, the foreign-language film branch has drawn severe criticism for notable omissions from the Oscar race — chiefly 2008’s Italian entry “Gomorrah” and 2007’s “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” from Romania despite reforms to the selection process by Acad foreign-language film chair Mark Johnson.

Shortlist consists of six films chosen by a Los Angeles-based panel of several hundred members, plus three additional selections picked by the Acad’s foreign-language film award executive committee.

The shortlist will be narrowed down to the five nominees by committees in New York and Los Angeles. Nominees will be announced Feb. 2 at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

The Academy Awards will be handed out March 7 at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.

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