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Austria, Switzerland make Oscar choices

Both go for first-time filmmakers

Debut features are repping Austria and Switzerland in their bids for foreign Oscar nominations.

“La pivellina,” by documentary filmmaking duo Rainer Frimmel and Tizza Covi, has been selected as Austria’s entry, while Switzerland’s hopes are riding on Stephanie Chuat and Veronique Reymond’s “La petite chambre” (The Small Room).

Selected by Austria’s 10-member jury of filmmakers and film industry reps, “La pivellina” revolves around a two-year-old girl found by a circus worker living on the outskirts of Rome. Pic won the Europa Cinemas Label prize in Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight last year.

” ‘La Pivellina’ is a film that tells a powerful and sensitive story about a reality on the outskirts of society,” the jury said, adding that the “documentarian accuracy” of the film made it “spectacularly genuine and human.”

“The Small Room,” which screened in competition in Locarno, was chosen by a special jury at Switzerland’s Federal Office for Culture and by audiences at the Delemont-Hollywood film festival in Delemont. The pic centers on an ailing old man (Michel Bouquet) who fiercely objects to being put in a retirement home and the young nurse (Florence Loiret Caille) who stands up to him.

Nominations will be announced on Jan. 25. The 83rd Academy Awards will be held at the Kodak Theater on Feb. 27.

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