'Amour,' 'Intouchables' among nine remaining contenders
The nine films to qualify for the shortlist for the next foreign-language film Oscar have been named by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.Michael Haneke’s ”Amour” (the official submission of Austria) and ”The Intouchables” from Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano (France) are two of the most prominent films in a group that also includes Pablo Larrain’s ”No” (Chile), Cristian Mungiu’s ”Beyond the Hills” (Romania) and Ursula Meier’s ”Sister” (Switzerland). ”Kon-Tiki” (Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandbergs, Norway), ”A Royal Affair” (Nikolaj Arcel, Denmark), ”The Deep” (Baltasar Kormakur, Iceland) and ”War Witch” (Kim Nguyen, Canada) round out the list of semifinalists, from which five final contenders will be announced Jan. 10 with the rest of the Academy Award nominations. Specially invited committees in New York and Los Angeles will watch three films per day from Jan. 4-6 before casting their ballots for the five nominees. Six of the films on the foreign-language shortlist were chosen by participating voters on the basis of an average point score on a 10-point scale. The remaining three films were chosen by an executive committee tasked with ensuring highly regarded contenders didn’t fall through the cracks. This year, the Academy had to narrow down a record 71 official submissions amid unprecedented deadlines. Asghar Farhadi’s ”A Separation” won the most recent foreign-language Oscar. The country submitting the film, Iran, did not enter the Oscars this year in protest of the controversial anti-Islam video ”Innocence of Muslims” that originated in the U.S. ”Amour” has been named the top foreign-language film of the year by more than 10 critics groups and was nominated for a Golden Globe alongside ”The Intouchables,” ”Kon-Tiki,” ”A Royal Affair” and ”Rust and Bone.” The latter was not eligible for an Oscar in the category.