Topper talks about Michael Haneke's multi-nominated pic

‘Lincoln’ tops Oscar noms with 12 |

The nominations | The scorecard | Reactions to the nominations

Sony Pictures Classics topper Michael Barker watched the Oscar noms announcement from the American Airlines lounge at JFK airport in New York. With “Amour” earning a spot in the best picture race as well as foreign language, he had reason to smile.

“The last time we had a foreign film nominated for best picture and foreign language (film) was ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.’ We’re thrilled for Michael Haneke, this is a major moment for his career,” he said. “The five nominations for ‘Amour’ give it a great boost at the box office and it’s a movie like this that really benefits from an Oscar nomination. This is proof that Academy members do go out of their way to see all of the films that are quality.”

However, it wasn’t all roses for Barker, who was “devastated that Marion Cotillard wasn’t nominated for best actress (for ‘Rust and Bone’). For us, that was one of the great performances of the last decade so we’re really floored by it. Otherwise, it’s an incredible morning for us between ‘Amour,’ ‘The Gatekeepers,’ ‘No’ and ‘Searching For Sugar Man.’ I think the nomination for Pablo Larrain’s ‘No’ (for foreign language) is the first ever from Chile.”

As for the rest of the field, Barker said the best pic race reps a “diverse slate” of pics revolving around “big ideas that were global and had depth.” But he was shaking his head about “Zero Dark Thirty’s” Kathryn Bigelow being left out of the director race. “That’s incomprehensible to me,” he said.

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