A slew of countries have announced their choices for an Oscar foreign-language film nomination ahead of the Oct. 1 submission date.
They are Sweden, Romania, South Korea, Hungary, Venezuela, Taiwan, Japan, Peru and Poland.
First-time helmer Andreas Ohman’s youth drama “Simple Simon,” headlined by Bill Skarsgard, has been tapped as Sweden’s entry. Pic is the story of a young man suffering from Asperger’s syndrome.
Romania’s choice, “If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle,” is by another debut helmer, Florin Serban. The gritty drama about a juvenile delinquent won the Silver Bear at Berlin.
“A Barefoot Dream” is South Korea’s runner. Based on a true story, helmer Kim Tae-kyun’s pic centers on a retired Korean soccer player who goes to East Timor after his business fails and launches a youth soccer team.
“Bibliotheque Pascal,” helmer Szabolcs Hajdu’s tale of a woman forced into prostitution in the U.K. after leaving her young daughter with a fortune-telling aunt, is Hungary’s nomination. The film, which features Hajdu’s real-life wife and daughter and stars Romanian thesp Oana Pellea as the aunt, took the main prize at Hungary’s national film awards in January.
Venezuela has selected Marcel Rasquin’s feature debut “Hermanos” (Brothers). Set against the backdrop of a slum in Caracas, the pic tracks two brothers who aspire to become soccer pros.
Niu Cheng-tse’s violent and hugely popular gangster movie “Monga” will rep Taiwan. It replaces the original candidate, “Hear Me,” which was spiked as its release date was two months too early to be eligible to compete for the Oscar.
Tetsuya Nakashima’s “Confessions,” about a teacher out to avenge the murder of her baby, is Japan’s entry.
Peru has chosen Javier Fuentes-Leon’s “Contracorriente” (Undertow). Ghost story has won a string of festival awards including the Sundance 2010 World Cinema audience award.
Poland has chosen Jacket Borcuch’s “All That I Love.” A coming of age story set against the dramatic political upheavals in the early 1980s when striking dockyard workers sparked the Solidarity democracy movement and martial law was declared, the film tells the story of four teenagers who set up a punk rock band.
Nominations for the foreign-language Oscar will be announced Jan. 25. The 83rd Academy Awards will be held Feb. 27 at the Kodak Theater.
(Gunnar Rehlin in Stockholm, Nick Holdsworth in Moscow, Han Sunhee in Seoul, Anna Marie de la Fuente in Los Angeles, Clifford Coonan in Beijing and Mark Schilling in Tokyo contributed to this report.)