Oscars: Hungary, Bosnia, Croatia Enter Films for Foreign-Language Contest

The national submissions for the foreign-language film category of the 89th Academy Awards are mounting up with Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia among recent additions.

Hungary, which won the foreign-language film Oscar in February with “Son of Saul,” has entered “Kills on Wheels.” Attila Till’s darkly comic film, which made its international debut at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in July, blends reality and fantasy in a tale of a paralyzed firefighter and his two wheel-chair bound friends who offer to serve as hit men for local gangsters.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has selected “Death in Sarajevo” as its entry. Danis Tanovic’s darkly satirical film premiered in the main competition section of the Berlin Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize. The action takes place at a hotel in Sarajevo as European leaders gather for the centenary of the assassination in the city of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, an event that sparked World War I. Meanwhile the hotel’s bosses struggle to keep the staff from striking as the money runs out. Tanovic’s “No Man’s Land” won the foreign-language Oscar in 2002.

Croatia has chosen the taught psychological thriller “On the Other Side” as its Oscar candidate. Zrinko Ogresta’s movie, which played in Berlin’s Panorama section, features a bravura performance by Ksenija Marinkovic as a middle-aged Zagreb nurse, Vesna. Her husband, a war criminal, turns up out the blue 20 years after abandoning her, and the pic seeks answers to two questions, according to Variety’s reviewer: Is forgiveness possible? And is it ever possible to escape one’s past?

Other countries in Central and Eastern Europe to submit Oscar entries include Georgia with Rusudan Glurjidze’s “House of Others,” which won the East of the West competition section at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, and Romania with Cristi Puiu’s “Sieranevada,” which played in competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

Each country can submit one film for the foreign-language film category, with the Oct. 3 deadline fast approaching. The nominations are determined in two phases:

First, the Academy’s Phase One Foreign-Language Film Award Committee will screen the entries and vote. The group’s top six choices, as well as three additional films voted by the Foreign-Language Film Award Executive Committee, will constitute the shortlist of nine films.

Second, the Phase Two Foreign-Language Film Award Committee will screen the nine shortlisted films and vote to determine the category’s five nominees. The nominations will be revealed on Jan. 24 together with the other categories.

The final voting for the award will be restricted to Academy members who have viewed all five films nominated for the award. The Oscar ceremony takes place on Feb. 26.

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