And then there were nine…
Of 76 foreign language pictures released this year which had first received Oscar consideration, only nine are left, the final cut before five become official Oscar nominees. The nine are as follows:
The Broken Circle Breakdown – Belgium
An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker – Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Missing Picture – Cambodia
The Hunt – Denmark
Two Lives – Germany
The Grandmaster – Hong Kong
The Notebook – Hungary
The Great Beauty – Italy
Omar – Palestine
Notable among the cuts is the exclusion of Iranian entry The Past and the Saudi hopeful Wadjda. The Past was filmed primarily in French and in Paris, but is from writer/director Asghar Farhadi. Farhadi won the Oscar in this category for A Separation two years ago, Iran’s first-ever Foreign Language Oscar win, and The Past was being handicapped as the favorite to this point. Wadjda comes from another middle-eastern trendsetter, director Haifaa al-Mansour. Wadjda follows an independent young girl in Saudi Arabia, and the film holds the distinction of being both the only feature film to have ever been shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and the only Saudi feature to have ever been directed by a woman. It premiered at the 2012 Venice film festival to positive reviews before seeing distribution in the U.S. this year.
The final five nominees will be announced with the rest of the Academy’s Oscar nominations on January 16, smack dab in between the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards ceremonies. Mxdwn Movies will be bringing you news on all the nominees as they are announced, plus plenty of Oscar prognosticating as we approach the Academy Awards themselves on March 2nd.