Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Foreign Language Film shortlist

The Foreign Language Film branch of the Academy announced its shortlist of nine titles today, five of which will proceed to Oscar nominations.

The Secret in Their Eyes, Argentina
Samson & Delilah, Australia
The World is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner, Bulgaria
A Prophet, France
The White Ribbon, Germany
Ajami, Israel
Kelin, Kazakhstan
Winter in Wartime, Netherlands
The Milk of Sorrow, Peru

Much to everyone's relief, the branch avoided any huge embarrassment this year by keeping the number of egregious snubs to a minimum. Perceived frontrunners The White Ribbon and A Prophet made it safely to the shortlist, though some (yours truly included) suspect they owe it to the executive committee, specifically designed to circumvent this branch's traditionally out-of-touch taste. I also believe festival darling Samson & Delilah, a film whose liberal use of English dialogue would normally make it an automatic disqualification target for the prickly Foreign Film branch, must credit its inclusion here to the executive committee.

Unfortunately, the committee can't help these movies anymore. It's all in the hands of the branch's crusty voters. What will be the unforgivable snub this year? More importantly, what will be their uninspired winner? The WWII-themed Winter in Wartime could prove too irresistible for them, but word is Argentina's The Secret in Their Eyes could become this year's Departures.

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