9 Foreign Language Films Vie for Oscar

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Nine films will advance to the next round of voting in the Foreign Language Film category for the 85th Academy Awards®.  Seventy-one films had originally qualified in the category.

The films, listed in alphabetical order by country, are:

  • Austria, “Amour,” Michael Haneke, director
  • Canada, “War Witch,” Kim Nguyen, director
  • Chile, “No,” Pablo Larraín, director
  • Denmark, “A Royal Affair,” Nikolaj Arcel, director
  • France, “The Intouchables,” Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, directors
  • Iceland, “The Deep,” Baltasar Kormákur, director
  • Norway, “Kon-Tiki,” Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, directors
  • Romania, “Beyond the Hills,” Cristian Mungiu, director
  • Switzerland, “Sister,” Ursula Meier, director

Foreign Language Film nominations for 2012 are again being determined in two phases.

The Phase I committee, consisting of several hundred Los Angeles-based members, screened the 71 eligible films between mid-October and December 17.  The group’s top six choices, augmented by three additional selections voted by the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee, constitute the shortlist.

The shortlist will be winnowed down to the five nominees by specially invited committees in New York and Los Angeles. They will spend Friday, January 4, through Sunday, January 6, viewing three films each day and then casting their ballots.

The 85th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 10, 2013, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2012 will be presented on Sunday, February 24, 2013, at the Dolby Theatre™ at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries worldwide.

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55 Comments

  1. Jorge
    December 21, 2012

    Where is Bárbara?

  2. December 21, 2012

    No Brazil… No surprise.

  3. December 21, 2012

    Hooray for Amour and Sister!

    I would say hooray for War Witch, No and Beyond the Hills, but I haven’t seen them, so I don’t know if I even want them to be nominated.

  4. Zizo
    December 21, 2012

    No Fill the Void, Blancanieves, or After Lucia, too bad :-(

  5. Eric72
    December 21, 2012

    Good Choices. And all among the favorites.

    The decisions of the last years, had to fear that Amour was left out.

    Now I bet on:

    Amour
    Intouchables (The Weinsteins!)
    No
    War Witch
    and…?

    No guess! Normally one “prominent” candidate is out, maybe Royal Affair, maybe Kon Tiki or even Intouchables.

    Outsiders Switzerland and Iceland.

  6. Jordan
    December 21, 2012

    No Barbara :(

  7. Grisha Nelyubin
    December 21, 2012

    BEYOND THE HILLS!! YES! happy to see it, but very sad about Barbara. very strong pick this year, without surprises

  8. December 21, 2012

    NO is brilliant and could be a winner in a year with no AMOUR. WAR WITCH will be a surprise nominee, mark my words. Mark them, damn you!

  9. December 21, 2012

    We could have a very Scandinavian line-up, and could easily have a very European line-up.

  10. John
    December 21, 2012

    No Barbara or Lore

  11. Siam
    December 21, 2012

    No Barbara, that sucks.

  12. brace
    December 21, 2012

    coming from Academy this shortlist is as good as it gets!

  13. Monchovader
    December 21, 2012

    Chile, Congratulations!. No (Pablo Larrain) is a great movie.

  14. JCB
    December 21, 2012

    My predictions (for what it’s worth) :

    • Austria, “Amour,” Michael Haneke, director
    • Canada, “War Witch,” Kim Nguyen, director
    • Chile, “No,” Pablo Larraín, director
    • Denmark, “A Royal Affair,” Nikolaj Arcel, director
    • Switzerland, “Sister,” Ursula Meier, director

    I personnally thought that Intouchables (France) was overhyped. I think Norway could be a dark horse. I am putting No based on the reactions here :) but please allow me to say : Go Canada GO ! But we all know of course that Amour will win.

  15. g
    December 21, 2012

    Yay kon tiki and the Intouchables, woohoo!!!!!!

  16. Kjartan Atli Óskarsson
    December 21, 2012

    The Deep could be a surprising nominee. It is based on a true story, it is directed by a director that is getting a foothold in Hollywood and it has one of the best performance of 2012, by Ólafur Darri Ólafsson. I am convinced that if it was from a larger country, let’s say USA, UK or France then Ólafur Darri would be a serious candidate for best actor because he carries the film, we spend a very long time with him in the water and we really feel what his character is going through. His role is not dissimilar to the role that James Franco had in 127 Hours, given that both films are true stories about men who survived accidents that they really should not have.

  17. Daveylow
    December 21, 2012

    Kris Tapley mentioned Amour might have been saved the committee. Intouchables could win this. Not that it should.

  18. Yashar
    December 21, 2012

    YES for War Witch and Beyond the Hills. Based on the awards hype, I was almost sure they are gonna get snubbed in favor of feel good fluff like Intouchables.

  19. Tero Heikkinen
    December 21, 2012

    No Lore or Barbara sound like the biggest omissions this time.

    Good luck for all the Nordics!!! Three out of five countries got into this shortlist, and when has that happened? A while ago I thought Sweden could sneak in, because The Hypnotist was directed by Academy favourite Lasse Hallström, but then I saw the film… and yeah. It’s not here, and rightly so. Finland never had a chance with Purge.

    I was really expecting to see Lore here. A chance to nominate an Australian film? About the Holocaust? Sounded like their bag.

  20. Bryce Forestieri
    December 21, 2012

    Euro-centric much??? Boooooooo!!

    Was rooting to LORE and AFTER LUCIA. Did Portugal not submit TABU?!?!

    At least I’m glad NO made the cute, hope it gets the nomination. If anything AMOUR for the win!!

  21. Christina
    December 21, 2012

    As a chilean so happy to see No as the final nine.

  22. The Great Dane
    December 21, 2012

    Amour lovers should get there complaining out of the way now! Cause The Intouchables has this in the bag. Most of the voters in this category are 60+ years old, and they ALWAYS chose the most feel-good accessible film of the bunch. The best-reviewed film never wins here. It’s always the ‘King’s Speech’ touchy-feely film that wins. A Better World, Departures and The Secret in Their Eyes says it all. :)

  23. December 21, 2012

    Plus, The Intouchables is TWC. That works greatly to its favor.

  24. Tero Heikkinen
    December 21, 2012

    How do you know they are all 60+ years old? As far as I know, the voters are very few here, because you have to prove that you’ve seen all of them. I get what you mean about voting for the easier films, but they have also chosen tougher films, like No Man’s Land winning over a feel-good film Amélie.

    To me, The Intouchables winning is more to do with box office. Isn’t it the biggest money maker out of non-English language/non-American films EVER?

  25. William Best
    December 21, 2012

    I would have liked to see Jagten (The Hunt) instead of ‘A Royal Affair’ for Denmark. Jagten was great!

  26. Keil S.
    December 21, 2012

    Was Oslo, August 31st considered part of last year’s batch?

  27. Tony
    December 21, 2012

    The Intouchables winning best foreign picture? No way and no chance, i mean unless the APMAS voters are a bunch of idiots to get carried away by that Hollywood-style burlesque with no real meaning whatsoever. Comparing A Better World or The Departures with that sharade of a film is beyond silly. I mean, on some of the posts some of the talks are about the possibilities of Amour getting nods in other categories like best actress for Riva or original screenplay for Haneke or maybe even a nod in the best picture shortlist. It sure is not a subject whether Amour will win best foreign picture!

  28. Tero Heikkinen
    December 21, 2012

    Jagten is next year.

    One thing in Amour’s favour. These voters know that they may have screwed up with The White Ribbon. Winning in this category sometimes comes with “the next film”.

  29. Tero Heikkinen
    December 21, 2012

    Keil S: it was last year, but Norway chose Happy Happy over Oslo. In hindsight, weird choice.

  30. PJ
    December 21, 2012

    No alarms, no surprises

  31. JCB
    December 21, 2012

    @ The Great Dane who wrote that the best-reviewed film never wins. I beg to differ : A Separation, as recently as last year.

  32. December 21, 2012

    These voters know that they may have screwed up with The White Ribbon.

    No they don’t. I remember being in a minority a few months ago suggesting that The Intouchables could easily win this, when virtually no-one thought Amour could lose.

    I still think The Intouchables will win.

  33. lazarus
    December 21, 2012

    The Lives Of Others want exactly feel-good, either.

    Also, while Kon-Tiki isn’t a very deep film, I found it surprisingly enjoyable, something that could stand up against any big budget Hollywood adventure film.

    Pretty close to perfect for what it was, IMO.

    And also feel-good.

  34. Luke
    December 21, 2012

    The Lives of Others was a flawless film. It should have won Best Picture, not just Best Foreign Picture. The Departed was no where near its quality. In my humble opinion, of course. =)

  35. Tony
    December 21, 2012

    How can The Intouchables actually win??? In fact i’m actually quite certain that it won’t even make the final shortlist. But if somehow manages to win BFP in that case, let’s make this BP shortlist:
    1. The Avengers (and lets nominate Scarlet Johansson for best supporting role)
    2. Skyfall
    3. The Dark Rises
    4. Brave
    5. The Hunger Games
    6. Man in Black 3

    In this selection, winning equivalent to The Intouchables would be Man in Black 3. I was able to forgive the Academy for snubbing The Pan’s Labyrinth, mainly because The Lives of Others (although not being very close to the reality and historical context it was trying to reproduce) was equally good film. Snubbing Amour over a so called “feel-good” box-office lemonade in a form of shallow buddy comedy, will be teasing the MTV movie awards.

  36. JP
    December 21, 2012

    Luke, you are totally right. Not only Lives of Others but Pan’s Labyrinth are much better than The Departed. That year the Academy snubbed Volver. Had it been nominated, it could be top 5 lineup in the history of the category. And A Separation is one of the reasons why I don’t predict a BP nom for Amour. The first one was easily a better film than virtually all the BP contenders in a mediocre year and its buzz was high throughout the awards season. I know it obviously it is easier for an European film than for an Iranian film to score a BP nomination but… Although I also think Amour is fantastic, it’s a fact that A Separation’s reviews are a little bit better and that the film had fewer haters than Amour has.

  37. Tero Heikkinen
    December 21, 2012

    Someone pointed out that 4 out of these 9 are French spoken. That must be a record.

  38. The Great Dane
    December 21, 2012

    Jagten couldn’t be submitted since it hasn’t even opened in native Denmark yet, weirdly enough. Expect to see it possibly contending next year.

  39. Tony
    December 21, 2012

    “I know it obviously it is easier for an European film than for an Iranian film to score a BP nomination”
    I can’t agree completely on that one since i have this impression that all the hype and glorifying reviews about A Separation and it’s subsequent recognition in the awards session (manly run by the western world) were politically motivated (although A Separation was fantastic achievement by any means), as it was the awkward choice of “No Man’s Land” which came just in time to acknowledge the casualties of the Bosnian civil war.

  40. AdamA
    December 21, 2012

    Harvey Weinstein is going to ride The Intouchables train straight to victory….the academy requires voters of foreign category to have seen all the nominees, by default that skews older and the film is like catnip

  41. julian the emperor
    December 21, 2012

    The Hunt will most definitely be contending for Denmark next year. The Danish selection committee know that they have a strong contender (as per usual) and they would be foolish not to go with it.

  42. JCB
    December 21, 2012

    If there is ONE sure bet this year, it is that Amour will win this award. We are talking about the Golden Palm winner. It has been talked about since May. Enough voters will see it.

  43. Tero Heikkinen
    December 21, 2012

    Julian, I wouldn’t say DEFINITELY. What if Denmark has something equally great come September? The committee might go with the newer film. Or do you now already that DK’s 2013 slate has nothing great to offer?

    Remember how the Swedes didn’t bother with a year old title (a late October release) Let the Right One In, even when it had won so many prizes by then? They chose Simple Simon and we all know how well that decision went. Sweden could’ve won in the end.

  44. steve50
    December 21, 2012

    I can never seem to get excited about this category because of the one country/one film rule.

    We all know Denmark could easily have two films on the shortlist, not just one. Is The Intouchables really a better film than Holy Motors simply because France (and TWC) selected it? Portugal, limited to one film, did not even submit Tabu, but selected Blood of My Blood, instead. Would they be in the running had they gone in another direction – Tabu is killing it on the critic’s lists.

    Shouldn’t each have been allowed to submit more than one film for consideration? The Academy can always limit the number of nominees to one film per country, if that’s how it prefers to run it, but open up the preliminaries, please.

    They have to loosen-up a bit on the qualifications for this category.

  45. PaulinJapan
    December 21, 2012

    This is a two horse race, similar to Best Pic from two years ago. Amour is ‘The Social Network’ and Intouchables is ‘The Kings Speech’. The same jockey is even riding Intouchables!

  46. Reno
    December 21, 2012

    Intouchables is extremely well-executed and it’s as Academy friendly as any film can get and it will handily beat Amour in this category.

    I saw Kon-Tiki, the 1950 Oscar-winning documentary, and thought it was thrilling, very informative, honest, visceral and utterly fascinating. So I guess a dramatic feature about this fantastic voyage is bound to be just as good.

    My predictions:
    Intouchables (winner by a long long mile)
    Amour
    Kon-Tiki
    A Royal Affair
    War Witch

  47. December 21, 2012

    Was Once Upon a Time in Anatolia not eligible? As slow as that film is, it is breathtaking in scope and grandeur. A beautiful film that deserves so much more acclaim than it’s getting.

  48. Bridgie James Rosenthal
    December 21, 2012

    I’ve seen six of the films in contention (Amour; Beyond the Hills; L’Intouchables; Kon-Tiki; No; and A Royal Affair), and I must say that it’s indeed a strong lineup (the strongest in years since the nine films shortlist was inaugurated on 2006).

    Amour and L’Intouchables have its ardent supporters in the Academy. (Haneke is also an Academy member, fyi.) Kon-Tiki has the Weinstein Brothers and a a classic Oscar cred as backup (the plot was previously told in the Oscar winning documentary “Kon-Tiki”) while A Royal Affair, No, and War Witch have thematically resonant plots that Academy members can easily relate to (which is the reason why Romania had its first shortlist nomination ever for the feminist drama Beyond the Hills).

    Here is my fearless forecast of this year’s Best Foreign Language Film nominees:

    Austria, “Amour,” Michael Haneke, director
    Canada, “War Witch,” Kim Nguyen, director
    France, “The Intouchables,” Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, directors
    Norway, “Kon-Tiki,” Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, directors
    Romania, “Beyond the Hills,” Cristian Mungiu, director

    This is Amour’s climactic moment; I can see most “elderly” Academy members crying or “internalizing” while watching Michael Haneke’s emotionally driven drama. I don’t think that “L’Intouchables” will win, period. (I’m happy to see Romania being nominated for the first time, while I have to be contented with War Witch’s unsurprising but well-deserved nomination.)

    And if ever there’s a strong competitor for Amour, it will be the searing adventure drama (and Weinstein Company release) “Kon-Tiki”.

  49. Bridgie James Rosenthal
    December 21, 2012

    “Was Once Upon a Time in Anatolia not eligible? As slow as that film is, it is breathtaking in scope and grandeur. A beautiful film that deserves so much more acclaim than it’s getting.”

    @Film Minion -

    It was Turkey’s official entry in 2011, though it didn’t make the nine films shortlist.

  50. December 21, 2012

    Where’s Kim Ki Duke’s Pieta??????
    I really can’ t believe it’s out!!!

  51. Daveylow
    December 21, 2012

    Barbara should have been nominated. I don’t think Beyond the Hills will make the cut. I think Amour is overrated but I’d love both lead actors to be nominated.

  52. Tony
    December 22, 2012

    When did we get up to 225 countries? Even adding Palestine to the U.N. doesn’t cross 200.

  53. AP
    December 22, 2012

    So the committee saved No, Beyond the Hills, and Amour (Anne and Kris have both been saying the branch isn’t taken with it, which is why it NEEDS to be pushed in other categories)?

    Anyone thinking that Amour has this in the bag really needs to take a step back and realize what kind of movies win this award. The Intouchables is an international phenomenon and what’s considered a “feel good” movie on top of it.

  54. Alper
    December 22, 2012

    same…same…same ……..as always

    boring..boring…boring….as always

  55. Ruth
    December 22, 2012

    A great year for foreign film.

    The Hunt is excellent, best of luck to it next year (also, Mikkelson is quietly racking up one of the finest filmographies going around). The Hunt recently just won the Canberra International Film Festival as well, over some decent competition.

    Was Rust & Bone eligible? Shame it got overlooked by The Intouchables. Still, a great year for french-language films. Kiarostami’s new film ‘Like Someone in Love’ was also one of my favourites of the year, but not outstanding enough I guess to get a nomination.

    Would also like to see Beyond the Hills get a nom.

    Regarding recent years, The Lives of Others was the outstanding film of it’s year, and happy it won over Pans Labyrinth. If there were more than 5 BP noms back then, they might have slipped in (it was a strong year all-around from memory).

    I liked A Separation, but to me it was merely the best Iranian film from the last couple years, but not one of the most outstanding films to come out of Iran. I still really liked it though, and managed to see it before it won the Sydney Film festival award in mid-2011, so early in the race.

    This category can often be unpredictable, but a well-reviewed film such as Amour will only be toppled by a more beloved film that cracked the mainstream (The Intouchables), or another film with an even greater critical reception. It doesnt hurt that Amour will be very relatable to oscar voters.

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