Nine foreign films out of 80 submitted by movie makers from all around the world have been short listed for further cuts.
Every year, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gives five foreign films the chance to shine through an array of movies from all around the world.
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This year, 80 movies were submitted to compete in the race for an Oscar and after much consideration and deliberation at the Academy, 9 movies have been shortlisted as semi-finalists for the coveted Oscar trophy. Many were predicted contenders while some came out to be a shock for being left out.
The Hungarian drama from Laszlo Nemes, Son Of Saul, about the Holocaust, has already been on a roll since it won the Grand Jury Prize in Cannes. It was a definitely big contender to be shortlisted in the final selection.
Nemes is also a first time director to be nominated in the category. Other first timers include, Guilio Ricciarelli out of Germany for Labyrinth Of Lies’ is a movie about the efforts in the 1950s to bring former Nazis to justice, from Germany. Naji Abu Nowar from Jordan is also a first-timer with his movie, Theeb which is the story of a Bedouin boy and a British officer.
Other entries include Jaco Van Dormael's The Brand New Testament (also a Golden Globe nominee) is an absurdist comedy about a vengeful God, from Belgium; Tobias Lindholm's A War. A story about a soldier in Afghanistan and the effect that his actions have on his life back home; and Colombia’s Ciro Guerra with Embrace Of The Serpent.
Finland's entry, The Fencer, a movie by Klaus Haro's is another '50s drama. This one set in Estonia that concerns a fencing instructor who is evading the Soviet secret police. The Fencer has also just been announced as the opening-night film at the upcoming Palm Springs International Film Festival.
Taiwan's entry, Hou Hsiao-Hsien's martial-arts movie The Assassin, which earned Hou the best director award at Cannes and recently topped the Sight & Sound critics' poll as the top film of the year did not in fact make it to the Top 9 and was a surprise.
Other titles that were seen as potential competitors including Brazil's The Second Mother, Austria's Good Night Mommy and Sweden's A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, from director Roy Andersson, which won the Golden Lion, the top prize at the Venice Film Festival, in 2014 also came as surprises to not be included in the list.
The determination of the Top 9 was made by committees composed of Academy members who viewed the submissions. Their top six choices were then further analysed by three additional selections voted by the Academy's foreign-language film award executive committee.
Special committees invited in from New York, Los Angeles and London are now responsible for viewing the nine films on the shortlist and vote to determine which five will advance when nominees are announced Jan. 14.
The shortlist of nine films for Foreign Language category is as follows:
- Belgium, "The Brand New Testament," Jaco Van Dormael, director;
- Colombia, "Embrace of the Serpent," Ciro Guerra, director;
- Denmark, "A War," Tobias Lindholm, director;
- Finland, "The Fencer," Klaus Härö, director;
- France, "Mustang," Deniz Gamze Ergüven, director;
- Germany, "Labyrinth of Lies," Giulio Ricciarelli, director;
- Hungary, "Son of Saul," László Nemes, director;
- Ireland, "Viva," Paddy Breathnach, director;
- Jordan, "Theeb," Naji Abu Nowar, director.
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The 88th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 14, 2016, at 5:30 a.m. PT at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.