Oscar narrows Foreign Language category to nine

A Separation

84th Academy Awards poster (2012)The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has narrowed the contenders for Best Foreign Language Film down from 63 eligible films to nine, honouring Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Iran, Israel, Morocco, Poland and Taiwan.

The favourite is undoubtedly Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation, which gave Iran its first Golden Globe this week, and also won the Critics Choice Awards last week and the Online Film Critics Society earlier this month. Locally, A Separation also won the Sydney Film Prize at the 2011 Sydney Film Festival, indicating the global love for this film.

The final Oscar nominees for the 84th Academy Awards will be announced 24 January 2012. The 84th Academy Awards Ceremony will be held in Los Angeles on 27 February 2012.

And the shortlist is:

Belgium, Bullhead, Michael R. Roskam, director;
Canada, Monsieur Lazhar, Philippe Falardeau, director;
Denmark, Superclásico, Ole Christian Madsen, director;
Germany, Pina, Wim Wenders, director;
Iran, A Separation, Asghar Farhadi, director;
Israel, Footnote, Joseph Cedar, director;
Morocco, Omar Killed Me, Roschdy Zem, director;
Poland, In Darkness, Agnieszka Holland, director;
Taiwan, Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale, Wei Te-sheng, director.

According to the press, this award proceeds in the following way:

Foreign Language Film nominations for 2011 are again being determined in two phases.

The Phase I committee, consisting of several hundred Los Angeles-based members, screened the 63 eligible films between mid-October and January 13. 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 20, through Sunday, January 22, viewing three films each day and then casting their ballots.