Poll: Which of 9 semi-finalists for foreign-language film Oscar were added by exec committee?

The several hundred academy members of the Foreign Language Film screening committee were divided into groups and required to watch at least 17 of the 76 submissions for Foreign Language Film over a two-month period that ended Tuesday (Dec. 16). They scored them from 6 to 10 and their top six vote getters make it to the next round, as do three films added by the 20 members on the executive committee.

Among the notable names on that latter group chaired by “Breaking Bad” producer Mark Johnson are four-time Oscar nominated helmer Michael Mann, Spirit nominated lenser John Bailey and last year’s committee chair Ron Yerxa, the BAFTA nominated producer of “Little Miss Sunshine.” 

At the bottom of this post, vote for the three films you think are still in contention because they were added by the executive committee. And then use our easy drag-and-drop menu to vote for the five films you think will be nominated. 

These nine semi-finalists will be screened three per day beginning on Jan. 10 by select committee members in both Gotham and Hollywood who will then vote for the final five which will be revealed, along with the other Oscar nominations, on Jan. 16. This year, the entire academy membership can vote for the winner and will get screeners of the five nominated films.

Among the high-profile pictures snubbed were: France’s “The Past” by 2011 Oscar champ Asghar Faradi (“A Separation”), the groundbreaking entry Saudi Arabian “Wadjda” and filmfest favorite “Gloria” from Chile. Those first two films are distributed by Sony Pictures Classics which finds itself without a pony in this derby that it has won for the past four years running. 

The nine films still in contention are: 

“The Broken Circle Breakdown,” directed by Felix van Groeningen (Belgium)
A heartwarming love story of two unlikely bluegrass music fans.

“An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker,” directed by Danis Tanovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
The 2002 Oscar champ (“No Mans’ Land”) directed this intense drama that won Nazif Mujic Best Actor at Berlin. 

“The Grandmaster,” directed by Wong Kar-wai (Hong Kong)
An elaborate martial arts biopic of Wing Chun champ Ip Man. 

 “The Great Beauty,” directed by Paolo Sorrentino (Italy)
This European Film Awards champs tells of a man reflecting on his life at his 65th birthday party. 

“The Hunt,” directed by Thomas Vinterberg (Denmark)
As a man wrongfully accused of child molestation, Mads Mikkelsen won Best Actor at Cannes. 

“The Missing Picture,” directed by Rithy Panh (Cambodia)
This documentary uses stop motion puppets to recount the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge. 

“The Notebook,” directed by Janos Szasz (Hungary)
This intense film chronicles the wretched lives of twin teenage boys forced into hiding during WWII. 

“Omar,” directed by Hany Abu-Assad (Palestine)
The 2006 nominee for “Paradise Now” returns with this compelling story of an Israeli intelligence officer and his Palestinian informant. 

“Two Lives,” directed by Georg Maas (Germany)
Liv Ullmann is a Norwegian mother forced to deal half a century on with the fact that her child was fathered by a German soldier during the occupation. 

4 thoughts on “Poll: Which of 9 semi-finalists for foreign-language film Oscar were added by exec committee?

  1. Two Lives and The Notebook rely heavily on World War II which is a favorite of older voters…it’s like getting extra points for having a subject people admire rather than being artistically daring (note that I’m not commenting on the quality of either). Broken Circle Breakdown feels like a light-romp that they’d be into.

    Basically, I’m coming at this from the opinion that the executives are an older audience, thus why they’d give extra merit to works that might not be as challenging or have a certain subject matter they’re interested in.

  2. Also, agreed on the snubs mentioned, but why nothing about Blue Is The Warmest Color? That will be a flat-out snub if it’s not nominated for Best Picture, let alone this award. Perhaps backlash to the two leads criticizing the director for being hard to work with? You’ve also got to love the preposterous story about their being fake genitalia used in the films that was modeled to look exactly like the genitalia of the female actresses. I don’t see why they can’t just come out and admit that they were involved in some explicit nude scenes. It’s art and if you’re going to be embarrassed about performing it, then don’t bother. The last thing we need are odd lies like that one in order to help save face for some actresses that fear they might miss out on future roles due to someone else’s modesty…

  3. James Tilden – the reason why Blue is the warmest color was ‘snubbed’ was because it wasn’t entered in this category in the first place. Apparently the film was not even eligible for the French FL committee to consider because it was released in France after the official cut off date. I believe Blue MIGHT snare a screenplay nomination as it is this category that has no problems going for foreign language/independent and risque films. The Past – the French/Iranian film was definitely snubbed and has a good chance of a screenplay nomination as well. As for the 9 finalists – I’ve only seen the Hunt and it would be a worthy winner IMO. My money is on The Great Beauty or Two Lives though.

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