Oscars: Nine Foreign Language Film semi-finalists include ‘Toni Erdmann’ but not ‘Elle’ or ‘Julieta’

On Thursday (Dec. 15), the academy announced the nine semi-finalists in the Foreign-Language Film race at the Oscars. The clear frontrunner in the group is the German entry, “Toni Erdmann,” which just swept the European Film Awards. Among its rivals for Best Picture there were two films that were snubbed by the Oscars: France’s “Elle” and Spain’s “Julieta.”

Among the other eight that made the shortlist is the Swiss film “My Life as a Zucchini,” which won Best Animated Film at the European Film Awards. The other European contenders are “Land of Mine” (Denmark), “The King’s Choice” (Norway), “Paradise” (Russia) and  “A Man Called Ove” (Sweden).

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Canada is represented by the Quebecois film “It’s Only the End of the World” while Australia has “Tanna,” which is set on that island in the South Pacific where the language is Nauvhal.

And rounding out the roster is Iran’s “The Salesman,” from Asghar Farhadi who helmed the 2012 winner “A Separation.”

Six of these nine were decided by the several hundred academy members who volunteered to be on the Foreign-Language Film screening committee while the other three were added by the 20 members of the executive committee, chaired by academy governor and Oscar-winning producer Mark Johnson (“Rain Man,” 1988).

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The nine semi-finalists are:

Australia, “Tanna,” Bentley Dean, Martin Butler, directors;

Canada, “It’s Only the End of the World,” Xavier Dolan, director;

Denmark, “Land of Mine,” Martin Zandvliet, director;

Germany, “Toni Erdmann,” Maren Ade, director;

Iran, “The Salesman,” Asghar Farhadi, director;

Norway, “The King’s Choice,” Erik Poppe, director;

Russia, “Paradise,” Andrei Konchalovsky, director;

Sweden, “A Man Called Ove,” Hannes Holm, director;

Switzerland, “My Life as a Zucchini,” Claude Barras, director.

These nine semi-finalists will be screened three per day beginning in early January by select academy members in New York, Los Angeles and London who will then vote for the final five which will be revealed, along with the other Oscar nominations, on Jan. 24.

The entire academy membership will get screeners of these five films and vote for the winner, which will be revealed on the Oscars on Feb. 26.

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