The Foreign Language Film Oscar category will feature a record 71 films for consideration, including first-time entrant Kenya, the Academy announced on Monday.
Among this year's crop of films vying for the gold statuette are "The Patience Stone" from Afghan filmmaker Atiq Rahimi; Armenian director Natalia Belyauskene's "If Only Everyone"; Lasse Hallström's Swedish contender "The Hypnotist" and "War Witch" from Canada's Kim Nguyen.
Austria's entry, "Michael Haneke's "Amour," has already drawn critical praise since its debut on the film-festival circuit and netted the Palme d'Or prize at Cannes last May. "The Intouchables," by French filmmakers Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, has both big box-office momentum and popular appeal after racking up more than $387 million in international ticket sales.
One country that won't be featured in the 2012 lineup is Iran, last year's Oscar-winner for best foreign film, as that nation opted to sit out this year's Academy Awards as a statement of protest against the YouTube video "Innocence of Muslims." That means Reza Mirkarimi's "A Cube of Sugar" won't have a chance to score a repeat victory for Iran this year.
The Academy's three-step nomination process for the foreign-language award has been the subject of a lengthy controversy, as it's the only category in which nominees are selected by a small committee of 30 instead of a broader group of members. Opponents of the plan think the process puts too much power in the hands of too few voters. However, the new co-chairs of the Academy's Foreign Language Award Executive Committee, Ron Yerxa and Bruce Davis, are supporters of the system, which was put in place under former chairman Mark Johnson.
The 2012 official submissions are:
Afghanistan, "The Patience Stone," Atiq Rahimi, director; Albania, "Pharmakon," Joni Shanaj, director; Algeria, "Zabana!" Said Ould Khelifa, director; Argentina, "Clandestine Childhood," Benjamín Ávila, director; Armenia, "If Only Everyone," Natalia Belyauskene, director; Australia, "Lore," Cate Shortland, director; Austria, "Amour," Michael Haneke, director; Azerbaijan, "Buta," Ilgar Najaf, director; Bangladesh, "Pleasure Boy Komola," Humayun Ahmed, director; Belgium, "Our Children," Joachim Lafosse, director; Bosnia and Herzegovina, "Children of Sarajevo," Aida Begic, director; Brazil, "The Clown," Selton Mello, director; Bulgaria, "Sneakers," Valeri Yordanov and Ivan Vladimirov, directors; Cambodia, "Lost Loves," Chhay Bora, director; Canada, "War Witch," Kim Nguyen, director; Chile, "No," Pablo Larraín, director; China, "Caught in the Web," Chen Kaige, director; Colombia, "The Snitch Cartel," Carlos Moreno, director; Croatia, "Vegetarian Cannibal," Branko Schmidt, director; Czech Republic, "In the Shadow," David Ondrícek, director; Denmark, "A Royal Affair," Nikolaj Arcel, director; Dominican Republic, "Jaque Mate," José María Cabral, director; Estonia, "Mushrooming," Toomas Hussar, director; Finland, "Purge," Antti J. Jokinen, director; France, "The Intouchables," Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, directors; Georgia, "Keep Smiling," Rusudan Chkonia, director; Germany, "Barbara," Christian Petzold, director; Greece, "Unfair World," Filippos Tsitos, director; Greenland, "Inuk," Mike Magidson, director; Hong Kong, "Life without Principle," Johnnie To, director; Hungary, "Just the Wind," Bence Fliegauf, director; Iceland, "The Deep," Baltasar Kormákur, director; India, "Barfi!" Anurag Basu, director; Indonesia, "The Dancer," Ifa Isfansyah, director; Israel, "Fill the Void," Rama Burshtein, director; Italy, "Caesar Must Die," Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Taviani, directors; Japan, "Our Homeland," Yang Yonghi, director; Kazakhstan, "Myn Bala: Warriors of the Steppe," Akan Satayev, director; Kenya, "Nairobi Half Life," David 'Tosh' Gitonga, director; Kyrgyzstan, "The Empty Home," Nurbek Egen, director; Latvia, "Gulf Stream under the Iceberg," Yevgeny Pashkevich, director; Lithuania, "Ramin," Audrius Stonys, director; Macedonia, "The Third Half," Darko Mitrevski, director; Malaysia, "Bunohan," Dain Iskandar Said, director; Mexico, "After Lucia," Michel Franco, director; Morocco, "Death for Sale," Faouzi Bensaïdi, director; Netherlands, "Kauwboy," Boudewijn Koole, director; Norway, "Kon-Tiki," Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, directors; Palestine, "When I Saw You," Annemarie Jacir, director; Peru, "The Bad Intentions," Rosario García-Montero, director; Philippines, "Bwakaw," Jun Robles Lana, director; Poland, "80 Million," Waldemar Krzystek, director; Portugal, "Blood of My Blood," João Canijo, director; Romania, "Beyond the Hills," Cristian Mungiu, director; Russia, "White Tiger," Karen Shakhnazarov, director; Serbia, "When Day Breaks," Goran Paskaljevic, director; Singapore, "Already Famous," Michelle Chong, director; Slovak Republic, "Made in Ash," Iveta Grófová, director; Slovenia, "A Trip," Nejc Gazvoda, director; South Africa, "Little One," Darrell James Roodt, director; South Korea, "Pieta," Kim Ki-duk, director; Spain, "Blancanieves," Pablo Berger, director; Sweden, "The Hypnotist," Lasse Hallström, director; Switzerland, "Sister," Ursula Meier, director; Taiwan, "Touch of the Light," Chang Jung-Chi, director; Thailand, "Headshot," Pen-ek Ratanaruang, director; Turkey, "Where the Fire Burns," Ismail Gunes, director; Ukraine, "The Firecrosser," Mykhailo Illienko, director; Uruguay, "The Delay," Rodrigo Plá, director; Venezuela, "Rock, Paper, Scissors," Hernán Jabes, director; Vietnam, "The Scent of Burning Grass," Nguyen Huu Muoi, director.
- Michael Haneke
- Michael Haneke
- Atiq Rahimi
- Atiq Rahimi