In a slight change from previous years, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced a nine-film shortlist of contenders for this year’s foreign-language-film Oscar:
- Days of Glory / Indigènes (Algeria);
- Water (Canada);
- After the Wedding / Efter brylluppet (Denmark);
- Avenue Montaigne / Fauteuils d’orchestre (France);
- The Lives of Others / Das Leben der Anderen (Germany);
- Pan’s Labyrinth / El Laberinto del Fauno (Mexico);
- Black Book / Zwartboek (The Netherlands);
- Volver (Spain); and
- Vitus (Switzerland).
These films were chosen by a committee “consisting of several hundred Los Angeles-based members”, from 61 films submitted by countries around the world. (The official rule governing the award is here.)
Now, a committee of 30 members will view the nine shortlisted films and select the five official “nominees” for the category.
Of these films, I have seen six, of which After the Wedding is the best. Not much surprise considering how strong Danish cinema has been this decade.
After the Wedding has an engaging, twisty plot, sharp dialogue, and great performances, particularly by Mads Mikkelsen in the lead role. The film is about a man returning from India to Denmark, to secure a corporate donation that will keep afloat an orphanage for which he is responsible; the question is whether he will compromise to the will of the corporation’s CEO.
I also liked Days of Glory, Water, The Lives of Others, and Pan’s Labyrinth. As for Volver, I can’t understand why so many people like it; I thought it was crap. I will be pleasantly surprised if it does not receive a nomination.
I have not seen Avenue Montaigne, Black Book, or Vitus.