11 October 2012

Official Submissions for the 2013 Best Foreign Language Oscar

71 countries will be competing for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at next year's ceremony, setting a new record. A number of heavy-hitters will be vying for the award, from festival darlings to crowd-pleasing local hits. Each of the top prize winners at the three major competitive film festivals–Berlin, Cannes, and Venice–will be representing their respective countries. Paolo and Vittorio Taviani's Golden Bear winner Caesar Must Die (Cesare deve morire), which is set in a men's prison where the inmates are preparing a performance of Julius Caesar, was Italy's submission. Michael Haneke's Amour could earn the director his second Academy Award nomination just as it claimed his second Palme d'Or, following The White Ribbon (Das weiße Band) in 2010, though Amour will be representing Haneke's native Austria instead of Germany, which laid claim to his previous film. South Korea chose Kim Ki-duk's Pietà, this year's Golden Lion winner at the Venice Film Festival, as their submission.

In addition to Caesar Must Die, five other films from the Berlinale competition back in February made the cut: Christian Petzold's Barbara for Germany, Ursula Meier's Sister (L'enfant d'en haut) for Switzerland, Kim Nguyen's War Witch (Rebelle) for Canada, Nikolaj Arcel's A Royal Affair (En kongelig affære) for Denmark, and Benedek Fliegauf's Just the Wind (Csak a szél) for Hungary. Japan's submission, Yang Yong-hi's Our Homeland, and Uruguay's, Rodrigo Plá's The Delay (La demora), screened as part of the Forum section at the Berlinale, and Morocco's submission, Faouzi Bensaïdi's Death for Sale, played in the Panorama section.

Amour will be joined by six other films from this year's Cannes Film Festival: Cristian Mungiu's Beyond the Hills (După dealuri) for Romania, Benjamín Ávila's Clandestine Childhood (Infancia clandestina) for Argentina, Pablo Larraín's No for Chile, Joachim Lafosse's Our Children (À perdre la raison) for Belgium, Michel Franco's After Lucía (Después de Lucía) for Mexico, and Aida Begić's Children of Sarajevo (Djeca) for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Rounding out the rest of the notable contenders: Oliver Nakache and Eric Toledano's box office hit The Intouchables (Intouchables) for France; Chen Kaige's latest Caught in the Web, which recently played at the Toronto International Film Festival, for China; Cate Shortland's German-language feature Lore for Australia; Johnnie To's Life Without Principle for Hong Kong; Baltasar Kormákur's survival drama The Deep (Djúpið) for Iceland; Rama Burshtein's Fill the Void, which took home the Best Actress prize at Venice, for Israel; Annemarie Jacir's When I Saw You for Palestine; João Canijo's family drama Blood of My Blood (Sangue do Meu Sangue) for Portugal; Pablo Berger's Blancanieves, a 1920s-set silent film likely hoping to attract the attention this year's big winner The Artist received, for Spain; Pen-ek Ratanaruang's thriller Headshot for Thailand; and Lasse Halström's The Hypnotist (Hypnotisören), the director's first Swedish-language film in over twenty years, for Sweden.

A full list of the submissions can be found at this link, via Alt Film Guide. It's also worth noting that Iran, who won the previous Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for Asghar Farhadi's A Separation, has officially boycotted the Oscar race. For those in the US, both Life Without Principle and Headshot recently became available on Netflix Instant. As in previous years, the Academy will narrow the list down significantly before announcing the five nominees on January 10th. The 85th Academy Awards will be held on February 24, 2013.

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