The Oscars’ top foreign film shortlist

While Pakistan didn’t make the cut, it’s nice to see the underdogs rise.

Reuters December 24, 2013
From the 76 films submitted, only nine remain contenders for the Oscar. PHOTOS: FILE

LOS ANGELES: Films from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia and Palestine made the shortlist of candidates vying for the best foreign language film Oscar nomination, the Academy Awards organiser said on Friday.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences winnowed down 76 foreign films to nine in the first phase of the nomination process. The five final nominees for the Oscar award will be announced on January 16, 2014.

Cambodia’s French-language documentary The Missing Picture, which uses clay figurines to tell the story of the bloody reign of the Khmer Rouge government, made the list, taking a step closer to becoming the country’s first film to score an Oscar nomination.

Director Hany Abu-Assad, whose 2005 film Paradise Now earned Palestine’s only Oscar foreign-language nomination thus far, made the list with thriller Omar.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, which won the Oscar statuette in 2002 for No Man’s Land in the only instance it earned a nomination, made the shortlist with the drama An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker.

Acclaimed Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai’s ode to Kung Fu, The Grandmaster, also made the shortlist. The art house director, considered one of the world’s top film-makers and best-known for dramas Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love, has never had a film nominated for an Oscar.

Notably absent from the list was Iranian domestic drama The Past starring French actor Berenice Bejo and directed by Asghar Farhadi, whose 2011 drama A Separation won the best foreign language Oscar.

The annual Academy Awards, Hollywood’s top film honors, will be handed out on March 2, 2014.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2013.

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