The Academy Awards continue their French love affair with this year’s Best Foreign Language Film contender Un Prophete. It marks the 36th time France has been nominated in this category. The Oscar has gone to the country nine times.
Un Prophete won the Grand Prize of the Jury and was nominated for the Golden Palm Award at 2009’s Cannes Film Festival. In addition, Un Prophete was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film in the 2010 Golden Globes, but lost out to Germany’s The White Ribbon. Germany and France will again compete in this year’s Oscar race as both Un Prophete and The White Ribbon are up for Best Foreign Language Film.
The White Ribbon is also nominated in the Best Cinematography award category, competing against Avatar, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Hurt Locker, and Inglourious Basterds.
While not as popular as other Oscar categories, Best Foreign Language Films have gone on to achieve success in the U.S., notably France’s 2001 nominee Amelie, which launched the career of Audrey Tautou.
The nominees for the 82nd Academy Awards Foreign Language Film category are:
- The White Ribbon (Germany) relates the tale of a German village on the eve of WWI. The children of a church and school run by the village schoolteacher and their families experience a series of bizarre incidents that inexplicably assume the characteristics of a punishment ritual. The film was shot in color, then altered into black and white, which may explain its additional entry into best cinematography category. This is the ninth nomination for Germany. The White Ribbon is now playing at the Uptown Theatre.
- Un Prophete (France) The movie is about a young, illiterate Arab man sent to a French prison. This is the 36th nomination for France, with nine overall wins.
- Ajami (Israel) Ajami is a religiously mixed community of Muslims and Christians in Tel Aviv. The film describes five stories about everyday life in Ajami. This is the ninth nomination for Israel.
- El Secreto de Sus Ojos-The Secret in Their Eyes (Argentina) This film tells the tale of a man’s attempt to solve a decades-old murder of a young woman. This is the sixth nomination for Argentina, with one previous Oscar.
- The Milk of Sorrow (Peru) The film describes a period of sexual violence against women in Peru. Director Claudia Llosa feels the trauma faced by the abused women is passed to their children through their milk. This is the first nomination for Peru.
The five movies vying for Best Foreign Film was trimmed from 65 submitted countries. The nominations were determined in two phases, according to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Phase I committee consisted of several hundred LA-based members who screened the 65 eligible films. That group’s top six choices, along with three additional selections voted by the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee, made up a shortlist of nine. The shortlist was trimmed to five nominees by committees in New York and Los Angeles after viewing the films and casting their ballots.
The Foreign Film Oscar winner will be announced at the live broadcast of the Academy Awards on March 7.