The Academy Award nominations were announced earlier this week at Hollywood's Kodak theater. Though not many in the US really care about the Best Foreign Language Film category, the Academy Awards celebrations continue to be 'the' opportunity for international film-makers to shine at a global stage. Here's the list of final 5 nominations shortlisted from a massive 63 submissions.
Undoubtedly the leading contender for the Oscar crown, Asghar Farhadi's brilliant human drama with a Hitchcockian touch has won countless awards at festivals around the world. It was most notably the Winner of Golden Bear at 2011 Berlinale along with Best Actor & Actress Silver Bears. A Separation also won the Golden Globe earlier this month. It'll be interesting to see an Iranian film winning amidst all the political tensions.
A drama about the power struggle between a son and father, both teaching at the eccentric Talmud department of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, captured attention at the 2011 Cannes Film festival winning the Best Screenplay Award as well as a Palme d'or nomination for writer-director Joseph Cedar. At home, the movie won an impressive 9 Ophir awards (Israel's equivalent of the Academy Awards).
Written and directed by Michael R. Roskam, Rundskop (Bullhead), the movie premiered at the Austin Fantastic Film Festival and won the awards for Best Actor, Best Film and Best Director. Matthias Schoenaerts gives a tour-de-force reminiscent of a tragic greek anti-hero, and Michael R. Roskam's remarkable direction makes it a masterful character study and a brilliant neo-noir cinematic experience.
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
The surprise entrant to the final nominee list, Monsieur Lazhar is writer-director Philippe Falardeau's French-Arabic drama about a Algerian Immigrant hired to replace a elementary school teacher who has killed herself. A fresh approach to class-room dramas, the movie beautifully explores the emotions of the young pupil coping with their teacher's suicide, with Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag) battling demons of his own.
In Darkness (Poland)
An Oscar nominee list is rarely ever without a moving tale of Jewish refugees in a fight of survival against the Nazis. Directed by Agnieszka Holland (Europa Europa), In Darkness is a grueling and arduous holocaust survival drama based on a true story of Leopold Soha, a thief who hid and protected 14 Jewish refugees in the sewers of Nazi-occupied town of Lvov in Poland.