Academy’s foreign shortlist unveiled

Posted by · 10:18 am · January 20th, 2010

Samson and DelilahWell, Guy nailed down four of them.  But you just never know what this controversial branch is going to do.  I’d love to know what the secondary committee had to re-institute (probably “A Prophet”), but nevertheless, we have our nine.

The only films I was predicting that didn’t make the cut are “Backyard” from Mexico and “Forever Enthralled” from China.  Replace those with “Ajami” from Israel (which I JUST took out of my predictions Monday in favor of “The Milk of Sorrow”) and “The Secret in Their Eyes” from Argentina and that would be my bet.

I’ll leave it to Guy with further thoughts later on.  I need to catch up on the rest of films now that it’s a more, shall we say, manageable list.  Check out the full list of nine, from an original list of 65 submissions, after the jump.

“The Secret in Their Eyes” (Argentina)
“Samson & Delilah” (Australia)
“The World is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner” (Bulgaria)
“A Prophet” (France)
“The White Ribbon” (Germany)
“Ajami” (Israel)
“Kelin” (Kazakhstan)
“Winter in Wartime” (Netherlands)
“The Milk of Sorrow” (Peru)

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39 responses so far

  • 1 1-20-2010 at 10:24 am

    Bill Melidoneas said...

    I also predicted four of these: Ajami, White Ribbon, The Prophet, & Winter in Wartime while also thinking Milk of Sorrow & Secret in their Eyes were viable candidates. And of course we’ve been hearing about Samson and Deliliah from it’s festival run on.

    Now I will predict: White Ribbon, The Prophet, Winter in Wartime, Ajami, & Secret in their Eyes. We’re looking at Germany, France, Israel, Netherlands, and Argentina. Though I can definitely see Samson kicking Ajami or Secret out.

  • 2 1-20-2010 at 10:24 am

    han said...

    “The Secret in Their Eyes” is this year’s “Departures.”

  • 3 1-20-2010 at 10:25 am

    Pablo (Col) said...

    This category is always tricky. So I predict the following:

    * Australia
    * Argentina
    * France
    * Germany
    * Peru

  • 4 1-20-2010 at 10:27 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    han: You’re probably right.

  • 5 1-20-2010 at 10:29 am

    aspect ratio said...

    I have four of these in my current predictions (Police, Adjective was in my fifth slot, with Ajami in sixth) so I’d say so far my predicting is going pretty well.

  • 6 1-20-2010 at 10:31 am

    Ivan said...

    I go for


  • 7 1-20-2010 at 10:40 am

    Mike said...

    Wow, with the exception of the ridiculous though probably expected exclusion of Mother, this is probably one of the best shortlists this category has ever had. I really can’t imagine there being too many complaints about these nine. And I’m particularly proud that they didn’t put forward the absolutely atrocious Baaria.

  • 8 1-20-2010 at 10:43 am

    Bill Melidoneas said...

    Can we objectively dismiss the Kelvin and the Bulgarian film. Bring us down to 7.

    Put White Ribbon and The Prophet in the final five where they rightfully belong.

    Which three from Secret of their Eyes, Winter in Wartime, The Milk of Sorrow, and Ajami get through?

  • 9 1-20-2010 at 10:45 am

    N8 said...

    I imagine it was “Samson & Delilah” that needed the Executive Committee’s help on this one. It has so little dialogue, about half of which is English, I’m surprised (though relieved) that the Foreign Language branch hasn’t disqualified it already.

    Here’s hoping it’ll make it in.

  • 10 1-20-2010 at 10:46 am

    Michael said...

    wow, I was expecting a snub from either The White Ribbon or A Prophet so I am actually kinda shocked that they were BOTH included on the short list. Now if they both manage to make it as official nominees on Feb. 2nd then that will be really surprising. I have heard mumblings about Ajami, Winter in Wartime, Samson & Delilah, and The Milk Of Sorrow, but I am unfamiliar with any of the rest of the films. I have no idea how the final five will look, but I always make a point every year to try to watch all five nominees if not before the awards ceremony, then at some point afterwards (since oftentimes these films wont even be released in the US for many months later.)

  • 11 1-20-2010 at 10:49 am

    Mike said...

    Ah, and I forgot about I Killed My Mother not making it, I’m sure that’ll draw some derision (haven’t seen it myself). But it was never the sort of film that was going to fly with this branch.

  • 12 1-20-2010 at 10:50 am

    tintin said...

    The Secret in Their Eyes is excelentttttttttt!!!!!!!
    Viva Argentinaaaa!!! Vamos por ese oscar!

  • 13 1-20-2010 at 10:54 am

    Mr. Harmonica said...

    My first prediction before the shortlist was revealed was Ajami, The Milk of Sorrow, A Prophet, Samson and Delilah, and The White Ribbon. Glad to see all five are here. And I would think that that’s a likely lot still, however, I can see one of the two Cannes titans, WR or AP, not making it. Maybe The White Ribbon because I think the Foreign Film branch gets off on upsets and snubs.

    But, nonetheless:

    AJAMI (Israel)
    A PROPHET (France)
    SAMSON AND DELILAH (Australia)
    THE WHITE RIBBON (Germany)

  • 14 1-20-2010 at 10:56 am

    James D. said...

    The White Ribbon, A Prophet, and Samson and Delilah are three of my predicted nominees, while Baaria and Forever Enthralled are gone.

    I guess the Milk of Sorrow and the Secret in their Eyes will round out my five until it finally comes out.

  • 15 1-20-2010 at 11:10 am

    maurier said...

    What a nice list, no significant omissions. And I’m so thrilled The Milk of Sorrow made the cut. My predictions are now:

  • 16 1-20-2010 at 11:19 am

    John said...

    El secreto de sus ojos is an amazing film, a masterpiece, and if is nominated can easily win. Also the cast is from another world, all great performances.

  • 17 1-20-2010 at 11:22 am

    Lance said...

    “The White Ribbon” will win and will probably be the surprise nominee in a lot of other categories. People who like this film are really passionate about it, so I see it getting many #1 slots on the ballots.

    People often underestimate the foreign films but they often become surprise nominees in some big categories – remember “Red” (cinematography, writing and directing) “Europa Europa” (writing), Las Cage aux Folles (Directing and Writing), Fanny and Alexander (writing and directing), My Life as a Dog (writing and directing) – Just to mention a few.

  • 18 1-20-2010 at 11:26 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I don’t think anyone is underestimating anything, Lance, but The White Ribbon could certainly show up for directing and/or cinematography.

  • 19 1-20-2010 at 11:32 am

    Brent said...

    Haneke shows up in a Directing spot and I’ll be the happiest person around.

    Many find his films cold and distanced. Not me. I still remember seeing Cache. When the credits came up I stood up and hit PLAY again.

  • 20 1-20-2010 at 11:36 am

    Michael said...

    I love Haneke’s films, I own every one of them on DVD (including The Castle) and am dying to see The White Ribbon. My local arthouse theater has been playing a trailer for it for over a month and has its poster in the lobby but it still hasn’t come yet and it is driving me nuts! I need to see it first before being able to comment officially on the merits of the particular film, but as an obsessive fan I would be very happy for his film to be nominated in multiple categories beyond just the best foreign language film.

  • 21 1-20-2010 at 11:58 am

    Nigel Bridgeman said...

    Even though I thought it was one of the best films of the year, I’m still surprised that Samson & Delilah is on the shortlist. As N8 said, there’s hardly any dialogue and a great deal of the dialogue that is there is English. Still, I’ll be extremely happy if the film gets a nomination.

  • 22 1-20-2010 at 12:30 pm

    McAllister said...

    So glad “Ajami” made the cut. It is absolutely one of the best films I’ve seen in a very long time. I would love it to come out of nowhere and beat “The White Ribbon” and “A Prophet.” After all, Israel is now the most nominated country without ever having won (will be 0-8 if nominated this year).

  • 23 1-20-2010 at 12:36 pm

    Zac said...

    For some reason, I thought that Broken Embraces was Spain’s entry and was surprised not to see it on the shortlist.

    It doesn’t matter what the other nominees are; The White Ribbon is winning this one.

    Then again, I thought Waltz with Bashir was going to win going away last year, so what do I know? :)

  • 24 1-20-2010 at 12:40 pm

    McAllister said...

    Yes, I thought “Waltz with Bashir” would win last year too (and was so dissapointed when it didn’t) and I thought “Pan’s Labyrinth” would win the year it was nominated (but lost to “The Lives of Others.”

  • 25 1-20-2010 at 2:23 pm

    Zizo Abul Hawa said...

    Ajami is kind of a Crash with Jews, Arab-Israeli-Muslims, Arab-Israeli-Christians, Palestinians… So it’s defintely in.

  • 26 1-20-2010 at 2:34 pm

    McAllister said...

    ^It is like Crash… but it’s about ten thousand times better.

  • 27 1-20-2010 at 2:38 pm

    Zizo Abul Hawa said...

    I loved both, but I dont count because I’m Arab Israeli Muslim so, it’s like my vote for Brokeback Mountain doesn’t count either, because I’m gay.

  • 28 1-20-2010 at 3:32 pm

    Kevin said...

    Zac: I think Spain’s entry was “The Dancer and the Thief”. Spain’s nominating committee generated dissent this year for again passing over Almodovar’s film.

  • 29 1-20-2010 at 3:35 pm

    Kevin said...

    Hopefully, Australia can land its first-ever nomination in the category with “Samson”, from what I’ve heard (and its critical success), it certainly would not be an embarrassing choice at all.

  • 30 1-20-2010 at 4:20 pm

    Me. said...

    No “Baaria”?!?!?!?!?!
    Throws tomatoes at voters.

    But YAY to “The White Ribbon”. Here’s hoping it gets nominated.

  • 31 1-20-2010 at 4:22 pm

    Me. said...

    Also my predictions were
    A Prophet
    Samson and Delilah
    The White Ribbon

    So expect for Baaria I’m doing pretty well. I guess I’ll replace it with Argentina’s submission.

  • 32 1-20-2010 at 4:23 pm

    Me. said...


  • 33 1-20-2010 at 5:00 pm

    Maxim said...

    A small correction, McAllister.

    “So glad “Ajami” made the cut. It is absolutely one of the best films I’ve seen in a very long time. I would love it to come out of nowhere and beat “The White Ribbon” and “A Prophet.” After all, Israel is now the most nominated country without ever having won (will be 0-8 if nominated this year).”

    Right now Isreal is tied with Poland with 8 nominations each. If it gets nominated and loses, then it will brake the tie with 9 noms.

    ‘Waltz with Bashir’s’ director’s next project – which is a science fiction film based on a novel by Stanislaw Lem might well win it.

  • 34 1-20-2010 at 6:26 pm

    Klemen said...

    Dissapointed about Mother and I Killed My Mother, but they never had much chance.I guess we should just be happy about The White Ribbon…now watch it miss the nomination.You never know with them.

    @Zizo Abul Hawa-i get that people might generally root for movies from their countries for obvious reasons, but I don’t agree about Brokeback.It’s not like a gay person would vote for every gay movie made.It would be like a vote for Titanic not counting if made by a heterosexual:)

  • 35 1-20-2010 at 8:34 pm

    Glenn said...


  • 36 1-21-2010 at 7:26 am

    PabloV99 said...

    I just can say that “El secreto de sus ojos (The secret in their eyes)” is one of the best pictures I ever see, is one of that movies that, when you leave the theater, remains in a corner of your mind and you can’t avoid that the scenes (and feelings, and questions) comes again and again to your head…
    Obviously I would like that El Secreto… wins an Oscar, because I’m from Argentina and my heart is with it, but… the more I desire is that all people can view it because is really a jewel.
    And, at least for all those who say “that movie is the better” or “that must win”. You can’t compare one movie whith another one that you haven’t saw!! Please go to theater and see all the candidates before write your opinion or vote!!
    As yet I could not see all candidates, then I can’t make my list. I just can express my deepest desire with this movie.

  • 37 1-21-2010 at 8:52 am

    Erik 815 said...

    To any fans of “Waltz with Bashir” or “Pan’s Labyrinth” afraid that “the White Ribbon” might not win this year, fear not: it has no bright colors, animation, monsters, etc. It’s the closest thing to a WW2 / Holocaust film after “Wartime in Winter”, and that’s soooo not gonna win.

    Ineresting to note, by the way, that the latter film was nominated despite not originally being submitted by the Netherlands. Their original entry was “the Silent Army” (a terrible, terrible, schmaltzy, preachy, poorly acted drama). It’s especially interesting if you recall that the Dutch 1997 oscar winner “Character” was also the backup choice after the original choice, middle-of-the-road soccer comedy “All Stars”, was withdrawn.