If I were a cynic I'd say: So representatives from France and the other countries presumably now know who to schmooze. It's easier to sway the opinion of 20 people who've watched 9 movies than hundreds who've watched 50. So let the best schmoozer win.
On the other hand: This gives the critical community more power. That's not always good (they're hardly infallible) but that would presumably prevent AMPAS embarrassments like the snubs for City of God, In the Mood For Love or Run Lola Run. A smaller committee looking at finalists will know: Hey, this movie is supposed to be a masterpiece.
Of the 61 original entries, one removed itself from contention early on (that'd be Finland) and 51 others were dismissed this week. So who did make the finals?
Hit foreign films Water (Canada), Volver (Spain), and Pan's Labyrinth (Mexico) made it to no one's shock and amazement. The raved Germany entry The Lives of Others also placed. The other finalists are Days of Glory (Algeria), After The Wedding (Denmark), Avenue Montaigne (France), Black Book(The Netherlands) and Vitus (Switzerland).
- Volver still looks all set for a nom, despite not igniting in quite the way I hoped.
- Academy rules prevent Americans like Clint Eastwood and Mel Gibson from
encouraging voter laziness and letting them just choose American films that happen to have subtitlesentering the foreign category so this is the first foreign kudo list you'll see this year that doesn't include two American films: Apocalypto and Letters From Iwo Jima.
- 33% of these films are from female directors. That's a nice turn of events and a reminder to Hollywood that other countries don't have such a strange "no women allowed" policy on filmmaking.
- One of those female directors made Avenue Montaigne, the French entry which is just not very good at all.
- Certainly not as good as Curse of the Golden Flower which was the highest profile snub.
- Given their reputations, it's frustrating that we probably won't get to see the following films (Academy recognition helps distribution happen) any time soon: Australia's aboriginal myth Ten Canoes, Egypts controversial contemporary drama The Yacoubian Building, Iceland's Children, Korea's The King and the Clown and Romania's The Way I Spent the End of the World.
Tags: foreign films, movies, Oscars, Academy Awards, cinema, Film, Borat, Finland, France, Germany,Kazakhstan, Pedro Almodovar