Sweden’s “The Square,” Russia’s “Loveless” and Chile’s “A Fantastic Woman” are among the nine films that will advance in the Oscars race for Best Foreign Language Film, the Academy announced on Wednesday.
The other films that made the list come from Germany (“In the Fade,” starring Diane Kruger), Hungary (“On Body and Soul”), Israel (“Foxtrot”), Lebanon (“The Insult”), Senegal (“Félicité”) and South Africa (“The Wound”).
Angelina Jolie’s Cambodian-language film “First They Killed My Father” did not advance in the race, and neither did the critically acclaimed “BPM (Beats Per Minute)” by Robin Campillo.
Other high-profile films that didn’t make the cut include Austria’s “Happy End,” Norway’s “Thelma,” Italy’s “A Ciambra,” Belgium’s “Racer and the Jailbird” and China’s “Wolf Warrior 2.”
See the full list below:
Chile, “A Fantastic Woman,” Sebastián Lelio, director
Germany, “In the Fade,” Fatih Akin, director;
Hungary, “On Body and Soul,” Ildikó Enyedi, director
Israel, “Foxtrot,” Samuel Maoz, director
Lebanon, “The Insult,” Ziad Doueiri, director
Russia, “Loveless,” Andrey Zvyagintsev, director
Senegal, “Félicité,” Alain Gomis, director
South Africa, “The Wound,” John Trengove, director
Sweden, “The Square,” Ruben Ostlund, director
The films were selected from the 92 that qualified for the award, which shattered the previous record of 85.
Volunteer members from all branches of the Academy viewed and scored all the eligible films at screenings over the last two months, with their votes choosing six films for the shortlist. The Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee then met to choose an additional three films to complete the shortlist.
The Academy never reveals which shortlisted films were chosen by the general committee and which were executive-committee “saves,” but the general voters are known to have responded favorably to “The Insult,” “On Body and Soul” and “A Fantastic Woman,” among others.
The dark and grim “Loveless” is a likely save, and anecdotal evidence suggests that twisted comedy “The Square” might have required executive-committee intercession as well.
The nine semi-finalists will now be narrowed down to five nominees in a significantly expanded Phase 2 process. In the past, second-round voting was done by small, hand-picked committees in Los Angeles, New York and London, which typically had a penchant for choosing the tougher, artier films that could well have required saves.
This year, though, Phase 2 committees in New York, San Francisco and London will be open to all members who agree to see all nine films – and outside of the U.S. and London, international members will be able to participate in the voting by streaming the nine movies on the Academy’s secure members’ website.
The changes should add far more voters to the nominating process, particularly international voters, and the increased number of voters could skew the vote in a way that will benefit audience-friendly films.
Oscars nominations will be announced on Jan. 23.