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Foreign Oscar Track: Israel and Norway

Two more countries, neither of which have ever won the Foreign Film Prize in Hollywood, have announced their finalists lists.

We'll take Norway first since it's less popular with Oscar (5 nominations) and because I stand humbly before you to say I was wrong. My conjecture about what might be submitted -- other than the new Joachim Trier -- was quite wobbly. The three finalists are not the biggies from the Amanda awards but Joachim Trier’s Oslo, August 31st (Oslo, 31. august) which we briefly discussed, Anne Sewitsky’s Happy, Happy (Sykt lykkelig) and Jens Lien’s Sons of Norway (Sønner av Norge). While Trier has the highest international profile, that doesn't always equate with submission choice. Happy Happy is a very frisky marital comedy (I ♥ the trailer) and Sons of Norway is a punk rock coming of age film that even features a cameo from Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten. Neither of the trailers are subtitled and both feature nudity but if you want to see them they're here: Happy Happy and Sons of Norway.

Award winning filmmaker Joseph CedarIsrael, which has been nominated nine times (and thrice consecutively in recent years), just announced the nominees for their Oscars, the Ophir Awards.  This is always the list they pull from for their Best Foreign Language Film submission so it's probably going to be the 13 times nominated (whew) frontrunner Joseph Cedar's Footnote which played at Cannes winning the Screenplay award but garnering somewhat mixed reviews. It's about feuding father and son professors at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Writer/director Joseph Cedar, who was actually born here in New York City, was previously nominated for the soldier drama Beaufort (2007). 

But if there's a dark horse submission it'll be one of these four: Yossi Madmoni's Restoration, Nadav Lapid's Policeman (Ha-Shoter) Marco Carmel's My Lovely Sister or Maya Kenig's Off White Lies... all of which are more difficult to find info on then the Norwegian films at this point.

Slowly Evolving Oscar Foreign Film Pages Are Here.

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Reader Comments (7)

For Korea, 6 films are put on a shortlist. Poongsan, Sunny, The Yellow Sea, The Front Line, Hanji, and The Day He Arrives. I'm shocked that The Journals of Musan is not in the consideration.

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJin

I hope this means I'll get to see Oslo soon. Was such a massive fan of Reprise.

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRJ

Jin -- argh. The Yellow Sea played here once and I missed it due to a conflict. sigh. i probably won't get to see any of these.

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

Well, even so, I think you're not missing a lot.

August 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJin

We have four countries with the final selections:

*Greece: Attenberg
*Poland: In Darkness
*Romania: Morgen
*Turkey: Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

I think Footnote has a good chance for winning, but Restoration is a compelling contender and could another Lebanon/Ajami debacle....

Also Colombia has three finalists:

*Little Voices. Trailer:
*Greetings to the Devil. Trailer: (Starring Edgar Ramirez)
*The Colors of the Mountain. Trailer:

Some predictions:

*Austria: Michael. Trailer:
*Canada: Cafe de Flore. Trailer:
*France: Declaration of War. Trailer: (Great reviews and excellent topic)
*Germany: Der ganz große Traum. Trailer: (I'm not sure about this, but a naked Daniel Bruhl isn't a bad thing :P)
*Iran: Nader and Simin: A Separation. Trailer: (If it wasn't a political motivation)
*Lebanon: Where Do We Go Now?. Trailer: (After her film "Caramel")
*Mexico: Miss Bala. Trailer: (Based on the real and mediatic story of Laura Zuñiga, former Beauty queen involved with organized crime. Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna are executive producers)
*Peru: Octubre. Trailer: (Jury Prize - Un Certain Regard in Cannes 2010)
*Russia: Elena. Trailer: (Ditto in Iran)
*South Africa: Beauty. Trailer: (Also, I'm not sure if the local comitee would choosed this film, but if Dogtooth did make it...)
*Switzerland: Manipulation. Trailer: (WWII + espionage + Klaus Maria Brandauer + Sebastian Koch)
*United Kingdom: Patagonia. Trailer: (With Matthey Rhys and Duffy)

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Thanks for the in-depth coverage of Israel and Norway! I thought documentary "Tears of Gaza" would be the surprise pick for Norway, but now it looks like Joachim Trier's "Oslo, August 31st" should have it easy...Remember though that they surprised everyone last year by snubbing "A Somewhat Gentle Man".

Venezuela and Mexico have each narrowed the race down to eleven films ( (

I'm happy that I picked four of the six-film Korean shortlist! I missed The Day He Arrives (I hear it's terrible!) and Sunny. The Koreans are usually very good at releasing their movies on DVD with English subtitles.

As for Finland, the moody, temperamental and only marginally talented Aki Kaurismaki has demanded his films be withdrawn from the competition twice. So I think the Finns will leave him and "Le Havre" alone this time, and select someone more grateful for the honor.

I've posted my predictions for all the countries here at

Thanks always for the great coverage, Nathaniel!

August 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAD

This has been a bad year for Norwegian film. "Oslo, 31. August" was not nearly as good as I thought it would be - but then again, I might had too high expectations with "Reprise" in mind. Trier is a talented filmmaker, though, so I look forward to his future projects. When it comes to "Sykt Lykkelig" (Happy Happy), I went to it with quite low expectations and it still managed to disappoint. I hate it when Norwegian movies tries to be so special all the time.

September 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRocky
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