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.
Israel, 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.