There's almost always some controversy around the Best Foreign category at the Oscars. This or that film doesn't make it in because of some minutae of the rules, and critics (and sometimes, directors and producers) howl in protest. When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for the category this year, though, it was a bit different. The loudest howls of protest were not over the films excluded for various obscure rules, but over the exclusion of Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu's Cannes winner, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days (aka, "that Romanian abortion film." )

The Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips wrote on his Talking Pictures blog recently (originally posted February 5, and rerun today) about the film's exclusion. Phillips writes that the film was third on his own Top Ten list for the year, saying, "It is a rare film indeed that shows you so much in the way of dire circumstances, yet does not exploit or cheapen the human factor." Phillips talked to Mungiu about the film for this post, and the director has some rather astute things to say about some specific decisions he made with regard to the filmmaking.