The Czech Republic's entry for the Academy Awards' foreign-language category, I Served the King of England (Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále), has a better-than-average chance of getting a nomination. As I told you in September, when it was chosen, it was directed by Jiri Menzel, whose Closely Watched Trains won the foreign-language Oscar way back in 1968. That was one of two wins and another four nominations in Czechoslovakia's Oscar history. Since splitting into the Czech Republic in 1993, the country has had three more nominations, including a win in 1996.

Perhaps Sony Pictures Classics has realized the film's potential with this year's Oscars, because the company has bought North American rights to it. Variety reports that the sale was conducted at the American Film Market a few weeks ago, and that the film has sold to about four dozen other countries already. No word yet on when Sony will release it in the States, but I would suspect it will be whenever they think it will do the most good in terms of swaying Oscar voters.

I Served the King of England won top prizes at the Czech Lions (their Oscar equivalent) back in March, and Menzel won the FIPRESCI Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival. Variety gave it a glowing review, calling it a "beguiling, bigger-than-life black comedy." It covers the 1930s through the 1950s, following a man who wants to be a wealthy hotelier. The country's political and social upheavals of that time period serve as the backdrop. The name of Forrest Gump is invoked in more than one review of the film ... which is either a good thing or a bad thing, I guess.
categories Movies, Cinematical