OK, I think this is the last narrowing-down-the-list that will occur before the actual Oscar nominations are announced a week from Thursday. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has whittled the candidates in the Best Foreign-Language category to these nine semi-finalists. It is from these that the five nominees will be chosen:

Revanche, Austria; The Necessities of Life, Canada; The Class, France; The Baader Meinhof Complex, Germany; Waltz with Bashir, Israel; Departures, Japan; Tear This Heart Out, Mexico; Everlasting Moments, Sweden; Three Monkeys, Turkey.

If the Turkish film is nominated, it will be a first for that country, which has submitted a film every year since 1992 but has never made the Big 5. The other countries have all been nominated before, though Mexico and Israel have never won.

These nine shortlist contenders were culled from 67 entries. After embarrassing situations in previous years where the Academy's stodgy old foreign-language nominating committee neglected films that should have at least made the shortlist, a new rule was implemented this year that allowed that group to choose only six of the nine semi-finalists. The other three were chosen by the Academy's "foreign-film executive committee," which skews younger and less boring. The Academy didn't say which films on the shortlist came from which group, though.

As you probably know, each country is permitted to submit only one film per year. If you want to see what everyone submitted this year -- and rail against the Academy for not shortlisting, say, Italy's Gomorra or Jordan's Captain Abu Raed -- the complete list is here.
categories Oscars, Cinematical