The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has issued its shortlist of foreign language releases; as per usual, it’s a mixture of festival favorites, head-scratchers, and glaring omissions. The nine shortlistees––which will be whittled down to five Best Foreign Language Film nominees by January 15––are:
- Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan (Russia), which will start playing in theaters on Christmas Day, and which our own A.A. Dowd wrote up from Cannes.
- Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida (Poland), an unlikely crossover hit both here and in Europe.
- Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure (Sweden), our pick for the 9th best film of 2014.
- Abderrahmane Sissako’s Timbuktu (Mauritania), which we reviewed from Cannes and Toronto.
- Damián Szifrón’s Wild Tales (Argentina), which was recently named Best Foreign Language Film by the National Board Of Review, and which we covered at Cannes.
- Alberto Arvelo’s The Liberator (Venezuela), which got a less-than-stellar review here in October.
- Paula van der Oest’s Accused (Netherlands), which is currently without a US distributor.
- George Ovashvili’s Corn Island (Georgia), which was considered a standout at this year’s Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
- Zaza Urushadze’s Tangerines (Estonia).
Notable omissions include the Dardenne Brothers’ Two Days, One Night––our pick for the second best film of the year––and Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Palme d’Or winner Winter Sleep. Other films that were submitted, but didn’t make the shortlist, include Bertrand Bonello’s Saint Laurent, Dominik Graf’s Beloved Sisters, Ann Hui’s The Golden Era, Kornél Mundruczó’s White God, and Lav Diaz’ Norte, The End Of History. Meanwhile, sentient art-school haircut Xavier Dolan tweeted an “Um…” of disappointment over the exclusion of his film Mommy, the official Canadian entry.