A Crowded Field Wants Oscar Gold

In a crowded field this year, the foreign film entries reveal newcomers, veterans and a political omission.

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Yesterday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that a record 71 countries were vying for the 2012 Foreign Language Oscar. The remarkable number comes as several movies begin to make film-festival awards lists and jump to the head of a crowded pack.

Notable entries on Monday's list include Nairobi Half Life, which is the first entry ever for the country of Kenya, as well as Austria's Amour, which garnered the top prize at May's Cannes Film Festival. Lasse Hallstrom, director of The Cider House Rules, is also noted on this list for the Swedish film, The Hypnotist.

One huge absence from the foreign film list is last year's winning country, Iran. It won the Oscar for the first time in 2011, with A Separation. Unfortunately, Iran elected this year to withdraw its official selection, A Cube of Sugar, in protest of the anti-Islam film, Innocence of Muslims. That controversial film, released on YouTube, sparked riots that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens.

Here is the 2012 list of entries:

  • Afghanistan, The Patience Stone, Atiq Rahimi, director
  • Albania, Pharmakon, Joni Shanaj, director
  • Algeria, Zabana! Said Ould Khelifa, director
  • Argentina, Clandestine Childhood, Benjamín Ávila, director
  • Armenia, If Only Everyone, Natalia Belyauskene, director
  • Australia, Lore, Cate Shortland, director
  • Austria, Amour, Michael Haneke, director
  • Azerbaijan, Buta, Ilgar Najaf, director
  • Bangladesh, Pleasure Boy Komola, Humayun Ahmed, director
  • Belgium, Our Children, Joachim Lafosse, director
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina, Children of Sarajevo, Aida Begic, director
  • Brazil, The Clown, Selton Mello, director
  • Bulgaria, Sneakers, Valeri Yordanov and Ivan Vladimirov, directors
  • Cambodia, Lost Loves, Chhay Bora, director
  • Canada, War Witch, Kim Nguyen, director
  • Chile, No, Pablo Larraín, director
  • China, Caught in the Web, Chen Kaige, director
  • Colombia, The Snitch Cartel, Carlos Moreno, director
  • Croatia, Vegetarian Cannibal, Branko Schmidt, director
  • Czech Republic, In the Shadow, David Ondrícek, director
  • Denmark, A Royal Affair, Nikolaj Arcel, director
  • Dominican Republic, Jaque Mate, José María Cabral, director
  • Estonia, Mushrooming, Toomas Hussar, director
  • Finland, Purge, Antti J. Jokinen, director
  • France, The Intouchables, Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, directors
  • Georgia, Keep Smiling, Rusudan Chkonia, director
  • Germany, Barbara, Christian Petzold, director
  • Greece, Unfair World, Filippos Tsitos, director
  • Greenland, Inuk, Mike Magidson, director
  • Hong Kong, Life without Principle, Johnnie To, director
  • Hungary, Just the Wind, Bence Fliegauf, director
  • Iceland, The Deep, Baltasar Kormákur, director
  • India, Barfi! Anurag Basu, director
  • Indonesia, The Dancer, Ifa Isfansyah, director
  • Israel, Fill the Void, Rama Burshtein, director
  • Italy, Caesar Must Die, Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Taviani, directors
  • Japan, Our Homeland, Yang Yonghi, director
  • Kazakhstan, Myn Bala: Warriors of the Steppe, Akan Satayev, director
  • Kenya, Nairobi Half Life, David 'Tosh' Gitonga, director
  • Kyrgyzstan, The Empty Home, Nurbek Egen, director
  • Latvia, Gulf Stream under the Iceberg, Yevgeny Pashkevich, director
  • Lithuania, Ramin, Audrius Stonys, director
  • Macedonia, The Third Half, Darko Mitrevski, director
  • Malaysia, Bunohan, Dain Iskandar Said, director
  • Mexico, After Lucia, Michel Franco, director
  • Morocco, Death for Sale, Faouzi Bensaïdi, director
  • Netherlands, Kauwboy, Boudewijn Koole, director
  • Norway, Kon-Tiki, Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, directors
  • Palestine, When I Saw You, Annemarie Jacir, director
  • Peru, The Bad Intentions, Rosario García-Montero, director
  • Philippines, Bwakaw, Jun Robles Lana, director
  • Poland, 80 Million, Waldemar Krzystek, director
  • Portugal, Blood of My Blood, João Canijo, director
  • Romania, Beyond the Hills, Cristian Mungiu, director
  • Russia, White Tiger, Karen Shakhnazarov, director
  • Serbia, When Day Breaks, Goran Paskaljevic, director
  • Singapore, Already Famous, Michelle Chong, director
  • Slovak Republic, Made in Ash, Iveta Grófová, director
  • Slovenia, A Trip, Nejc Gazvoda, director
  • South Africa, Little One, Darrell James Roodt, director
  • South Korea, Pieta, Kim Ki-duk, director
  • Spain, Blancanieves, Pablo Berger, director
  • Sweden, The Hypnotist, Lasse Hallström, director
  • Switzerland, Sister, Ursula Meier, director
  • Taiwan, Touch of the Light, Chang Jung-Chi, director
  • Thailand, Headshot, Pen-ek Ratanaruang, director
  • Turkey, Where the Fire Burns, Ismail Gunes, director
  • Ukraine, The Firecrosser, Mykhailo Illienko, director
  • Uruguay, The Delay, Rodrigo Plá, director
  • Venezuela, Rock, Paper, Scissors, Hernán Jabes, director
  • Vietnam, The Scent of Burning Grass, Nguyen Huu Muoi, director

The nominees will be announced on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2013, at 5:30 a.m. PST on Good Morning America, where the list will be whittled down to five nominees for the 2012 Foreign Language Oscar.

The 85th Annual Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, Feb. 24, and will be hosted by Seth McFarlane at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. If you are interested in sitting in the bleacher seats for Hollywood's biggest night, don't forget to enter the Oscar® Fan Experience lottery, which is open until Nov. 16.

Image courtesy of Darren Decker / ©A.M.P.A.S.

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