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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

January 22, 2010 at 11:46 AM

Oscar news: Where are the foreign-language films?

Oscar ballots are in the mail this week, due to be received by accounting firm Pricewaterhousecoopers (yes, it’s really all one word) by January 23. So this weekend’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, televised Saturday night on TBS/TNT, won’t be a factor in the nominations, but might tell us a few things: Will the vast SAG membership, in the surprisingly hard-to-call best actress category, honor a veteran like Meryl Streep or Helen Mirren, a popular star like Sandra Bullock, or a newcomer like Gabourey Sidibe or Carey Mulligan? Will Jeff Bridges follow up his Golden Globes win with another? Will anyone other than Christoph Waltz and Mo’Nique win a supporting actor/actress award this year? We’ll see.
And, in other Oscar news, the Academy this week announced the nine finalists for the foreign-language film award: “El Secreto de Sus Ojos” (Argentina), “Samson & Delilah” (Australia), “The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner” (Bulgaria), “A Prophet” (France), “The White Ribbon” (Germany), “Ajami” (Israel), “Kelin” (Kazakhstan), “Winter in Wartime” (The Netherlands), and “The Milk of Sorrow” (Peru). All nine have something in common: None have graced Seattle theaters for a regular run. “The White Ribbon,” directed by Michael Haneke, will be here January 29, and “A Prophet” will play Seattle in March. None of the others are currently booked to play here; many do not have U.S. distribution. Some may turn up at the Seattle International Film Festival; stay tuned.
And, if you’re wondering why your favorite foreign-language film this year isn’t on the list — for me, “Coco Before Chanel,” “Broken Embraces,” “Lemon Tree,” “Treeless Mountain,” and two documentaries: “The Beaches of Agnes” and “La Danse” — don’t blame the Academy. In all likelihood it wasn’t chosen by the participating countries’ selection committees, which are restricted to one movie each.

Audrey Tautou in “Coco Before Chanel” — no foreign-language nomination here, but maybe one for costumes? (Photo courtesy Sony Pictures Classics)

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