The Academy’s Foreign Language branch has narrowed down the candidates for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar to nine finalists, with a couple of notable exclusions. Most egregious is Paul Verhoeven’s French thriller Elle, which has a serious Best Actress contender in Isabelle Huppert. Apparently the Foreign Language branch of the Academy—which whittles down the submitted films to the final nominees—wasn’t crazy about the picture. Also absent is Pedro Almodovar’s well-received Julieta, from Spain; the Pablo Larrain-helmed Neruda from Chile; and the Italian refugee documentary Fire at Sea.
The films that did make the cut are as follows:
Tanna – Australia
It’s Only the End of the World – Canada
Land of Mine – Denmark
Toni Erdmann – Germany
The Salesman – Iran
The King’s Choice – Norway
Paradise – Russia
A Man Called Ove – Sweden
My Life as a Zucchini – Switzerland
The Academy’s Foreign Language branch is infamously nitpicky, resulting in surprising snubs year-after-year. This also explains how Xavier Dolan’s critically panned It’s Only the End of the World made the cut over the aforementioned critical darlings. At this point, the branch will vote once more to result in the list of nominees, and it seems like Toni Erdmann is probably the frontrunner to win. The German comedy is one of the better reviewed films of the year and made a clean sweep at the European Film Awards.
And if you’re wondering where Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden is, the erotic drama was not selected by South Korea as the country’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.
For more on the Oscar race, catch up with my Oscar Beat features here. Nominations for the 89th Oscars will be announced on January 24th.