In one of the biggest snubs in Oscar history, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nine-short listed films for the 2017 Foreign Language Film Oscar and Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle” was not on the list.
The French submitted drama stars Isabelle Huppert in an Oscar-worthy performance and has earned raves since it debuted at Cannes in May. It’s also one of the most critically acclaimed films of the year (89 on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic) and a staple of year-end top ten lists (including The Playlist’s own). Academy members are said to have problems getting past the film’s first scene where Huppert’s character is raped (a horrible sign for Huppert’s nomination chances) and thereby check out of the rest of the film. The problem is that the Foreign Language committee, chaired by Mark Johnson, has three slots to save these particular films for the second round of voting. The idea Johnson and his team did not select “Elle” as one of the final nine is jaw-dropping.
But wait, there’s more.
Chile’s “Neruda” (directed by “Jackie’s” Pablo Larrain), Spain’s “Julieta” (directed by Pedro Almodovar) and acclaimed UK drama “Under the Shadow” were also left off the list while Xavier Dolan‘s critically ripped “It’s Only the End of the World” (48 on Metacritic), which shocked with a Grand Jury prize at Cannes, somehow also made the shortlist. What both instances show is that the larger industry and critics are on polar ends of the spectrum when it comes to international cinema. That may be problematic for The Academy if it wants to keep its reputation as a true arbiter of global cinema.
Here are the rest of this year’s shortlisted films listed by the country that submitted them.
Australia, “Tanna,” Bentley Dean, Martin Butler, directors
Canada, “It’s Only the End of the World,” Xavier Dolan, director
Denmark, “Land of Mine,” Martin Zandvliet, director
Germany, “Toni Erdmann,” Maren Ade, director
Iran, “The Salesman,” Asghar Farhadi, director
Norway, “The King’s Choice,” Erik Poppe, director
Russia, “Paradise,” Andrei Konchalovsky, director
Sweden, “A Man Called Ove,” Hannes Holm, director
Switzerland, “My Life as a Zucchini,” Claude Barras, director
The next phase of the Foreign Language Film process will involve screening for specially invited committees in New York, Los Angeles and London. These new voters will spend Friday, January 13, through Sunday, January 15, viewing three films each day and then casting their ballots.
In theory, “Toni Erdmann,” “My Life as a Zucchini,” “The Salesman,” “Land of Mine” and “The King’s Choice” are your five nominees, but nothing would surprise at this point.
The final five will be announce when the rest of the 89th Academy Award nominations are revealed on Tues. Jan 24.