The power and influence of foreign film has never been more apparent in recent memory when it comes to the Oscars than this year, with Michael Haneke’s beautifully frank French-language look at aging, Amour, being nominated for both best picture and best foreign language film, best director, best actress, and best original screenplay.
Other nominated movies announced Thursday morning in the best foreign language film category for the 85th annual Academy Awards, airing live on ABC Feb. 24, range from Norway’s watery expedition adventure Kon-Tiki to fellow Scandinavian country Denmark’s A Royal Affair, an 18th century set royals drama, to Chile’s NO, starring Gael Garcia Bernal, about the real-life “NO” TV ad campaign that aired during dictator Augusto Pinochet’s reign, and Canada’s War Witch, a French-language story about a teenage Congolese girl abducted by a rebel army to fight for their cause.
Austria’s Amour, with its multiple Oscar nominations and other awards season wins, has been touted as a clear frontrunner, but the category’s mix of tales based on real-life stories, political intrigue, and emotional relationships gives it some heft. Check out these reactions from the films’ directors, below:
Michael Haneke for Amour
“I am very happy and gratified by the Oscar nominations that Amour has received today, and that the voting members of the Academy have taken the film so strongly to their hearts. It is fulfilling to discover that a film has found the audience and critical acclaim that Amour has garnered. I have been very fortunate on both those fronts, but it is especially rewarding to discover that a film has found favor among one’s industry peers who know, in particular, the effort that goes into getting a film – any film – made. I am also especially happy for all the people who made Amour with me. It is a joyous occasion for us all. Many thanks.”
Nikolaj Arcel for A Royal Affair
“Not in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that a film depicting a little known event in Danish history would travel overseas, let alone be nominated for an Academy Award. It is a tremendous honour and I could not be more happy and grateful right now. I am supremely honoured by this nomination; it doesn’t get any better than this. On a personal level this feels like a fantastic final journey for a film that has taken me four years to finance and complete. I am also very proud of the incredible year that Danish films have had, with A Royal Affair, A Hijacking and The Hunt faring so well internationally. … It is a great honour to be in the company of Michael Haneke, one of my personal idols – as well as the other wonderful films.”
Pablo Larrain for NO
“This nomination is wonderful for the film! It will help the film get attention and reach many more people around the world. I am so proud and honored by the Academy. This is fantastic and very powerful for my country, NO tells an important story from our history and now more people will know about it. I am also very proud to be part of a new generation of Chilean filmmakers, telling significant stories in innovative ways through film.”
Kim Nguyen for War Witch
“This movie has been a truly amazing 10 year journey and we are honored to be included in such an outstanding list of filmmakers from around the World. I will always remember when Rachel Mwanza, after being the first African woman to ever win the Silver Bear for best actress at the Berlinale, returned home to the Congolese streets of Kinshasa and was greeted by passionate chants and overwhelming pride. So, in the case of War Witch, these recognitions do make a difference. They bring back pride to a nation that greatly needs it. I dearly thank the Academy Members for supporting this film, it is a great privilege and an honor.”
Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg for Kon-Tiki
“Being nominated means everything to us as directors- it means the world for the film! We are both in L.A. with our families and upon hearing the news we ran around in the corridors, hugging each other, waking up the whole hotel.”
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