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January 13, 2009

'The Class,' 'Bashir' but not 'Gomorrah'


What, no "Gomorrah?"

Expect the bellyaching about the foreign language film race, and the new-and-not-so-improved rules, to continue this year as the Italian mafia tale, based on the best-selling book by Roberto Saviano, was left off the list of nine Oscar finalists released today.

Kris Tapley at awards blog InContention: Tell us how you really feel about the folks at the Academy who call this race. (Hint: The words "vile" and "bozo" came up).

Here are the contenders for the five nominations, to be announced Jan. 22 with all the other nods: "The Class," from Laurent Cantet, France; "Waltz with Bashir," Israel; Austria's "Revanche," directed by Gotz Spielmann; Canada's "The Necessities of Life" (Benoit Pilon); Germany's "The Baader Meinhof Complex" (Uli Edel); Japan's "Departures" (Yojiro Takita); Mexico's "Tear This Heart Out" (Roberto Sneider); Sweden's "Everlasting Moments" (from previous Oscar nominee Jan Troell); and Turkey's "3 Monkeys" (Nuri Bilge Ceylon).

All the heat at the moment is around the Israeli animation/memoir hybrid "Bashir," which just picked up a Golden Globe, but it could very well be a two-horse race, considering the multi-culti Cannes Palm d'Or winner "The Class" remains a critical darling.

More details here.


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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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