Stark Austrian drama "Amour" captures five Oscar nominations

Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:07pm EST
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By Eric Kelsey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Austrian film "Amour" scored a surprising five Oscar nominations on Thursday, positioning the drama as the front-runner to seize Best Foreign Language Film, if not more of the movie industry's most coveted prizes.

"Amour," directed by Michael Haneke, was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, while star Emmanuelle Riva, 85, was nominated for Best Actress.

The French-language film painstakingly details the day-to-day struggles and indignities of elderly Parisian couple Georges and Anne, who must confront Anne's slide toward death as her health fails.

"Amour" joins "Kon-Tiki," the Norwegian drama chronicling Thor Heyerdahl's 1947 trans-Pacific expedition on a raft; Chilean political drama "No," starring Gael Garcia Bernal; Danish period drama "A Royal Affair"; and "War Witch," a Canadian drama about an African child soldier as nominees for Best Foreign Language Film.

Riva, best known for her role in the 1959 French New Wave classic "Hiroshima, Mon Amour," is the oldest nominee for Best Actress in Oscar history.

"I never thought, while working throughout the years in Europe and France, that one day, I would cross the Atlantic Ocean, come to the United States and be nominated," Riva said in a statement. "It is quite surreal for me."

"Amour," which netted Haneke his first Oscar nomination, could end up a big winner on Oscar night on February 24 if early favorites such as "Lincoln" and "Life of Pi" split votes, said Pete Hammond, awards columnist for

"'Amour'...has a very passionate following among people. They feel very emotional about that film," Hammond said.   Continued...

Actors Isabelle Huppert (L) and Jean-Louis Trintignant are shown in a scene from the Austrian film "Amour" in this publicity photo released to Reuters January 10, 2013. The film has been nominated for best foreign language film, as well as best picture for the 85th Academy Awards Thursday. The Oscars will be presented in Hollywood, California February 24, 2013. REUTERS/Darius Khondji/ Films du Losange/Sony Pictures Classics/Handout