"Waltz" in foreign Oscar running

Tue Jan 13, 2009 5:59pm EST
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Israel's animated war film "Waltz with Bashir," a Golden Globe winner, was named on Tuesday to a short list of nine movies up for Oscar nominations in the foreign-language contest, but an Italian entry that won a key prize at Cannes failed to make the cut.

That movie, "Gomorrah," from director Matteo Garrone, won the runner-up Grand Prix at the Cannes film festival in May. The hard-hitting film about the Neapolitan Mafia was Italy's contender for an Oscar and was nominated for a Golden Globe.

But another Cannes favorite, "The Class," a French movie set in a tough Parisian high school, made the short list of films vying for a nomination in the foreign-language Oscar race. "The Class" topped the competition at Cannes to win the Palme d'Or prize for best picture.

"Waltz with Bashir" was named best foreign-language film at Sunday's Golden Globes, often a harbinger of Oscar glory, and it was included on the Oscar short list.

The film about the 1982 Israeli-Lebanon war is from director Ari Folman, and this month the U.S.-based National Society of Film Critics chose it as the best film of 2008. It has been described as an animated documentary, combining audio interviews and animation.

The other foreign-language films short-listed for an Oscar nomination are: "Revanche" (Austria), "The Necessities of Life" (Canada), "The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany), "Departures" (Japan), "Tear This Heart Out" (Mexico), "Everlasting Moments" (Sweden) and "3 Monkeys" (Turkey).

Each country can submit only one film for consideration.

The nine films, culled from among 65 entries, were chosen by hundreds of members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and by an executive committee of the organization. The list will be narrowed to five nominees by specially selected committees in New York and Los Angeles, the academy said.   Continued...

<p>Israeli director Ari Folman poses with his award for Best Foreign Language Film for "Waltz with Bashir" at the 14th annual Critics' Choice awards in Santa Monica, California January 8, 2009. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>