Argentina's "Secret" wins surprise foreign film Oscar

Mon Mar 8, 2010 2:40am EST
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By Christine Kearney

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Argentina's drama "The Secret in Their Eyes" won the best foreign-language film Oscar on Sunday in an upset that brought the South American country its second Academy Award.

"The Secret in Their Eyes" (El secreto de sus ojos) stars Argentine actor Ricardo Darin as a retired prosecutor who sets out to write a book after he is haunted by a 25-year-old rape and murder case.

Director Juan Jose Campanella accepted the award for the film that beat out the favorite, Germany's black-and-white entry "The White Ribbon" by Austrian director Michael Haneke.

"On behalf of a crew and cast ... I want to thank the Academy for not considering Na'vi a foreign language," joked Campanella, referring to the language created for the blue aliens in the blockbuster movie "Avatar."

Other foreign language films nominated this year included France's gritty prison drama "A Prophet," Peru's mournful entry "The Milk of Sorrow," and Israel's "Ajami," which explores divergent views among an urban neighborhood's Muslims, Christians and Jews.

"The Secret in Their Eyes" won best Spanish language foreign film at Spain's Goya Awards this year. Argentina has had six foreign-language film nominations and last won an Academy Award with its 1985 movie "The Official Story."


For the first time ever two South American films were nominated in the category, a fact that Campanella said showed "many preconceptions were shattered in the process" as European films have traditionally dominated the category.   Continued...

<p>Director Juan Jose Campanella of the Argentina film "The Secret in their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos)," poses for photographers ahead of the 82nd Academy Awards in Hollywood, March 5, 2010. REUTERS/Rick Wilking</p>