Oscar foreign film nominees go heavy on drama
By Mary Milliken
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - From the backstreet sweatshops of Barcelona to bullying schoolyards in Denmark, this year's Oscar nominations for best foreign-language film take moviegoers on a world tour of bleak family drama and struggle.
Dramas from Algeria, Canada, Denmark, Greece and Mexico clinched nominations on Tuesday from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but many of the films' locations spill over to other countries like Spain, France and Kenya.
Perhaps the most recognizable of the five is "Biutiful" by Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez-Inarritu, which gets an added boost from a best actor nomination for Spain's Javier Bardem.
Bardem plays Uxbal, a racketeer in the seamy underbelly of Barcelona who is dying of cancer and trying to make amends for his past by rescuing migrant laborers and his own children.
"This is a tough movie with no concessions and no happy ending, one that leaves no one indifferent," Gonzalez-Inarritu told Reuters.
"That the Academy has recognized it is amazing and the response is the best thing an artist could hope for," said Gonzalez-Inarritu, who also directed "Babel" and "21 Grams."
Bardem, who won a best supporting actor Oscar for "No Country for Old Men" and credits Gonzalez-Inarritu for pushing his talent beyond its previous limitations, said he was "very happy for Alejandro and everyone who has made possible the special movie we made together."
Danish director Susanne Bier's film "In a Better World" received an Oscar nod after winning the Golden Globe for best foreign-language film last week. Continued...