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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has announced the nine features still in the running for the Foreign Language Film category for February’s Academy Awards.. Culled from 80 submissions, there’s a mix of titles already awarded elsewhere, with one or two titles that have done well at festivals no longer in the running.

Probably the highest-profile omissions are HOU Hsiao-hsien’s Taiwanese entry The Assassin, which has scored gongs at Cannes, the Asia-Pacific Screen Awards and, on home turf, at the Golden Horse; and Roy Andersson’s Venice and European Film Award winner A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence.

The list of selections is as close to a European shut-out as the Academy has come in several years, with only two of the remaining titles from outside that continent, Embrace of the Serpent and Theeb (pictured, top). Despite the preponderance of European titles still in the running, only two of the winners at last weekend’s European Film Awards (Mustang and The Brand New Testament) remain on the Academy list.

The five Foreign Language Oscar nominees will be announced, along with all other nominees, on 15 January (NZ time). The Oscar ceremony runs Monday 29 February (NZ time).

The films still in the running, listed in alphabetical order by country, are:
Belgium, The Brand New Testament, Jaco Van Dormael
Colombia, Embrace of the Serpent, Ciro Guerra
Denmark, A War, Tobias Lindholm
Finland, The Fencer, Klaus Härö
France, Mustang, Deniz Gamze Ergüven
Germany, Labyrinth of Lies, Giulio Ricciarelli
Hungary, Son of Saul, László Nemes
Ireland, Viva, Paddy Breathnach
Jordan, Theeb, Naji Abu Nowar

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