Mafia Film 'Bullhead' Belgium's Official Oscar Candidate

10:12 AM PST 09/20/2011 by Scott Roxborough

Debut feature from Michael R. Roskam beats out Dardenne Brothers' "The Kid With A Bike" to represent Belgium in Foreign Language film race.

COLOGNE, Germany -- Michael R. Roskam's crime thriller Bullhead will represent Belgium in the 2012 Foreign Language Oscar race.

The drama features a star-making performance from Matthias Schoenaerts as a stubborn cattle farmer whose dealings with illegal growth hormones lead to trouble with the Belgian mafia. Bullhead was well-recieved at its debut at the Berlin Film Festival and has been a box office hit back home, with nearly 500,000 admissions in Belgium.

The choice, however, surprised many who'd assumed Cannes entry The Kid With A Bike from Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne would be Belgium's Oscar hopeful. Sundance Selects, which picked up Kid for U.S. release, was clearly hoping for an Oscar run after the strong response to the film at its U.S. premiere at Telluride.

The Dardenne Brothers have been picked three times before to represent Belgium in the Oscar race -- with Rosetta (2000), The Son (2004) and The Child (2006) - but have never made it through to the final five Oscar nominees.

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