'Miss Bala' Crowned Mexico's Foreign-Language Oscar Submission

4:36 PM PST 09/22/2011 by John Hecht

Gerardo Najanjo’s film will also vie for a Goya nom in Spain.

Mexico City -- Mexico has selected Gerardo Naranjo's action-packed Miss Bala as its foreign-language Oscar contender for the 84th Academy Awards.

Directed and co-written by up-and-comer Naranjo (I'm Gonna Explode), Miss Bala revolves around a beauty pageant contestant who involuntarily gets caught in the middle of a drug war in Baja California.

The Mexican film academy said on Thursday that it also has chosen Miss Bala as Mexico's foreign-picture submission for Spain's 26th Goya Awards.

The Canana Films-Fox International co-production premiered in Cannes' Un Certain Regard section and it has screened at film fests in Toronto and San Sebastian. At the recent edition of the Tokyo Film Festival, it won best director for Naranjo and best actress for newcomer Stephanie Sigman.

Canana Films, the production company owned by actors Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna and producer Pablo Cruz, has produced three of Naranjo's feature films.

Should he get the nomination, Naranjo will be looking to become the first Mexican director to bring home an Oscar for best foreign-language picture; eight Mexican features have received nominations in the category since 1957, yet none have won the coveted award.

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