Nine on foreign-pic Oscar shortlist

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Nine of 61 films that originally qualified for consideration by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the foreign-language film Oscar have advanced to the final voting phase.

The rules for the category changed this year. Instead of several hundred members of the foreign-language film committee selecting the five nominees, this year -- during what the Academy calls Phase I -- their ballots selected nine finalists for nomination.

A Phase II committee of 30, comprised of 10 randomly selected members of the larger group and two 10-member contingents from New York and Los Angeles, will choose the final five nominees.

The films are Algeria's "Days of Glory," directed by Rachid Bouchareb (distributed in the U.S. by the Weinstein Co.); Canada's "Water," by Deepa Mehta (Fox Searchlight); Denmark's "After the Wedding," by Susanne Bier (IFC Films); France's "Avenue Montaigne," by Daniele Thompson (ThinkFilm); Germany's "The Lives of Others," by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (Sony Pictures Classics); Mexico's "Pan's Labyrinth," by Guillermo del Toro (Picturehouse); the Netherlands' "Black Book," by Paul Verhoeven (Sony Pictures Classics); Spain's "Volver," directed by Pedro Almodovar (Sony Pictures Classics); and Switzerland's "Vitus," by Fredi M. Murer (Sony Pictures Classics).

Screenings for Phase II will be held Friday-Sunday in New York and Los Angeles. The nominations for the 79th Annual Academy Awards will be announced Tuesday at 5:30 a.m. PST. The Oscars will be held Feb. 25 at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland.
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