Oscars: Austria Selects 'Joy' for International Feature Film Category

Joy Still 1 - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of Venice Film Festival

A Nigerian sex worker in Austria is tasked with teaching a new trafficked girl the ropes in the drama from director Sudabeh Mortezai.

Austria has selected Joy, a sex-trafficking drama from director Sudabeh Mortezai, to be its contender for the 2020 Oscar race in the international feature film category.

Anwulika Alphonsus stars as the eponymous Joy — a Nigerian woman brought to Austria as a sex worker who is called on to supervise Precious (Mariam Sanusi), a new recruit who is not ready to accept her fate. Angela Ekeleme co-stars as Madam, Joy's exploiter.

Joy premiered at the Venice International Film Festival last year where it won the Europa Cinemas Label prize for best film. Joy also won best film at last year's London Film Festival. It was the unanimous nominee from Austria's nomination committee.

Austria has been nominated four times for the Oscar in what used to be called the Best Foreign Language Film category, and has won twice: for Stefan Ruzowitzky's The Counterfeiters in 2007 and for Michael Haneke's Amour in 2012.

The nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards will take place Jan. 13 and the Oscar ceremony will be held Feb. 9.