'Afghan Star' is U.K.'s foreign Oscar entry

Havana Marking's documentary about a singing competition

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LONDON -- The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has picked Havana Marking's documentary "Afghan Star" to rep British hopes in the race to secure an Oscar foreign-language film nomination slot.

Marking's documentary follows the competitors entering "Afghan Star," an "American Idol"-style singing competition that airs on Afghanistan's Tolo TV channel.

Produced by Roast Beef, Redstart and Kaboora Prods., it sang its way to the world documentary directing and audience awards at Sundance earlier this year.

The selection of Marking's Afghan-U.K. production was made possible by changes in Oscar rules that now allow films in a language that is not one of the principal languages of the submitting country.

Nominations for the 82nd Academy Awards will be announced Feb. 2 and the awards will take place on March 7.