Audiard's 'Prophet' to rep France at Oscars

Festival de Cannes Grand Prize winner

PARIS -- Jacques Audiard's "A Prophet" will be France's bid for an foreign Oscar nomination slot for the 2010 Academy Awards, French film organization the CNC said Thursday.

The film, which won the Grand Prize at this year's Festival de Cannes, will represent Gaul in the pre-nomination race.

The prison drama, critically acclaimed across the globe after premiering in Cannes in May, was released in France on Aug. 26 and has already sold nearly 800,000 tickets in the territory.

Produced by Why Not Productions, "Prophet" stars first-time actor Tahar Rahim as an errant, illiterate youth who lands in prison and makes his way into the world of a Corsican gang.

The film was chosen by a selection committee appointed by Cultural Minister Frederic Mitterand, including Cesars Academy president Alain Terzian, Festival de Cannes Artistic Director Thierry Fremaux, president of the CNC's "Avance sur Recettes" (Selective Aid) Commission Florence Malraux and directors Jean-Jacques Annaud, Costa-Gavras and Regis Wargnier.

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The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Feb. 2.