'Biutiful,' 'In a Better World' Make Foreign-Language Oscar Shortlist

Ikiru Films/Focus Features

"Incendies," "Dogtooth" and "Simple Simon" also among the nine films vying for a spot.

Nine films, including Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Biutiful and Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies, have made the short-list for consideration in the foreign language film category for the Academy Awards.

Biutiful, the Mexican submission, earned its star Javier Bardem best actor honors at the Festival de Cannes in May, and Incendies, the Canadian submission which is set in the Middle East, was a hit at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festival.

The other contenders are: Rachid Bouchareb’s Hors la Loi (Outside the Law) from Algeria; Susanne Bier’s Danish film In a Better World, which earned the foreign-language film prize at the Golden Globes; Yorgos LanthimosDogtooth, Greece; Tetsuya Nakashima’s Confessions, Japan; Oliver Schmitz’s Life, Above All, South Africa; Iciar Bollain’s Tambien la Lluvia (Even the
, Spain; and Andreas Ohman’s Simple Simon, Sweden.

Although the category rules have been revamped in recent years so that the Academy’s foreign language film award executive committee can inject three choices into the process  -- in the hopes of avoiding embarrassing omissions -- a couple of prominent foreign films were overlooked.

The Thai entry Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonme Who Can Recall His Past Lives, which won the Palm d’Or at Cannes, was overlooked, as was the French submission Of Gods and Men, directed by Xavier Beauvois, which won the National Board of Review Award for best foreign film.

Distributor Sony Pictures Classics dominates the field with three entries: Incendies, In a Better World and Life, Above All.

Sixty-six films qualified in the category, and they will be winnowed to five when nominations for the 83rd Academy Awards are announced Tuesday.