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Four dramas set during or just after the Holocaust, three modern-day comedies and an environmental documentary are Germany’s Oscar hopefuls this year.
German producers have submitted 8 titles for consideration for the 2017 Academy Award as best foreign language film. Given that this is Germany, half of them have to do with the Nazis — including Lars Kraume’s award-winning biopic The People vs. Fritz Bauer, about the famed Jewish-German attorney general and Nazi hunter; a new treatment of The Diary of Anne Frank, from Hans Steinbichler; and Fog in August, Kai Wessel’s drama about the Nazi’s infamous “T4” program designed to kill off the handicapped and mentally ill. Also making the shortlist is Maria Schrader’s Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe, a biopic about the Austrian-Jewish writer who fled the Nazis to unhappy exile in Brazil which has become an unlikely sleeper hit in Germany.
Going up against those historic dramas are an unlikely trio of comedies, including Look Who’s Back, a satire, and box office hit, about Adolf Hitler returning to modern-day Berlin; and Toni Erdmann, Maren Ade’s dramedy that bowed to almost universal critical acclaim in Cannes this year. Also in the running is Auf Augenhohe (At Eye Level), a children’s film from directors Evi Goldbrunner and Joachim Dollhopf about the friendship between a 10-year-old boy and an adult dwarf, played by Canadian actor Jordan Prentice.
A single documentary — Power to Change, the Energy Rebellion, from director Carl-A. Fechner — completes the shortlist.
An independent jury will select Germany’s official Oscar nominee, which will be announced August 25.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce its 2017 shortlist of foreign language nominees January 17, 2017. The final five nominees will be announced Jan. 24, 2017. The 2017 Oscars will be held Feb.26.
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