Oscar shortlists foreign-language pics


Nine films will advance to the next round of voting in the foreign-language film category for the 80th Annual Academy Awards, though the big surprise is the omission of Romania's "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," which won the Palme d'Or at the 2007 Festival de Cannes and has been named best foreign-language film by numerous critics groups.

The films that were named are: Austria's "The Counterfeiters," directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky; Brazil's "The Year My Parents Went on Vacation," helmed by Cao Hamburger; Canada's "Days of Darkness," helmed by Denys Arcand; Israel's "Beaufort," directed by Joseph Cedar; Italy's "The Unknown," directed by Giuseppe Tornatore; Kazakhstan's "Mongol," directed by Sergei Bodrov; Poland's "Katyn," directed by Andrzej Wajda; Russia's "12," helmed by Nikita Mikhalkov, and Serbia's "The Trap," directed by Srdan Golubovic.

In addition to "4 Months," a notable omission is France's animated film "Persepolis," which has already earned recognition including the Jury Prize at Cannes.

Foreign-language film nominations are being determined in two phases. The Phase I committee, consisting of several hundred Los Angeles-based members, screened the 63 eligible films and their ballots determined the above shortlist. A Phase II committee, made up of 10 randomly selected members from the Phase I group, joined by invited 10-member contingents in New York and Los Angeles, will view the shortlisted films and select the five nominees for the category. Phase II screenings will take place Jan. 18-20 in Hollywood and New York.

Nominations for the 80th Academy Awards will be announced Jan. 22.