Oscars: Belgium Selects 'The Ardennes' for Foreign-Language Category

Ardennes - H 2015
Courtesy of Toronto International Film Festival

Robin Pront's drama, about a brutal robbery gone bad, stars Veerle Baetens of Oscar-nominated 'The Broken Circle Breakdown.'

Belgium has picked Robin Pront's slow-build crime drama The Ardennes as its entry for next year's foreign-language film Oscar consideration.

The feature, which premiered last year at the Toronto International Film Festival, is Pront's directorial debut and the leading contender for this year's Ensor Awards, the Flemish-language Oscar equivalent, with 10 nominations.

The plot revolves around two brothers who stage a robbery that goes horribly wrong. One of the brothers escapes, leaving the other behind to be caught by the police. Film Movement has picked up the movie for U.S. release, with a domestic bow planned this fall. 

The Ardennes features some names that should be familiar to Academy voters. It stars Veerle Baetens of 2014 foreign-language film Oscar nominee The Broken Circle Breakdown and was produced by Bart van Langendonck, whose credits include Michael R. Roskam's Bullhead, the 2012 foreign-language film Oscar nominee that introduced the world to Flemish star Matthias Schoenaerts.

Belgium has been nominated five times for the foreign-language film Oscar but has never won. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce its 2017 shortlist of foreign-language film nominees on Jan. 17. The final five nominees will be announced Jan. 24.

The 2017 Oscars will be held Feb. 26.