Oscars: Macedonia Bows Out of Foreign Language Category Race

The Third Half Still 2013

Macedonian filmmakers say the local two films available for submission aren't quite strong enough to compete.

MOSCOW – Macedonian filmmakers have chosen not to nominate a film for the best foreign language category Oscar this year.

The Filmmakers Association in the small central Balkans country said neither of the two local contenders were "appropriate" for submission to the Academy Awards.

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The two candidates were: Balkan Is Not Dead by Aleksandar Popovski and The Piano Room, a story set in a run-down hotel room featuring a piano, maid and guests who stay there -- tagline "Life begins, life ends, and lives are changed forever in the piano room" -- directed by Igor Ivanov Izi.

After a viewing of the movies, and several hours of debate, the national commission of the Macedonian Association of Filmmakers said it could not recommend any film for Oscar submission this year.

Macedonia -- also known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia due to tensions with neighbor Greece, which lays claim to the name for its northern region -- is not a big filmmaker, producing three or four features a year.

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In a statement, the commission said: "According to the topics treated and the way that they are shown in both films, the commission considers they are not appropriate to be nominated [for] the members of the American Academy Awards 'Oscar' for films from non-English-speaking countries. In addition, the committee unanimously decided this year not to [propose] any film."

Last year Macedonia submitted Darko Mitrevski's wartime soccer film The Third Half.

One of a spate of recent films from Eastern Europe about soccer and ethnic and national loyalties during wartime occupation by the Germans, the film did not make the Academy's shortlist.