Oscars: Mexico Selects '600 Miles' for Foreign-Language Category

Courtesy of Berlin International Film Festival
Tim Roth in '600 Miles'

Tim Roth plays a kidnapped ATF agent in the gun-running thriller.

Mexican writer-director Gabriel Ripstein is having quite a run with his feature-film debut 600 Miles.

Earlier this year, the arms-smuggling thriller featuring Tim Roth won best first work at the Berlin International Film Festival. Later it nabbed best Mexican picture at the Guadalajara Film Festival in Ripstein's native Mexico.

Now it has a chance to pull off what no other Mexican movie has done: bring home an Oscar for best foreign-language picture.

Since the mid-1950s, Mexico has received eight Academy Award nominations in the category, but has never won. The most recent Mexican films to land Oscar nominations were Alejandro G. Inarritu's drama Biutiful in 2010 and Guillermo del Toro's dark fantasy Pan's Labyrinth in 2006.

Ripstein is the son of veteran filmmaker Arturo Ripstein (Deep Crimson), who was recently honored at the Venice Film Festival for a career that spans five decades. His latest picture, Bleak Street, had its world premiere at Venice.

Gabriel Ripstein, a former head of production at Columbia Pictures Mexico, produced, directed and co-wrote 600 Miles, in which Roth plays an ATF agent who is kidnapped by a Mexican arms-smuggling gang.

The Mexican Film Academy also announced on Thursday that it has picked La Tirisia (Perpetual Sadness) to represent Mexico in the foreign-picture category at Spain's 30th Goya Awards. The sophomore work of writer-director Jorge Perez Solano, which reflects on the hardships of a woman living in a remote Mexican village, won the Roger Ebert Award at the Chicago International Film Festival.