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Christian Petzold’s Barbara is Germany’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award.

Christian Petzold drama ‘Barbara’: Germany Oscar Submission

Starring Nina Hoss, writer-director Christian Petzold’s Barbara is Germany’s submission for the 2013 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. The political romantic drama earned Petzold the Silver Bear for Best Director at this year’s Berlin Film Festival. Additionally, Barbara received seven nominations for the Lolas, the German Academy Awards, eventually winning the runner-up trophy for Best Film. (Curiously, Nina Hoss was not nominated; the Best Film winner was Andrea Dresen’s terminal-cancer drama Halt auf freier Strecke / Stopped on Track, which opened in Germany in Nov. 2011.)

‘Barbara’ synopsis

Set in 1980s East Germany, Barbara tells the story of a doctor (Hoss) banished to a small countryside hospital after requesting an exit visa. While at the small hospital, the conflicted doctor becomes attracted to her new boss (Lola nominee Ronald Zehrfeld), though she has a lover on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

Barbara, the fifth Christian Petzold-Nina Hoss collaboration*, earned $2.74 million in Germany. So far, the country’s top 2012 box office hit is the French-made François Cluzet-Omar Sy comedy-drama The Intouchables, with $74.49 million – more than the box office take of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers ($30.82 million) and Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises ($30.8 million) combined. This year’s biggest German-made hit is Türkisch für Anfänger - Der Film, with $21.69 million.

Adopt Films will release Barbara in the United States on Dec. 21. In addition to Nina Hoss and Ronald Zehrfeld, the Barbara cast includes Rainer Bock, Christina Hecke, Claudia Geisler, and Peter Weiss.

The nominations for the 2013 Academy Awards will be announced on Jan. 10. The winners will be revealed at at the Oscar ceremony on Feb. 24.

* The four previous Christian Petzold / Nina Hoss collaborations are Yella, Jerichow, Wolfsburg, and the television movie Something to Remind Me.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter.

Barbara Ronald Zehrfeld and Nina Hoss image: Adopt Films.

Amour, Michael Haneke’s widely acclaimed Palme d’Or winner about love, old age, and death, is Austria’s (expected) submission for the 2013 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award. The Cannes Film Festival hit stars veterans Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, and Isabelle Huppert.

Shot in early 2011, Amour stars the 80-year-old Trintignant (who has appeared in nearly 130 movies in the last 56 years, including Roger Vadim’s And God Created Woman, Costa-GavrasZ, and Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Red) and the 84-year-old Riva (more than 50 movies in the last 52 years, including Alain Resnais’ classic Hiroshima Mon Amour) as retired music teachers who have been married for decades. One day, Riva’s character suffers a debilitating stroke. The 58-year-old Isabelle Huppert (more than 90 movies in the last four decades, including Claude Chabrol’s Story of Women and Haneke’s own The Piano Teacher), plays the couple’s musician daughter. [See also Amour reviews at the Cannes Film Festival.]

Possible Oscar nominations for Amour writer-director & actors

Though a non-English-language production, the Paris-set Amour is also a strong contender in regular Oscar categories. Nomination possibilities include Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay (also Haneke), Best Actor (Trintignant), Best Actress (Riva), and – if Huppert is marketed as such – Best Supporting Actress. Neither the writer-director nor his lead actors has ever received individual Oscar nods.

Three years ago, Michael Haneke’s stark period psychological / political drama The White Ribbon earned a Best Foreign Language Film nomination. The winner that year was Yojiro Takita’s sentimental Japanese drama Departures.

And seven years ago, Haneke’s Cache, set in Paris and starring Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche, was deemed ineligible for the Oscars because the Austrian submission had French dialogue. The following year, the Academy – wisely but belatedly – changed its Best Foreign Language Film eligibility rules to accept co-productions involving multilingual talent such as this year’s Amour.

Sony Pictures Classics will release Amour on Dec. 19 in the United States.

Amour Emmanuelle Riva / Jean-Louis Trintignant photo: Sony Pictures Classics.

‘The Hypnotist’: Lasse Hallström Thriller Best Foreign Language Oscar entry

The Hypnotist, Lasse Hallström’s first thriller ever and the Academy Award-nominated director’s first Swedish film in more than a quarter of a century, is Sweden’s official submission for the 2013 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Starring Mikael Persbrandt, Lena Olin (a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee for Enemies: A Love Story), and Tobias Zilliacus, The Hypnotist opens in Sweden on September 28.

The Hypnotist plot

Based on Lars Kepler’s crime novel, The Hypnotist is described (via the Swedish Film Institute’s press release) as “a brutal story about a murderer that has virtually done away with an entire family. A son manages to survive with serious injuries, and the hunt to find the killer before he gets to the last remaining daughter is on.” Hallström’s film is in competition for the Golden Shell at the upcoming San Sebastian Film Festival.

Note: Lars Kepler is a pseudonym for husband and wife authors Alexander Ahndoril and Alexandra Coelho Ahndoril.

Lasse Hallström Oscar nominations

Lasse Hallström has been nominated for three Academy Awards. In 1987, he was in the running for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay (with Reidar Jönsson, Brasse Brännström, and Per Berglund) for My Life As a Dog. In 1999, Hallström was once again a Best Director nominee for The Cider House Rules, featuring future Spider-Man Tobey Maguire, Charlize Theron, Michael Caine, and Paul Rudd.

In the directing category, in ’87, Hallström lost to The Last Emperor‘s Bernardo Bertolucci (who also shared with Mark Peploe the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar). In ’99, Hallström lost to American Beauty‘s Sam Mendes.

The Hypnotist photo: AB Svensk Filmindustri.

Oscars: Cristian Mungiu ‘Beyond the Hills’ Is Romania Submission

Cristian Mungiu’s psychological drama Beyond the Hills / Dupa dealuri, Best Screenplay (Mungiu) and Best Actress (Cristina Flutur and Cosmina Stratan) winner at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, is Romania’s entry for the 2013 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award.

Based on a couple of books by Tatiana Niculescu Bran, Beyond the Hills revolves around two young women, apart for many years, who reunite at an Orthodox monastery. Their close friendship leads to trouble within the local religious order, eventually resulting in a fateful exorcism session. The story is based on real events.

Among the other movies in contention for the 2013 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar shortlist are Michael Haneke’s Amour, Lasse Hallström’s The Hypnotist, and Christian Petzold’s Barbara.

Cristian Mungiu’s 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days Oscar outrage

In 2007, Cristian Mungiu won Cannes’ Palme d’Or for the universally acclaimed abortion drama 4 months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. Though a shoo-in for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar shortlist, Mungiu’s film was ultimately bypassed by the Academy voters in that category, sparking widespread outrage.

Cristian Mungiu’s Beyond the Hills image: Wild Bunch / Why Not Productions.

Oscars’ Documentary Features Deadline

Documentary feature submissions for the 2013 Academy Awards are due Monday, Sept. 24, 5 p.m. PT, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced.

According to the Academy’s press release, “to be eligible, the documentaries must complete seven-day commercial runs in both Los Angeles County and the Borough of Manhattan in New York between January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2012. Films completing their qualifying runs after September 24 must still complete and submit all paperwork, including legal contracts, by the deadline.

“Each completed entry form must be accompanied by supporting materials, including 200 DVD copies of the film without trailers or other extraneous materials, an English-language synopsis of the film, a list of film credits and proof of seven-day qualifying exhibitions.

“Films that, in any version, receive their first public exhibition or distribution in any manner other than as a theatrical motion picture release will not be eligible for Academy Awards.

“Additional information about the documentary awards categories may be obtained by contacting Awards Coordinator Michelle Ayala at (310) 247-3000, ext. 1117, or via e-mail at mayala@oscars.org.”

Oscar 2013: Potential documentary feature contenders

Potential Oscar 2013 documentary feature contenders range from Katy Perry: Part of Me to 2016 Obama’s America. More likely contenders include Bully, The Queen of Versailles, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and Marley.

The Academy Awards ceremony will be held on Sunday, Feb. 24, at The Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center. This year’s Best Documentary Feature Oscar winner was Undefeated.

Bully documentary photo: The Weinstein Company.

Oscar dates announced

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced key dates for the 2013 Academy Awards. One interesting alteration was the date of the Oscar 2013 nominations: Jan. 10, instead of the previously announced Jan. 15. (Please scroll down to check out the Oscar 2013 timeline.)

Why the change? As per the Academy’s press release, it’s “an effort to provide [Academy] members and the public a longer period of time to see the nominated films.” But what the press release doesn’t say is that an earlier date for the Oscar 2013 nominations announcement also means less time for Academy members to watch eligible films. After all, nominations voting ends at 5 p.m. PT on January 3, 2013.

Among the movies opening in the U.S. less than one month before the Oscar 2013 ballots are due are Hyde Park on Hudson, Les Misérables, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Zero Dark Thirty, Jack Reacher, The Impossible, On the Road, Amour, Django Unchained, The Guilt Trip, Parental Guidance, and Promised Land.

Needless to say, the big movies and those getting a major push from their distributors won’t have too much trouble getting seen and/or getting votes. But in all likelihood the less heralded entries – including those released earlier in the year – will have less of a chance than ever before of receiving Academy recognition.

Oscar 2013: Electronic voting

Another curiosity: The 85th Academy Awards will mark “the first time the Academy will provide its membership the opportunity to vote electronically.” The release adds that “the Academy will make several voting resources available to members during the transition, including the installation of assisted voting stations in Los Angeles, New York and London, a 24-hour telephone help line during voting periods, and paper ballots.

“In the pre-Nominations phase, members will continue to vote via paper ballot in eight categories due to specialized screening schedules and processes. Those categories are Animated Feature Film, Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, Foreign Language Film, Make-Up and Hairstyling and Visual Effects.”

See below the list of key Oscar 2013 dates.

Oscar 2013 dates

Friday, November 30, 2012: Official Screen Credits due

Saturday, December 1, 2012: Governors Awards presentation

Monday, December 17, 2012: Nominations voting begins

Thursday, January 3, 2013: Nominations voting ends 5 p.m. PT

Thursday, January 10, 2013: Nominations announced 5:30 a.m. PT, Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater

Monday, February 4, 2013: Nominees Luncheon

Friday, February 8, 2013: Final voting begins

Saturday, February 9, 2013: Scientific and Technical Awards presentation

Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013: Final voting ends 5 p.m. PT

Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013: 85th Academy Awards presentation at The Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center

Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey photo: New Line Cinema / MGM / Warner Bros.

European Film Awards: Best Animated Feature Film nominees announced

The European Film Academy has announced the three nominees for the 2012 European Film Award for Best Animated Feature Film. They are Tomáš Lu?ák’s Alois Nebel (Czech Republic / Germany / Slovakia), Ignacio Ferreras’ Arrugas / Wrinkles (Spain), and Peter Lord’s The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (UK / US). (Image: Train in the darkness from Alois Nebel.)

The black-and-white Alois Nebel, the Czech Republic’s entry for the 2012 Academy Awards, is described as a “tale about the hallucinations of a lonely train dispatcher at the Czechoslovak border.” The Spanish Academy’s Goya Award winner and Annie Award nominee Wrinkles tells the story of “Emilio and Miguel’s newly formed friendship at their nursing home and the discovery of new beginnings in the most unusual of places.” In The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists, “a pirate captain fights his rivals for the ‘Pirate of the Year’ award.”

EFA: Best Animated Feature Film voting

The three Best Animated Feature Film nominees were selected by European Film Academy Board Member Antonio Saura (producer, Spain), EFA Member Per Holst (producer, Denmark), and European Association of Animation Film CARTOON members Brigitte Baronet (France), Tony Loeser (Germany), and Tomm Moore (Ireland).

Alois Nebel, Wrinkles, and The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists will shortly be submitted to the 2,700 EFA members. The winner will be announced at the European Film Awards ceremony in Malta on Saturday, December 1.

Alois Nebel image: Negativ.

Awards Season calendar: Cinema Audio Society Awards will have earlier nominations

The Cinema Audio Society announced today that the nominations for the 2013 CAS Awards will take place on Tuesday, January 8, 2013, via press release. Initially, CAS Award nominees were to have been announced on January 10. Why the sudden change? (Image: Iron Man in likely CAS Award 2013 nominee The Avengers.)

The answer is likely very simple: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences changed the date the 2013 Academy Award nominations are to be announced from January 15 to January 10. According to the Academy, that would give AMPAS members and the general public more time to catch the nominated films. Left unsaid is that the earlier date will give Academy members less time to watch eligible films.

Anyhow, when it comes to the Cinema Audio Society Awards, all other dates and deadlines remain the same as previously announced.

Cinema Audio Society Awards timeline

The timeline is as follows:

Submission Forms available online at CAS website Monday, Oct. 15, 2012

Entry Submissions DUE by 5:00 PM (PST) Friday, November 16, 2012

Nominations Ballot Voting begins online Wednesday, December 2, 2012

Nominations Ballot Voting ends online 5:00PM (PST) Friday, January 4, 2013

Final Five Nominees announced Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Final Voting begins online Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Final Voting ends online 5:00 PM (PST) Friday, February 8, 2013

49th Annual CAS Awards Saturday, Feb. 16, in The Crystal Ballroom of The Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, California

Iron Man The Avengers picture: Zade Rosenthal / Walt Disney Studios.

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