A Glimpse Into the Oscar Nominees
for “Best Foreign Language Film”
by Sherine Azzam

Each Year, the Academy holds a Foreign
Language Film Award Nominees Symposium
which is attended by a select few, and I was
honored to be there to represent Red Carpet
Concierge.  After dropping off the rest of our
crew at the Kodak Theater on Saturday
morning, February 26th, I headed for the Samuel
Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.  The
symposium brought together directors of the
motion pictures nominated for the Academy
award in the Foreign Language Film category.  
The two-hour event began with brief clips from
each of the nominated films:
Biutiful (Mexico) is directed by Alejandro
Gonzalez-Inarritu who was inspired to write a
movie specifically for Javier Bardem (also
nominated for best actor).  In Barcelona,
Bardem’s character is dying of cancer.  He
attempts to come to terms with his shady past
while struggling to protect his children and
secure a promising future for them.
Dogtooth (Greece), directed by Yorgos
Lanthimos, explores the dark consequences of
parental control in a story about a married
couple who deny their three children access to
the world that lies beyond the confines of their
home.
In a Better World (Denmark), directed by
Susanne Bier, is a tale of friendship that
develops between two young boys and how
their troubling relationship ultimately affects
their families.
Incendies (Canada), directed by Denis
Villeneuve, follows the journey of two adult
twins in the Middle East searching for answers
that might shed light on their mother’s puzzling
past.
Outside the Law (Algeria), directed by Rachid
Bouchareb, depicts the dynamics between
three brothers caught up in Algeria’s fight for
independence.
It’s interesting to note that all of these films
were produced with budgets that ranged from
approximately 2 million to 20 million dollars--
only a fraction of the budgets used to produce
many of the award nominated films in the United
States.
The Academy’s screening committee selected
these films from a pool of 66 altogether.  Out of
these 66, only one film was an “outright
comedy;” Simple Simon from Sweden.  The host
of the Symposium, Mark Johnson, told of the
loud cheering that followed the screening
committee’s viewing of the film.  He pointed out
that, while the committee members most
certainly enjoyed the film; the cheering was in
large part due to the relief they felt from the
“weight” and “heaviness” of the year’s other
films.
All of the films nominated this year share a
common theme, that of “family.”  They depict a
dangerous and threatening world that we have
little control over; they tell us a lot about the
state of world in which we live.  Headlines
confirm this; but as Johnson so poignantly
stated, it is far more telling when the world’s
cinema dramatizes the many that are struggling
in a “damaged and damaging world.”  In such a
world, we naturally turn to family in search of
protection, support, and encouragement.  It’s in
family that we find strength and comfort.  This
year’s films are not just artistically satisfying;
the realities that they portray leave us much to
reflect on.
There was a sincere passion that permeated
the stage as the directors spoke of their
inspirations, their collaborative efforts, and their
journeys that ultimately brought them to
Hollywood to receive the recognitions they
deserve.
The directors of the 5 Oscar®-nominated films in the Foreign
Language Film Award category for the 83rd Academy Awards attend
a symposium in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills on
Saturday February 26, 2011. Pictured (from left to right): Alejandro
Gonzalez Inarritu, "Biutiful"; Yorgos Lanthimos, "Dogtooth"; Susanne
Bier, "In a Better World"; Host Mark Johnson; Denis Villanueve,
"Incendies"; Rachid Bouchareb and Jean Behat, "Outside the Law
(Hors-la_loi)". Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of
2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak
Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, CA.

credit: Matt Petit /©A.M.P.A.S.®
The directors of the 5 Oscar®-nominated films in the Foreign
Language Film Award category for the 83rd Academy Awards attend
a symposium in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills on
Saturday February 26, 2011. Pictured (from left to right): Alejandro
Gonzalez Inarritu, "Biutiful"; Yorgos Lanthimos, "Dogtooth"; Susanne
Bier, "In a Better World"; Host Mark Johnson; Denis Villanueve,
"Incendies"; Rachid Bouchareb, "Outside the Law (Hors-la_loi)".
Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be
presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre at
Hollywood & Highland Center, CA.

credit: Matt Petit /©A.M.P.A.S.®