21 December 2012 1:27 PM, PST | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Something funny happened on the way to the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar shortlist. Unusually, all nine contenders announced Friday morning have either already been released in the Us or will be during the first quarter of 2013. Because of separate eligibility rules for this category -- determined by their release dates in the country submitting a film rather than in the Us, unlike all other awards -- the nominees are often films virtually unknown to most American moviegoers, even those who follow foreign film. In some years -- including 2008, 2009 and 2010 -- the winner did not open theatrically until after the Oscar ceremony. Although plans are in flux for at least two of the unreleased films on the list ("Kon-Tiki" and "The Deep"), and at least one other ("Beyond the Hills") might move up its date before the awards, it is likely that at least three and possibly all five of »

- Tom Brueggemann

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