As usual, Asian films got gypped by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, which just released its list of nine finalists for the foreign-film category. But there was good news among normally stiffed pix — a rare fantasy film got in: the much beloved "Pan's Labyrinth," which was recently voted best picture of the year by the National Society of Film Critics.
The final nine are: "Days of Glory" (Algeria), "Water" (Canada), "After the Wedding" (Denmark), "Avenue Montaigne" (France), "Lives of Others" (Germany), "Pan's Labyrinth" (Mexico), "Black Book" (Netherlands), "Volver" (Spain) and "Vitus" (Switzerland).
These contenders were whittled down from a full list of 61 rivals — to see the complete rundown CLICK HERE!
Among Asian snubbees, a notable omission was China's "Curse of the Golden Flower." Korea has never had an Oscar contender, but there was hope that "The King and the Clown" might get in. Other slighted Asian flicks: "Rang de Basanti" (India), "Hula Girls" (Japan) and "The Banquet" (Hong Kong).
Academy voters haven't been totally stingy to Asian films in the past, by the way. After all, Taiwan's "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" won best foreign film and was nominated for best picture of 2000.
Considering how prominent Kazakhstan became on the film front this year, there was hope that its entry "Nomad" might get in and thus participate at the same Oscars where "Borat" will probably be nominated in the screenplay race and maybe best actor, too. Alas, it was snubbed.
Other nations that had strong entries not included: Brazil ("Cinema, Aspirins and Vultures"), Bosnia ("Gbarvica"), the Philippines ("The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros"), Russia ("Ninth Company"), Sweden ("Falkenberg Farewell"), Egypt ("The Yacoubian Building"), Iraq ("Dreams"), Iran ("Transit Cafe") and Belgium ("Someone Else's Happiness").
Photo: Right now there is especially strong buzz among academy members enthused over "Pan's Labyrinth."