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Arts & Culture

Foreign Film Short List

Romania's entry unfortunately didn't make the cut. (IFC Films)

By contrast, all the other filmmakers are Oscar newbies, and if Kazakhstan and Serbia move on to the next round, it will mark the first time either country has ever nabbed a Foreign Film nomination. The down side of the list is the fact that France's Persepolis , Lebanon's Caramel , Romania's 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days , Hong Kong's Exiled , South Korea's Secret Sunshine , and Spain' The Orphanage -- brilliant films all -- are out of contention. But Persepolis still has a shot at Best Animated Film.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly , which took the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film, was not in the running for the Oscar's Foreign Film category because France refused to submit a film that was made in France and about French characters but directed by an American. The film is eligible in all other categories. Since its director Julian Schnabel just won a Directors Guild of America nomination, the film still stands a good chance of picking up some Oscar nominations, just not as Best Foreign Language Film... you following?

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Foreign Language Film nominations are more complex than some of the other categories. It's determined differently from the main categories (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, etc.) that have a more straightforward voting process. In a press release, the Academy described the two phases of the 2007 nominating process as follows:

Phase I : Committee, consisting of several hundred Los Angeles-based members, screened the 63 eligible films and their ballots determined the above shortlist.

Phase II : A committee, made up of ten randomly selected members from the Phase I group, joined by specially invited ten-member contingents in New York and Los Angeles, will view the shortlisted films and select the five nominees for the category. Phase II screenings will take place from Friday, January 18, through Sunday, January 20, in both Hollywood and New York City.

Nominations for the 80th Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 22, 2008, at 5:30 a.m. PST in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2007 will be presented on Sunday, February 24, 2008, at the Kodak Theatre. Whether or not there's a full fledged ceremony with celebrities will all depend on what happens with the Writers strike . But no matter what happens, the Oscar attention can only help small films such as these. Make an effort to check out any of the foreign titles that make it to San Diego.

If you're into Oscar trivia, check out the Academy's Database and impress your friends.

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