Cinema: Handicapping the Foreign Oscar

An unwieldy process may keep the best films from winning

They should be the best of the rest of the world: five films representing the cream of international cinema. Yet this year, when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its nominees for Best Foreign-Language Film, you could almost hear a chorus of groans in a dozen tongues. What are these movies? Who ever heard of these directors? Who chooses these things, anyway? Qu'est-ce qui se passe? On Oscar night next Monday, five anonymous films will be filling slots that might have been reserved for Fellini or Bergman, for A Sunday in the Country or A Love in Germany....

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