The favorites were The White Ribbon from Austria and A Prophet from France. But the few hundred people, out of 6,000 Academy members, who choose the Foreign Language award are famous for springing surprises, and this time they select the Argentine thriller The Secret in Their Eyes. Its director, Juan José Campanella, has made a few features in his native land but spent most of the past decade helming episodes of House, 30 Rock, Strangers with Candy and, crucially, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. His winning film is a policier about a 25-year manhunt for a murderer and rapist who is then recruited to do dirty jobs for Argentina's secret police. Of all the category's nominees, this one has the biggest commercial upside in American theaters; at least, that's the hope of the movie's U.S. distributor, Sony Pictures Classics, which also has The White Ribbon and A Prophet. In one of a zillion jokes at Avatar's expense, Campanella thanks the Academy for "not considering Na'vi a foreign language." Hey, he wins one more Oscar tonight than James Cameron does.