Oscar: Spanish Film Academy excludes Almodóvar from Oscar race (Cineuropa)

Gordos (“Fat People”), The Dancer and the Thief or Map of the Sounds of Tokyo will represent Spain in the nomination race for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, according to an announcement by Film Academy president Álex de la Iglesia.

The group of hopefuls comprises, respectively, a promising young director in tune with modern times (Daniel Sánchez Arévalo); a mature filmmaker and previous Oscar-winner (Fernando Trueba); and a sophisticated, acclaimed star of auteur cinema (Isabel Coixet).

However, what is most surprising is not the choice of films (although Sánchez Arévalo’s film wasn’t strongly tipped for selection), but the ones left out. Clearly, we are referring to Pedro Almodóvar’s latest work Broken Embraces. This setback adds to a relatively disappointing performance, after the film went home empty-handed from Cannes, grossed just under €4m in Spain (Almodóvar’s worst result in recent years), and the director was involved in a seething public row with El País film critic Carlos Boyero.

The Spanish candidate will be announced on September 29. However, few critics believe that the chosen title will have a chance of making it to the five finalists set to vie for the coveted statuette.

Map of the Sounds of Tokyo received rather poor reviews on the whole, both on its Cannes premiere and its theatrical release. Presented last week at the San Sebastian Film Festival, The Dancer and the Thief didn’t meet with critical enthusiasm either. Gordos received a much warmer reaction but is still considered by many as an overly personal choice by a little-established filmmaker.

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