Fill the Void (Israel)
The Intouchables (France)
Other Contenders - Lore (Australia), Beyond the Hills (Romania), War Witch (Canada), Sister (Switzerland), Our Children (Belgium), Barbara (Germany), Children of Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina), The Hypnotist (Sweden), Biancanieves (Spain), After Lucia (Mexico)
Commentary - The foreign language branch always has some out of the blue nominee, so everytime we pundits think we have it nailed down, we're thrown into a tailspin. This year will surely lead to some surprises, if for anything else, because it is a stacked year with a lot of contenders, the most ever in fact. Some are clearly at the top of the pile, particularly Amour and The Intouchables which both had festival releases, and latter actually a film release in the U.S., and will probably have the most studio backing heading into the nominations. But there are certaintly some other big names. Denmark's A Royal Affair made a big splash, and maybe could play in tech categories like Costume Design and Art Direction giving it a little more overall buzz. Chile's No features a recognizable face for some voters in Gael Garcia Benal, and has gotten some great reviews. In the last slot I am basically shooting in the dark. In the last slot, I am going with Israel's Fill the Void. While names like Lore, Beyond the hills, War Witch, Sister, Barbara, and others are all gunning for the fifth slot, I am going with Israel at the moment. The film has done some festival rotations, and there is a large Jewish constituency within the Academy which might favor it. But really it is up in the air at this point.