German industry insiders did the obvious and chose Maren Ade’s breakout feature “Toni Erdmann” as their country’s entry in the race for best foreign-language film at the Academy Awards, it was announced Thursday.
The choice, made by an independent jury Wednesday night, seemed a foregone conclusion after the Intl. Federation of Film Critics earlier in the day named “Toni Erdmann” best film of the year. The award was the latest coup for a film that went in to the Cannes Film Festival relatively unheralded and emerged an unexpected hit, winning raves from critics if not any festival prizes.
The last German film to win the foreign-language Oscar, in 2007, was “The Lives of Others,” a drama set in East Berlin at the height of the espionage-ridden Cold War. “Toni Erdmann,” one of eight films on Germany’s long list for Oscar-entry consideration, departs from the Cold War- and Nazi-related themes so often seen in well-traveled German films and concentrates on the funny and painful relationship between a woman and her estranged father.
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