‘Monsieur Lazhar’ up for Oscar

Quebec's Philippe Falardeau has already won slews of prizes.

Jennifer Coxby Jennifer Cox

After weeks of speculating and working its way up the award circuit, it was announced that "Monsieur Lazhar" has moved up another tier in the nominations for the Best Foreign Film Oscar.

It is one of nine films still in the running. Other flicks in the race include Belgium's "Bullhead" directed by Michael R. Roskam, "Pina" directed by Wim Wenders from Germany, Wei Te-sheng's "Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale" in Taiwan, and and Poland's "In Darkness."

"Monsieur Lazharm," directed by Philippe Falardeau, follows the tale of an Algerian immigrant who helps a class cope with the death of their teacher, who commits suicide. The movie takes place in Montreal and is adapted from a play by Évelyne de la Chenelière.

It isn't the first time the film is receiving critical praise – "Monsieur Lazhar" was awarded Best Canadian Feature at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) this past September and it was also named Best Canadian Film by the Toronto Film Critics Association.

The Foreign Language Film nominations for 2011 are being determined in two phases, just as they have been so far.

The Phase I committee, which consists of several hundred Los Angeles-based members, screened the 63 original eligible films between mid-October and January 13. The group’s top six choices, augmented by three additional selections voted by the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee, constitute the shortlist. The shortlist will be winnowed down to the five nominees by specially invited committees in New York and Los Angeles.

The 84th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 24, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.