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ENTERTAINMENT
August 30, 2012 | By Nicole Sperling
"Little Miss Sunshine" producer Ron Yerxa and former Academy executive director Bruce Davis have been named the co-chairs of the Oscar foreign language executive committee. On Thursday, Mark Johnson, who chaired the committee for the last 12 years, confirmed that the two men would replace him. Last year, Yerxa served as the vice-chair of the committee while Davis had been instrumental in helping Johnson make crucial changes to the voting process for the foreign language film category.
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ENTERTAINMENT
March 2, 2014 | By Mark Olsen
Italy's “The Great Beauty”  won the Oscar for foreign Language film Sunday night. Directed by Paolo Sorrentino, “The Great Beauty” follows a writer, Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo), who finds himself at an emotional crossroads as he looks back over what became of his once-promising life and career after his 65th birthday. The Oscar is the 11th to go to a film from Italy, the last being the 1998 movie “Life Is Beautiful.” Three additional special Oscars went to films from Italy before the establishment of foreign language film as a regular category in 1956.
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TRAVEL
December 19, 2010 | By Terry Gardner, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Whether for yourself or your nearest and dearest, the gift of a foreign language can last a lifetime. Here's a look at some language programs and what they offer: Beverly Hills Lingual Institute My memories of high school and college French are mostly negative because I usually felt dimwitted anytime I tried to speak. So I was surprised to find that the Beverly Hills Lingual Institute felt like a social club, where learning a language isn't a chore. The institute offers 20 to 25 languages for all levels of learners, from beginning through advanced.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 21, 2014 | By Mark Olsen
It's easy to feel a certain fatigue as awards season drags along, with even the most dedicated Oscar-ologists tiring of talking about the same boiled-down pool of a few films. So this may be just the time to turn to the lesser-known quarters of the Oscar ballot, such as the relatively obscure corners of the foreign language film category. It is widely anticipated that the prize will go to either Italy's "The Great Beauty," which picked up similar prizes at the Golden Globes and BAFTAs, or Denmark's "The Hunt," which stars actor Mads Mikkelsen, currently seen on the U.S. television show "Hannibal.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 24, 2013 | By Reed Johnson
As the French might say, the victory of "Amour" for foreign language film at the Oscars on Sunday was practically a fait accompli . Pourquoi, you ask? Well, Michael Haneke's beautiful, elegiac film about a sudden crisis threatening an octogenarian couple's long love affair already had captured the Palme d'Or at last year's Cannes Film Festival, as well as this year's Golden Globe in the foreign language category. The French-language movie -- it was the official entry from Austria, not France -- also had been nominated for the best picture Oscar, an extremely rare feat for a film not in English.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 1, 2013 | By Glenn Whipp
The academy's deadline for foreign-language film submissions is Tuesday, Oct. 1, and though this is a category that has often stymied common sense and gone against the critical consensus, it's safe to say that Sony Pictures Classics has an excellent chance at moving its Oscar winning streak here to five years running. The indie division has two of the year's strongest contenders -- Asghar Farhadi's "The Past" (Iran's submission) and the festival crowd-pleaser "Wadjda," the first-ever Oscar submission from Saudi Arabia.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 8, 2012 | By Nicole Sperling
A record 71 countries have submitted films for consideration in the foreign language category for the 85th annual Academy Awards. Missing, however, is this year's winner. Despite capturing the Oscar in February for the family drama "A Separation," Iran opted to boycott the event as a response to the anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims" that has sparked violence in much of the Middle East. As expected, Michael Haneke's "Amour," from Austria, and Nikolaj Arcel's "A Royal Affair," from Denmark, are entered in the competition for the gold statuette that will be awarded in February, but some other high-profile films such as the Marion Cotillard-starrer "Rust and Bone" and Saudi Arabia's "Wadjda" will not be judged by the foreign language committee at all. PHOTOS: Hollywood backlot moments In the case of Jacques Audiard's "Rust and Bone," which is generating high praise for both Cotillard's and Matthias Schoenaerts' performances, it was passed over by France in favor of the country's second-highest-grossing film of all time, "The Intouchables," starring Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy, which has earned $355 million internationally .  Oscar prognosticators predict that Cotillard's performance still will be recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 14, 2010
"The Secret in Their Eyes" has turned into a secret box-office success. Winner of the best foreign-language film Academy Award this year, the Argentine murder-mystery has sold a total of $4.5-million worth of tickets in the U.S. and Canada so far. That's about what "The Karate Kid" made in a few hours, of course, but it's more than four of the last five Oscar winners in that category had grossed after the same number of weeks in theaters....
ENTERTAINMENT
December 28, 2013 | By Mark Olsen
It makes for an unlikely combination: some of Hollywood's biggest stars rubbing up against relative obscurities from the international festival circuit. Yet that's exactly what happens each year at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, which has become an essential stop for celebs working the awards circuit while also showcasing iforeign language cinema (including Oscar hopefuls). "To me, that's the beauty of the festival, that combination," said festival director Darryl Macdonald.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 3, 2012 | By Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times
Though it has become axiomatic over the last few years that the audience for foreign-language films has been shrinking in America as superheroes dominate the box office, there have been a few recent signs of new life. Earlier this year the Iranian film "A Separation" was nominated for an Oscar not only in the foreign-language category (which it would go on to win) but also for its screenplay, where it competed against the likes of "Bridesmaids," pushing the film out from the margins of the art house.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 20, 2014 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
There are two distinct images that open "Omar. " One is a face; one is a wall. Both are as resilient as resistant - defining elements and powerful metaphors for all that connects and divides us in Palestinian filmmaker Hany Abu-Assad's unnerving new drama. The film first drew attention during last May's Cannes Film Festival where it was the Un Certain Regard jury winner. Now it is in a tight race for the foreign-language Oscar. BEST MOVIES OF 2013: Turan  |  Sharkey  |  Olsen The face is Omar's, portrayed by newcomer Adam Bakri, an excellent find for the filmmaker who relies on him to carry the emotional weight of this difficult movie.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 30, 2014 | By Glenn Whipp
"Searching for Sugar Man," the absorbing investigation into the whereabouts of an elusive '70s singer-songwriter, won the Academy Award for feature documentary last year. It was the first time that the entire body of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences could vote on the category. In previous years, academy members had to attend special screenings of all five nominated documentaries, signing in at the theater in order to prove they were present. Did the feel-good "Sugar Man" win because it was the best documentary - or because it was the most publicized and thus the movie that the majority of academy members saw?
ENTERTAINMENT
January 17, 2014 | By Mark Olsen
In some ways, nothing speaks to the global impact of the Academy Awards quite like the international response to the nominations for best foreign language film. The five nominees in the category are Belgium's “The Broken Circle Breakdown,” Cambodia's “The Missing Picture,” Denmark's “The Hunt,” Italy's “The Great Beauty” and the Palestinian film “Omar.” The final five were selected from a shortlist of nine films that had been whittled down from 76 submissions.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 28, 2013 | By Mark Olsen
It makes for an unlikely combination: some of Hollywood's biggest stars rubbing up against relative obscurities from the international festival circuit. Yet that's exactly what happens each year at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, which has become an essential stop for celebs working the awards circuit while also showcasing iforeign language cinema (including Oscar hopefuls). "To me, that's the beauty of the festival, that combination," said festival director Darryl Macdonald.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 19, 2013 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
It's been many years since I interviewed the late producer Daniel Toscan du Plantier, then the president of Unifrance, the key promoter of French films overseas, but I always remember a comment he made. Toscan, as everyone called him, was talking about the fate of his country's films in the world marketplace as well as in the U.S., but what he said could be applied to foreign-language cinema in general. "If you are on a street full of hamburger shops, you finally want to eat something else.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 12, 2013 | By Glenn Whipp
It's mid-December, and everybody's a winner, what with critics' prizes and best-ofs and award nominations being announced seemingly around the clock. Has any of this changed the best picture race? And how are the documentary and foreign-language categories shaping up? Let's take a look. PICTURE "12 Years a Slave" "Gravity" "Saving Mr. Banks" "American Hustle" "Nebraska" "Captain Phillips" "The Wolf of Wall Street" "Her" "Inside Llewyn Davis" "Philomena" Bubbling under: "Lee Daniels' The Butler," "Blue Jasmine," "August: Osage County," "Fruitvale Station," "Dallas Buyers Club," "All Is Lost," "Prisoners," "Enough Said" Analysis: Golden Globes!
NEWS
February 26, 1989 | PAUL HOUSTON, Times Staff Writer
A governors' task force on Saturday urged that all college graduates be conversant in a foreign language as part of a broad effort to make the United States more competitive in world trade. Task force chairman Gov. Thomas H. Kean (R-N.J.), who next year will become president of Drew University in Madison, N.J., personally recommended that proficiency in a second language be a requirement to graduate, although his group's formal report did not go that far.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 6, 2001
Re "Amid Daily Labors, English Can Have a Low Priority," Voices, Sept. 1: I cringe when I hear people say, "If he wants to live in America, let him learn English!" In the 1970s, when I was already over 50, I moved to Brazil to open Weight Watchers. During three years in Rio de Janeiro I studied constantly. I could learn to read, write and speak the language, but not having a good ear, I never learned to understand more than half of what was spoken. How could I, when "radio" was pronounced "hahdjo" and even "Rio" came out "Heeo"?
ENTERTAINMENT
December 12, 2013 | By Gary Goldstein
The virtue of words gets a sweet, funny, at times profound close-up in "The Great Passage," Japan's entry for 2013's foreign-language Oscar. Director Yuya Ishii, working off a gentle, finely textured script by Kensaku Watanabe (adapted from the novel by Shiwon Miura) takes his time telling this warm story of the 15-year creation of a definitive print dictionary, but it's a worthy journey. Initially set in 1995, on the cusp of a tech explosion that would gradually render physical books an endangered species, the film follows the trajectory of Mitsuya Majime (Ryuhei Matsuda)
ENTERTAINMENT
October 21, 2013 | By Robert Abele
Young people looking to escape their surroundings have been a thematic staple of issue-conscious filmmakers around the world since Fellini's seriocomic masterpiece "I Vitelloni. " Now Pakistani writer-directors Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi address their own country's significant population of twentysomethings itching to immigrate to the West in the feature "Zinda Bhaag," Pakistan's first submission for the foreign-language Oscar in half a century. Visions of international gold hang over the movie's trio of young, vibrant, lower-middle-class friends from bustling Lahore.
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