Amour, a searing portrait of old age from Austria's Michael Haneke, was lauded by Hollywood's movie elite on Thursday, receiving five nominations including best foreign film and — unexpectedly — best picture.
The film stars octogenarian French acting greats Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant as a loving Parisian couple whose world is devastated by the wife's serious illness.
Unflinching and in French, it was an unexpected best-picture nominee, and also received nominations for Haneke's direction, for original screenplay and for the performance of 85-year-old Riva.
The other foreign-language nominees are 18th-century court saga A Royal Affair by Denmark's Nikolaj Arcel; child soldier drama War Witch by Canada's Kim Nguyen; seafaring adventure Kon-Tiki by Norway's Joachim Roenning and Espen Sandberg; and "No" by Chile's Pablo Larrain.
"No" tells the story of a Chilean ad agency that helped to oust dictator Augusto Pinochet through a clever marketing campaign around a 1988 referendum. The film, starring Gael Garcia Bernal, was a surprise hit of the Cannes Film Festival and has since gathered accolades around the world.
Larrain said it struck a chord because it told an unusual story.
"Dictators are not usually ousted through democratic elections and this is a profoundly human story, which is resolved through things that have to do more with beauty than with horror," he said.
Winners of the 85th Oscars will be announced Feb 24 during a ceremony at Hollywood's Dolby Theatre.
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