<p>Kacey Mott Klein and Lea Seydoux in &quot;Sister.&quot;</p>

Kacey Mott Klein and Lea Seydoux in "Sister."

Credit: Adopt Films

Denmark's 'A Royal Affair,' Switzerland's 'Sister,' Israel's 'Fill the Void' among the latest foreign Oscar entries

With the deadline looming on October 1, the competition is already tight

With a little over a week to go before the official deadline -- though there are always a couple of stragglers and switches afterwards -- submissions for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar are now flooding in faster than I can write about them. The last two days, in particular, have brought in a bounty of high-profile new entries, many of them laden with festival awards and acclaim.

Perhaps it's simply because I've seen more of the submissions -- 15 at present, with the upcoming London Film Festival set to bulk up that number a bit -- than is usual for me at this early point in the game, but even with another 20 or so entries still to be announced, this is looking like an unusually high-class crop of contenders. Not only are a great many strong films in the running, but many of those are, to some degree at least, Academy-accessible. The shortlisting process is going to be ugly; the race for nominations competitive. And while most pundits agree that "Amour" (with some heat from "The Intouchables") is leading the race for the win, that's not to say there aren't equally (or even more) deserving films in the mix.

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<p>A scene from &quot;The&nbsp;Perks of Being a Wallflower&quot;</p>

A scene from "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Tell us what you thought of 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower'

HitFix
B
Readers
A-
Stephen Chbosky's self-adaptation opens this weekend

I was very impressed with the level of confidence exuded in Stephen Chbosky's "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." We've spoken to the writer/director about the film, praised Logan Lerman's leading performance to the heavens and spoken about it in the podcast. But now the film makes it to theaters after a Toronto bow and you'll all get a look for yourselves. So assuming you make it out to see it, head on back here with your thoughts. And as always, feel free to rate the film via the tool above.

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<p>Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams in "Trouble with the Curve"</p>

Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams in "Trouble with the Curve"

Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'Trouble with the Curve'

HitFix
B
Readers
C+
The Clint Eastwood/Amy Adams drama hits theaters this weekend

A handful of releases this week so we'll start with Robert Lorenz's "Trouble with the Curve." I'm quite the fan, and as you heard in Friday's Oscar Talk podcast, Anne is, too. I still wonder how the Academy will respond but I'm also interested in what you guys have to say. So if/when you get around to it, head on back here with your thoughts. Also, feel free to rate it via the tool above.

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<p>Matt Damon in &quot;Promised&nbsp;Land&quot;</p>

Matt Damon in "Promised Land"

Credit: Focus Features

Matt Damon fights for the soul of America in the trailer for 'Promised Land'

Gus Van Sant's latest was recently added to the season

Not to be outdone the day after Fox Searchlight dropped "Hitchcock" on the season, Focus Features would like to remind everyone of its own last-minute addition: Gus Van Sant's "Promised Land." The film, starring and written by Matt Damon and John Krasinski, has launched its first trailer and it's clear it's dealing in shades of shifting American values. That could be very powerful this season.

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Oscar Talk: Ep. 88 -- Academy changes dates while Searchlight adds a new contender

Oscar Talk: Ep. 88 -- Academy changes dates while Searchlight adds a new contender

Also: This weekend's releases and a quick look at Best Foreign Language Film

Welcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.

This week there have been a number of shake-ups, from significant scheduling shifts to new movies for the season to festival premiere announcements. And there are even a few movies to discuss, too. Let's see what's on the docket...

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<p>Marion Cotillard in &quot;Rust and Bone,&quot; one of the 47 titles vying for this year's European Film Awards.</p>

Marion Cotillard in "Rust and Bone," one of the 47 titles vying for this year's European Film Awards.

Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

47 films longlisted for 2012 European Film Awards

Entries range from 'Amour' to 'Iron Sky'... but where's 'Holy Motors?'

Unless I'm very much mistaken, this might qualify as the first official longlist of the awards season. (Don't get too excited -- you might not have any energy left by January.) The nominations for the European Film Awards -- effectively the Oscars of European cinema -- won't be announced until November 3, but we now know exactly what pool of eligible films they'll be drawn from.

Since voting from the vast selection of European films to play in theaters and at festivals over the past year would be impractical -- especially given that no two country's release schedules are alike -- the European Film Academy instead narrows the field using a system in some ways similar to that of the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. The 20 countries with the most EFA members each elect one film to represent their country in the awards. Then, over 20 further films -- some from other countries, some overlooked by the national committees -- are added to the list by a panel of EFA board members and invited industry experts.

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<p>Daniel&nbsp;Day-Lewis in &quot;Lincoln&quot;</p>

Daniel Day-Lewis in "Lincoln"

Credit: Touchstone Pictures

Steven Spielberg to close AFI Fest for a second year in a row with the premiere of 'Lincoln'

Gala screening will take place on November 8

Well, I pretty much nailed this likelihood in a tweet on Tuesday. With very little left to choose from in the way of North American premieres, what with NYFF really diving in big this year on that front and Telluride and Toronto taking their fair share as usual, it seemed like Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" would be a good fit for AFI Fest. And so it shall be. The November festival always has one or two premieres every year, and last year, one of them was a Spielberg film -- "The Adventures of Tintin" (which closed the fest while Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar" opened it). He'll be back for more in 2012.

”Steven Spielberg is an American master, enriching the cultural legacy of our nation with each new film in his extraordinary career,” AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale said via press release. ”We are honored he has chosen AFI FEST for the World Premiere of 'Lincoln,' an historic cinematic event in itself as it brings the most dramatic American history to life for new generations.”

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In Contention formally acquired by HitFix

In Contention formally acquired by HitFix

A year into the relationship, we put a ring on it

There is no press release planned for this news but I wanted to pass it along to our readership in any case. After seven years of owning and operating In Contention, first as a blogspot thingamajig, then guiding the .com forward as (I think) one of the preeminent awards season outlets in the space, I'm happy to announce that our little company has been formally acquired by HitFix.

The final signatures were committed to paper just after Telluride, which is serendipitous as at last year's fest, just before the premiere of "Albert Nobbs," Greg Ellwood first bent my ear and told me his ideas. Then, three swift weeks later -- a year ago today, in fact -- we officially hitched our wagon to HitFix.

These last 12 months have been kind of a trial run, if you will. And it's been a wonderful experience, a great partnership and a solid foundation on which to build a more permanent and organic relationship. Handing over something you've built from the ground up is a scary thing, but I can't think of a better, more fiercely competitive and consistently growing outlet to have bought In Contention.

And no, nothing's changing. I'm not going anywhere. Guy's not going anywhere. Gerard's not going anywhere. If anything, the coverage will get more angles. Greg Ellwood's material will be folded in here (as you've seen) and some of the other members of the HitFix team may have things to offer, hands to lend as the season really heats up.

So with that, I'm looking forward to moving ahead as HitFix's Editor-at-Large, overseeing the awards coverage of the site and continuing to be dominant in the face of a game that wasn't much more than a few amateur outlets when I first started doing it 11 years ago.

Wow. 11 years. Time flies.

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<p>Rachel Mwanza in &quot;War Witch,&quot; Canada's African-set Oscar submission.</p>

Rachel Mwanza in "War Witch," Canada's African-set Oscar submission.

Credit: Tribeca Film

This year's foreign Oscar race reflects a growingly global medium

Certain strong contenders would not have been eligible a few years ago

Last year, Oscar analyst par excellence Mark Harris, whose insights we'll be missing this awards season, wrote a description of the average Best Foreign Language Film voter that was so specifically accurate that all I can do is quote it: "They like spending a weekend Learning About Other Cultures. They want to see movies that are 'thought-provoking,' but not too disturbing or unsettling. They’re more open-minded about content than they are about style. And more than anything, they like movies that depict the drawbacks, rituals, sociological peculiarities, class inequities, or historical scars of whatever country they’re from."

If that's true, however, such voters are going to be a bit flummoxed by a few of the most prominent contenders in this year's race. Many will admire "Amour," Michael Haneke's study of withered French intelligentsia, set within the spacious confines of a Parisian apartment -- but there will be some who wonder, "Wait, are we in Austria?" Similarly, a lot of voters will likely be into the German-set, German-language Holocaust survival tale "Lore," while others might be twiddling their thumbs, waiting impatiently for the kangaroos to bound onto screen. It's Australia's submission, after all.

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Taking questions for 9/21 Oscar Talk

Taking questions for 9/21 Oscar Talk

Offer up your burning queries

You know the drill. Offer up your need-to-knows in the comments and we'll try to address a few questions at the end of this week's podcast. We will already be addressing Oscar's date changes, "Trouble with the Curve," "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" and foreign language submissions.

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