BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced Friday that nine films have advanced to the next round of voting for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.
In alphabetical order the nine films (along with their trailers) are:
"Amour" (Austria) - Michael Haneke's intimate portrayal of an aged couple grappling with illness and the specter of loss, a top-prize winner at Cannes and the European Film Awards. It features superlative performances by veterans Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva (who received a Best Actress Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association).
"Beyond the Hills" (Romania) - This psychological drama from Cristian Mungiu, the director of "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," concerns the relationship of two women, one of whom has been taken in by nuns at a monastery in Romania. Their clash over faith builds to where the nuns are convinced that one is possessed.
Stars Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur shared the Best Actress Award at last summer's Cannes Film Festival.
"The Deep" (Iceland) - Inspired by true events, "The Deep" takes as its jumping-off point the capsizing of a fishing boat off Iceland's volcanic Westman Islands, and the country's reception for the disaster's sole survivor.
"The Intouchables" (France) - A box office hit in France, this comedy stars Omar Sy as a destitute young black man hired to be the caregiver and boon companion of a paralyzed aristocrat (Francois Cluzet).
"Kon-Tiki" (Norway) - Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg's epic retells Thor Heyerdahl's ocean voyage to demonstrate his theory that Polynesia may have been settlers by sailors coming from the Americas. The voyage was first captured in a 1951 documentary about Heyerdahl, which won an Oscar.
"No" (Chile) - Director Pablo Larrain tells the true-life story of the voters' referendum that effectively ended the reign of Chilean dictator Gen. Pinochet.
"A Royal Affair" (Denmark) - The royal physician in an 18th century Danish court beds the young queen. Things get more complicated from there.
Mads Mikkelson (best known to U.S. audiences as a Bond villain in "Casino Royale" and from Nicolas Winding Refn's "Pusher" films) and Alicia Vikander ("Anna Karenina") star.
"Sister" (Switzerland) - Ursula Meier's tale of a 12-year-old boy who steals from the patrons of a luxury Swiss ski resort to help support his older sister.
"War Witch" (Canada) - Montreal director Kim Nguyen's harrowing tale of Congolese child soldiers, in which a 12-year-old girl is forced by rebels to fight for their cause, won Best Film in the World Narrative category of the Tribeca Film Festival.
To winnow down the 71 submitted films which had qualified, ballots of several hundred Academy members who had screened the films produced a shortlist of six top choices, which was augmented by three additional selections voted on by the Academy's Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee.
The list will be further reduced to five nominees by Academy members who view each film between January 4 and 6.
Nominations for the 85th Academy Awards will be announced live on Thursday, January 10, 2013, at 8:30 a.m. ET.
The Oscars will be awarded on Sunday, February 24, 2013.