Countries choose Oscar entries for best foreign-film race

Hong Kong (October 2, 2006) — China, Hong Kong, and Italy choose Oscar entries for best foreign-film race.

China has chosen Zhang Yimou’s “Curse of the Golden Flower” to represent the country in the Academy Awards best foreign film race, while Hong Kong has picked Feng Xiaogang’s “The Banquet.”

“Curse,” which revolves around ancient Chinese imperial politics, was selected by a committee set up by China’s Film Bureau, the Chinese news Web site reported.

“Curse” stars Chow Yun-fat, Gong Li and Taiwanese pop sensation Jay Chou. Meanwhile, Federation of Motion Film Producers of Hong Kong Chairman Crucindo Hung said an 11-member committee of the federation picked Chinese director Feng’s “The Banquet” as the territory’s entry.

A former British colony now ruled by China, Hong Kong is promised significant autonomy from the mainland, and Chinese film regulators don’t have jurisdiction in Hong Kong.

“The Banquet,” inspired by “Hamlet” and starring Zhang Ziyi, is a Hong Kong-China co-production.

A movie depicting the voyage of a Sicilian family from their homeland to America at the beginning of the last century was selected Monday as Italy’s candidate for best foreign language film at the Academy Awards.

The association of film producers selected Emanuele Crialese’s “Nuovomondo,” also known by its English-language title “Golden Door,” after a morning meeting at their Rome offices.

“Nuovomondo” was shown in competition at last month’s Venice Film Festival, where it won an award and Italian critics praised it. It stars Charlotte Gainsbourg alongside a cast of mostly unknown Italian actors and is largely spoken in Sicilian dialect.

Italy last won the best foreign film Oscar in 1999 with Roberto Benigni’s “Life is Beautiful.”

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