Sign of the Times, or Pure Coincidence ? Iranian Marjane Satrapi’s animation Persepolis is competing with Israelian Ari Folman’s Waltz With Bashir at the upcoming 2009 Bafta Film Awards in London. For the first time in its three-year history, the BAFTA feature animation race looks like a proper contest. “Wall-E” starts as a hot favorite, but with “Persepolis” and “Waltz With Bashir” both in the running, BAFTA voters face a tricky question about whether animation is really just, you know, for kids.
The Animated documentary Waltz with Bashir, in which an ex-Israeli soldier relives a massacre, is among the five titles up for Bafta’s 2009 foreign film award. Persepolis, another animation about a woman’s memories of growing up in Iran in the 1970s, is also up for the best film not in the English language prize.
Germany’s The Baader Meinhof Complex and French picture I’ve Loved You So Long are also in contention. Italian mob drama Gomorrah completes this year’s shortlist. Based on a bestselling expose of organised crime in Naples, the film is being released in the US next month with a personal endorsement from director Martin Scorsese.
The nominees are announced ahead of the other award nominations to give Bafta members more time to view the titles in contention.
The shortlist was decided by Academy voting members with specific foreign film expertise.
Artificial Eye Magazine is giving “Waltz” a real chance, both in the animation and the foreign-language category, by mailing screeners for only the second time in the distrib’s history. Likewise, Optimum Releasing is mailing “Persepolis” (which did not meet BAFTA’s release-date deadlines last year) to voters.
Last year’s foreign film Bafta went to German film The Lives of Others, which had won the foreign film Oscar the previous year.