Envelope/Feinberg Files columnist Scott Feinberg spoke last night to IFC Entertainment president Jonathan Sehring, whose company is distributing Matteo Garrone’s Gomorrah — the widely-hailed, much-honored Italian crime film that was snubbed yesterday by the Academy’s foreign-language committee by being kept off the “short list” — a preliminary list of foreign-language faves from which the final five nominees are decided upon.
“I know I speak for the entire country of Italy and a lot of people in the critical community when I say that it just doesn’t make sense and there’s something wrong with the foreign language committee as a whole,” Sehring told Feinberg. “It’s still broken.”
Sehring, says Feinberg, “noted that despite the endorsements the film had received from festivals, critics, and even Martin Scorsese, he was never confident that the rules changes had corrected the foreign language committee’s underlying problems or that the committee would pick Gomorrah for the shortlist.
And yet Sehring had been pessimistic all along. “We were concerned,” he said. “We got messages that the initial screening didn’t go well, so you figure you’re vying for one of three slots,” referring to the executive committee’s slots. “It just demonstrates the foreign language committee’s aversion to graphic violence, I guess. I mean, I don’t know…I look back at City of God not getting a nomination. I look back at our experience with 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days not getting a nomination. And now this?
“You would hope that the [committee] would pay attention to the critical response around the world. You would hope that they would take into account world cinema awards. I don’t know. How can they get it so wrong two years in a row? It’s a real disappointment, and we’re sort of dismayed, but it’s not gonna stop us from distributing movies like 4 Months or Gomorrah and we’ll soldier on.”
Note: I don’t like spelling Gomorrah without an “h” at the end. I look at it without the “h” and I go, “That’s just not right. It needs an ‘h.'”