Presumably this morning’s news about Matteo Garrone‘s Gomorrah receiving the most nominations for the 21st European Film Awards (along with Paolo Sorrentino‘s Il Divo) will boost its standing with the Academy’s foreign language committee.

Unless the fuddy-duds line up against it. Yesterday Pete Hammond wrote that Gomorrah “is getting predictions that it will be one of the final five, despite mixed response from some who frowned on its generous amount of violence.”

But Gomorrah‘s violence is par for any crime film. The biggest standout factor in this portrait of the crime world of the Camorra, the Italian mafia, is a sense of entrapment and despair. But there’s never any sense of trickery or amplification or phoney-baloney “drama.” The art of Gomorrah is in the harrowing realism, naturalistic atmosphere and non-actorish emoting. It’s disciplined but grim, baby, grim. And yet it holds you every step of the way.

Based on Roberto Saviano‘s book of the same name, Gomorrah won the Cannes Film Festival’s Grand Prix last May.

The other European Film Awards nominees are Laurent Cantet‘s Entre Les Murs, Mike Leigh‘s Happy-Go-Lucky, Juan Antonio Barona‘s The Orphanage and Ari Folman‘s Waltz With Bashir.