I think Oscar news outlets feel forced at this point to complain about the Foreign Language shortlist each year. And it’s getting kind of stupid.

The Hollywood Reporter has a basic “the picks are controversial” story that proceeds to list five of the nine shortlisted films as good and expected. But then it goes on to complain about a bunch of films that always had problems. Miss Bala and Le Havre just aren’t very good. No one had anything good to say about Flowers of War. Where Do We Go Now? and Once Upon a Time in Anatolia never really had the festival impact to justify complaining about their omission and The Turin Horse apparently spends much of its runtime literally watching potatoes boil.

Furthermore, Belgium’s choice of Bullhead over The Kid with a Bike not only resulted in a shortlist spot but was also a good pick.

This slate strikes me as a good one, despite seeing just one of the films. It’s a good mix of the expected juggernauts and the unknown that a competition like this is meant to uncover.

But at least the Hollywood Reporter and I can agree on something: Spain’s choice of the lackluster Black Bread over the terrific The Skin I Live In is ridiculous and it may have cost them a nod.

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