Could regional triumph Omar come up trumps at the Academy Awards?
Who will win? Leading the stakes is Italian movie The Great Beauty, The reviews have been stellar, the visuals are sumptuous, director Paolo Sorrentino is a widely acknowledged master and the storyline – an ageing Roman playboy reflects on his achievements – should strike chords with the Academy. But let's not forget that this is a category that tends to overlook truly great films with alarming regularity.
Who else is nominated? Rithy Panh’s The Missing Picture from Cambodia revisits that country's infamous genocide with puppets. It won a prize at Cannes but might prove too experimental for the Academy.
Regional hope Omar from Palestine’s Hany Abu-Assad – which took centre stage opening the Dubai International Film Festival – is a fine exploration of youth and radicalisation which we’d love to see come up trumps, although at this stage it’s an outside contender.
However this category's true dark horse is Belgium’s The Broken Circle Breakdown – a contemporary romantic tragedy with crowd-pleasing bluegrass songs. Also nominated is The Hunt.