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Leviathan (movie)

Oscar also speaks powerfully in foreign languages

Oscar also speaks powerfully in foreign languages

Pawel Pawlikowski's "Ida" has seen its cast, crew and cinematography awarded and hailed by such groups as the Los Angeles Film Critics Circle and the American Society of Cinematographers well in advance of its Oscar nomination. The story of a young Polish nun who learns how her family's real roots in Judaism were destroyed by the Holocaust seems to be the current front-runner to win the foreign-language Oscar.

"Seems" is the operative word here, of course; this year's other foreign film nominees include portraits of life during wartime, raucous revenge, Job-like suffering and a cow herder caught up in a holy war. Regardless of the winner on Oscar night, a look at...