All told, it would be the most satisfying Foreign Language shortlist in years, were it not for one inexcusable omission: German director Christian Petzold’s Cold War melodrama Barbara. One of this year’s best films by any measure, Petzold’s masterful study of a woman doctor sent to work in the East German hinterlands after trying to escape to the West won a deserved Best Director prize at this year’s Berlin Film Festival and has recently arrives in American theaters to a whole new wave of acclaim for both Petzold and his magnificent leading lady, Nina Hoss. Perhaps some on the Foreign Language committee took umbrage with Petzold’s terse, clear-eyed look at life under the Stasi, preferring instead the sentimentalized Hollywood stylings of a similarly themed recent Oscar winner, The Lives of Others —a movie to which Barbara serves as a well-deserved rebuke. How do you say “Oscar scandal” in German?

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