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Germany, Iran, Scandinavia, Australia get foreign Oscar nods

Associated Press logo Associated Press 1/24/2017 By JOCELYN NOVECK, AP National Writer
This image released by Sony Pictures Classics shows Sandra Huller as Ines, left, and and Peter Simonischek as Winfried in a scene from the Komplizen Film, "Toni Erdmann." The film was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign language film on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. The 89th Academy Awards will take place on Feb. 26. (Sony Pictures Classics via AP) © The Associated Press This image released by Sony Pictures Classics shows Sandra Huller as Ines, left, and and Peter Simonischek as Winfried in a scene from the Komplizen Film, "Toni Erdmann." The film was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign language film on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. The 89th Academy Awards will take place on Feb. 26. (Sony Pictures Classics via AP)

A father-daughter comedy from Germany, a psychological thriller from Iran, a Danish film about German prisoners of war, a dark Swedish comedy about a grumpy man, and an Australian film about tribal love on a remote South Pacific island are this year's Oscar nominees for best foreign film.

This image released by Cohen Media group shows Shahab Hosseini, left, and Taraneh Alidoosti in a scene from "The Salesman." The film was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign language film on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. The 89th Academy Awards will take place on Feb. 26. (Cohen Media Group via AP) © The Associated Press This image released by Cohen Media group shows Shahab Hosseini, left, and Taraneh Alidoosti in a scene from "The Salesman." The film was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign language film on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. The 89th Academy Awards will take place on Feb. 26. (Cohen Media Group via AP)

One of the best known of the nominees announced Tuesday is "Toni Erdmann," a generational-divide comedy from German writer-director Maren Ade that was a sensation at Cannes in May. The film, almost three hours long, also touches on themes of political and social conflict.

This image released by Sony Pictures Classics shows Oskar Bökelmann, left, and Louis Hofmann in a scene from, "Land of Mine." The film was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign language film on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. The 89th Academy Awards will take place on Feb. 26. (Sony Pictures Classics via AP) © The Associated Press This image released by Sony Pictures Classics shows Oskar Bökelmann, left, and Louis Hofmann in a scene from, "Land of Mine." The film was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign language film on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. The 89th Academy Awards will take place on Feb. 26. (Sony Pictures Classics via AP)

Ade was traveling by train on Tuesday, and the phone connection was so bad, co-producer Jonas Dornbach had to share the nomination news via text message.

An April 21, 2015 photo of Swedish actor Rolf Lassgard filming the role as "Ove" in the film " A man named Ove" in Trollhattan Sweden. The Swedish film 'Ove' was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign language film on Tuesday, Jan 24, 2017. (Bjorn Larsson Rosvall/TT via AP) © The Associated Press An April 21, 2015 photo of Swedish actor Rolf Lassgard filming the role as "Ove" in the film " A man named Ove" in Trollhattan Sweden. The Swedish film 'Ove' was nominated for an Oscar for best foreign language film on Tuesday, Jan 24, 2017. (Bjorn Larsson Rosvall/TT via AP)

"She's extremely happy," he said of Ade, who also co-produced. "It's really, really incredible."

Dornbach, speaking from Berlin, said the film has been so well received because almost everyone can find something that resonates with them personally. "This film speaks about the family and the father-daughter relationship, and everyone has a family, everyone has a certain role in the family, so everyone can really connect," he said.

Also nominated in the category is a previous Oscar winner — Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, with "The Salesman." Farhadi's much-admired "A Separation" won the category in 2012.

"The Salesman" is a psychological thriller about a young couple in Tehran starring in a production of Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman." They move into a new apartment, where a violent act connected to a former tenant changes their lives.

"It is a great honor to see the name of Iran among the countries who produce (the) best non-English movies," Farhadi was quoted as saying by the Iranian semi-official ISNA news agency. It wasn't clear from where he was speaking.

Martin Zandvliet, director of the Danish film "Land of Mine," at first planned to stay home on Tuesday, believing it would be bad karma to go out, but changed his mind and went to Nordisk Film studio in Copenhagen to wait for the nominations with others. When the movie was listed first, "we screamed," he said, calling the nomination "fantastic."

The film, inspired by real events, tells the story of German prisoners of war sent to clear mines in Denmark after World War II.

Claus Ladegaard of the Danish Film Institute was thrilled. "We did it again," he said. "For the fifth time in seven years, we have had a feature film nominated. There is no other country that can compete with that."

The Swedish film "A Man Called Ove" also earned a nod. Based on a novel of the same name, the dark comedy tells the story of a grumpy old man who seeks to end it all, when new acquaintances change his life.

"It is absolutely amazing," actor Rolf Lassgard, who stars, told Swedish broadcaster SVT. "We had never in our wildest dreams ever imagined this."

Rounding out the nominees was "Tanna," the first ever foreign-language nominee from Australia. A story of tribal love, the film was shot on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu, in the Nauvhal language, with an amateur cast of villagers. Documentary filmmakers Bentley Dean and Martin Butler lived on Tanna for months to tell the story.

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AP reporters David Rising in Berlin, Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran contributed to this report.

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