By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood November 9, 2013 at 12:19PM
One of the frontrunners for the foreign film Oscar is Belgian entry "Broken Circle Breakdown," which was a breakout hit in Belgium before it won the audience award at Berlin last February. The improbable bluegrass musical romance went on to delight global festival audiences, winning best screenplay at Tribeca. Now the Felix van Groeningen film leads the field with five nominations for the 26th European Film Awards, which were announced Saturday morning. It's currently playing in limited release stateside (Tomatometer ranking: 80%).
This crowdpleaser is a four-hankie love story between a sexy tattoo shop owner (Belgian star Veerle Batens) and a freewheeling banjo player (Johan Heldenbergh) who start a family and must confront their different ideologies when their daughter (Nell Cattrysse) gets sick. The film is also nominated for the European Film Awards' People’s Choice prize. It is the only film to sweep all major categories.
Also nominated is another well-received Oscar entry, Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino's "The Great Beauty," which played well in Cannes and scored nominations for picture, director, screenplay and actor for Toni Servillo. European award nominee "Blue is the Warmest Color" was not submitted for the Oscar by France because it was released after the eligibility cut-off, and "Snow White" was Spain's Oscar entry last year. Spain also scored a nomination in the comedy category for Pedro Almodovar's raucous "I'm So Excited," and Danish auteur Susanne Bier's adult romance "Love is All You Need" also landed in the comedy category. Germany submitted another film, "Two Lives," for the Oscar, which is playing well with Academy members.
In the acting categories, Keira Knightley landed a nomination for Working Title's "Anna Karenina," which vied for stateside awards last year, as did Naomi Watts for "The Impossible."
The more than 2,900 EFA Members will now vote for the winners who will be presented during the awards ceremony on December 7 in Berlin.