By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood February 8, 2014 at 12:32PM
This is the first year all the Academy members get to vote on the honor system for best foreign film. If I were to pick a foreign Oscar winner this year on the basis of what the entire Academy would like best, it would be Belgian entry and European Film Awards Best Actress-winner "Broken Circle Breakdown," a sexy and tragic musical family drama adapted from a stage musical, featuring bluegrass music. Up to now, it has not played in many theaters and has not been widely viewed by the Academy at large--who just got their five foreign screeners yesterday.
They are most likely to vote for the movie they've already seen--visually sumptuous European Film Awards-winner "The Great Beauty," by Italian auteur Paolo Sorrentino, which is in current release (review here, more on the foreign nominees' box office prospects here) has out-paced Danish July import "The Hunt," which like last year's "A Royal Affair" stars Mads Mikkelsen ("Hannibal") and is now available on DVD and Netflix. Seen by even fewer voters are Palestinian entry "Omar" and Cambodian "The Missing Picture," which had brief Oscar-qualifying runs and will open in coming weeks.
And another option has just opened up for November release "Broken Circle Breakdown": they can now see it via VOD or iTunes.