Oscar 2011: Bullhead–Foreign Language Nominee

Michaël R. Roskam’s feature film debut Bullhead, representing Belgium at the Oscars, is among the five films nominated for the Best Foreign-Language Academy Award. Bullhead is Belgium’s sixth Oscar nomination in this category. The winners of the 84th Academy Awards will be announced in Hollywood on 26 February.

Bullhead is an emotionally driven tale of revenge, redemption and fate set against the backdrop of the Belgian bovine hormone mafia. The story starts with young cattle farmer Jacky Vanmarsenille (Matthias Schoenaerts) who is approached by an unscrupulous veterinarian to make a shady deal with a notorious beef trader. But the assassination of a federal policeman and an unexpected confrontation with a mysterious secret from Jacky’s past set in motion a chain of events with far-reaching consequences. Bullhead is an exciting tragedy about fate, lost innocence and friendship, about crime and punishment, but also about conflicting desires and the irreversibility of a man’s destiny.

Bullhead received its international première at the Berlin International Film Festival, and went on touring at international fests around the globe. The film already won over 25 awards at such fests as AFI Fest LA, Palm Springs, Austin, Montréal, Vancouver, Beaune, Les Arcs, Moscow, Motovun and Manresa. Earlier on this year, “Variety” selected Roskam as one of its ’10 Directors to Watch’.
Bullhead also meant the international breakthrough for the film’s lead actor, Matthias Schoenaerts. To play Jacky he underwent a true metamorphosis. His performance put him on the radar of French helmer Jacques Audiard (A Prophet) who cast him for the male lead, together with Oscar-winning actress Marillon Cotillars, in his new film, Rust and Bone. Schoenaerts can also be seen in the upcoming The Loft, alongside James Marsen, Wentworth Miller and Eric Stonestreet.

Bullhead is produced by Bart Van Langendonck for Savage Film, in co-production with Eyeworks (BE), Artémis Production (BE) and Waterland Film (NL). International sales are handled by Celluloid Dreams. ‘We are both surprised and extremely excited,” says Van langendonck about the nomination. ‘We thank the Belgian Oscar committee for giving Bullhead this opportunity, and we’re of course happy that we’ve been able to qualify for a nomination.’