Deepa Mehta's Water, Canada's entry for best foreign film Oscar, is among nine films still in the running for an Academy Award.

For the first time on Wednesday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angelesannounced a semifinalist list of nine films that are still being considered in the best foreign film category.

There were originally 61 entries.

From among the nine, a committee of voters in Los Angeles and New York will select the five Academy Award nominees to be announced Jan. 23.

Mehta's Water, a story about the plight of widows inpre-independence India, is one of the final nine.

Pedro Almodovar's Volver, Spain's Oscar entry, is also among the finalists. It stars Penelope Cruz as a working-class mother with a teenaged daughter and a feckless husband.

The other films that have made the cut are:

  • Algeria's Days of Glory, directed by Rachid Bouchareb.
  • Denmark's After the Wedding, directed by Susanne Bier.
  • France's Avenue Montaigne, directed by Danièle Thompson.
  • Germany's The Lives of Others, directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.
  • Mexico's Pan's Labyrinth, directed by Guillermo del Toro.
  • The Netherlands' Black Book, directed by Paul Verhoeven.
  • Switzerland's Vitus, directed by Fredi M. Murer.