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Almodovar, Wright, Ozon face off at EFAs

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MADRID -- Pedro Almodovar's "I'm So Excited!", Joe Wright's "Anna Karenina," Francois Ozon's "In the House" and Joachim Ronning and Espen Sanberg's Oscar-nommed "Kon-Tiki" square off among 46 films for the 26th European Film Academy Awards in one of the most-open EFA races in years.

Glaringly absent from the long-list of recommended EFA contenders is Abdellatif Kechiche's "Adele: Chapters 1 & 2" which, like big Cannes winners before it - think Michael Haneke's "Amour" and "The White Ribbon" and Matteo Garrone's "Gomorra" - would have been heads-on favorite in many pundits eyes to have scooped a bevy of top EFA plaudits.

While "Adele" was eligible for contention, having played a big festival between July 1 2012 and July 1 this year, rights-holder Wild Bunch was reluctant, because of piracy concerns, to make VOD and DVD copies available to EFA members on an eagerly title which has yet to roll out commercially across Europe, Wild Bunch partner Vincent Maraval told Variety.

"To allow all Academy members an equal choice in a continent where films are not released day-and-date, European Film Academy board policy is to require that a film is made available to EFA members to be eligible for selection," said EFA director Marion Doering.

Whether "Adele" will be truly missed by the time awards are announced Dec. 7 in Berlin is another question.

A richly diverse selection of European movies from 32 countries has made the 46-pic longlist cut. Beyond "Excited!," "Karenina," "Kon-Tiki" and Wild Bunch's "House," which is eligible for selection, as is Nicolas Wending Refn's "Only God Forgives," also co-sold by Wild Bunch - they range from films by established name auteurs, such as Giuseppe Tornatore's "The Best Offer" and Paolo Sorrentino's "The Great Beauty," to movies likely to be talked up for tech and possibly other top awards - such as Juan Antonio Bayona's "The Impossible" and Ari Folman's "The Congress."

Both "House" and "Forgives" have enjoyed extensive theatrical runs in Europe.

One question is what kind of showing could be made by a clutch of films from first-time or rising directorial stars which have elicited glowing reviews from critics, such as Peter Strickland's "Berberian Sound Studio," Pablo Berger's "Blancanieves," Nana Ekvtimishvali and Simon Gross' "In Bloom" and Clio Barnard's "The Selfish Giant."

EFA's 2,900 members will now vote for nominations in the categories of European Film, Director, Actor, Actress and Screenwriter. Nominations will be announced Nov. 9 at the Seville European Film Festival.

LONGLIST RECOMMENDATIONS, 26TH EUROPEAN FILM AWARDS:

"8-Ball," (Aku Louhimies, Finland)

"Boy Eating The Bird's Food," (Ektoras Lygizos, Greece)

"The Eternal Return of Antonis Paraskevas," (Elina Psykou, Greece)

"I'm So Excited!" (Pedro Almodovar, Spain)

"Anna Karenina," (Joe Wright, U.K.)

"Araf - Somewhere in Between," (Yesim Ustaoglu, Turkey, France, Germany)

"Eat Sleep Die," (Gabriela Pichler, Sweden)

"Berberian Sound Studio," (Peter Strickland, U.K.)

"The Best Offer," (Giuseppe Tornatore, Italy)

"Blancanieves," (Pablo Berger, Spain, France)

"Borgman," (Alex van Warmerdam,The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark)

"The Broken Circle Breakdown," (Felix van Groeningen, Belgium)

"The Congress," (Aril Folman, Israel, Germany, Poland, Luxembourg, France, Belgium)

"The Colour of the Chameleon," (Emil Christov, Bulgaria)

"In The House," (Francois Ozon, France)

"The Deep," (Baltasar Kormakur, Iceland, Norway)

"A Long and Happy Life," (Boris Khlebnikov, Russia)

"The Last Sentence," (Jan Troell, Sweden)

"An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker," (Danis Tanovic, Bosnia & Herzegovina, France, Slovenia)

"The Great Beauty," (Paolo Sorrentino, Italy, France)

"Crossing Boundaries," (Florian Flicker, Austria)

"In Bloom," (Nana Ekvtimishvili, Simon Gross, Germany, Georgia, France)

"Hannah Arendt," (Margarethe von Trotta, Germany, Luxembourg, France, Israel)

"Burning Bush," (Agnieszka Holland, Czech Republic)

"Imagine," (Andrzej Jakimowski, Poland, France, Portugal)

"The Impossible," (Juan Antonio Bayona, Spain)

"Stranger by the Lake," (Alain Guiraudie, France)

"Betrayal," (Kirill Serebrennikov, Russia)

"A Hijacking," (Tobias Lindholm, Denmark)

"Kon-Tiki," (Joachim Ronning, Espen Sandberg, Norway, Denmark, U.K., Germany, Sweden)

"Circles," (Srdan Golubovic, Serbia, Germany, France, Croatia, Slovenia)

"Fill The Void," (Rama Burshtein, Israel)

"A Strange Course of Events," (Raphael Nadjari, Israel, France)

"My Dog Killer," (Mira Fornay, Slovakia, Czech Republic)

"Oh Boy!" (Jan Ole Gerster, Germany)

"Block 12," (Cyprus, Greece)

"Only God Forgives," (Nicolas Winding Refn, Denmark, France)

"Paradise: Faith," (Ulrich Seidl, Austria, Germany, France)

"Child's Pose," (Calin Peter Netzer, Romania)

"Rosie," (Marcel Gisler, Switzerland)

"The Selfish Giant," (Clio Barnard, U.K.)

"I Belong," (Dag Johan Haugerud, Norway)

"The Priest's Children," (Vinko Bresan, Croatia, Serbia)

"The Patience Stone," (Atig Rahimi, France, Germany, Afghanistan)

"What Richard Did," (Lenny Abrahamson, Ireland)

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