Warwich Thornson's chances of Oscar glory just got better, as his film Samson & Delilah has made the shortlist of films eligible to be be nominated for a best foreign film Oscar.
An original list of 65 eligible films has been culled down to nine, and Thornton's outback love story will compete for one of five nomination slots.
Thornton nabbed the Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film festival for his directing work, but he faces stiff competition from fellow Cannes favouritesThe White Ribbon and A Prophet, as well as the Golden Bear winner, The Milk of Sorrow (from Peru).
Rounding out the shortlist are: The Secret in Their Eyes (Argentina), "The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner" (Bulgaria), "Ajami" (Israel), "Kelin" (Kazakhstan) and "Winter in Wartime" (the Netherlands).
Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon is currently the hot favourite, having scored the Golden Globe for best foriegn film earlier this week, but the Golden Globes are unreliable for gauging the Oscar's best foreign film.
Academy Awards nominations will be announced on February 3 (Sydney time).