The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on January 21 that Samson And Delilah is on the shortlist for the best foreign language Oscar.
But Thornton and his film have to clear one final barrier to make it to 82nd Academy Awards ceremony at Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre on March 7.
“Specially invited committees” will cut the nine remaining films to five on January 31.
The five survivors will be the nominees and compete for the Oscar.
“The shortlist will be winnowed down to the five nominees by specially invited committees in New York and Los Angeles,” the Academy said.
“They will spend Friday January 29 through Sunday January 31 viewing three films each day and then casting their ballots.”
The final five nominees will be announced with all other categories at the Academy’s nomination ceremony in Beverly Hills on February 2.
Samson And Delilah stars Rowan McNamara and Marissa Gibson and tells the story of two love-struck teens living in a remote Aboriginal community who steal a car and drive to Alice Springs.
The actors speak in English and Warlpiri.
Thornton has picked up awards for Samson And Delilah across the globe, including the Camera d’Or at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival and eight Australian Film Institute Awards, including best picture, director, original screenplay and cinematography.
The eight other films on the Academy’s foreign language shortlist are: El Secreto De Sus Ojos (Argentina); The World Is Big And Salvation Lurks Around The Corner (Bulgaria); Un Prophete (France); The White Ribbon (Germany); Ajami (Israel); Kelin (Kazakhstan); Winter In Wartime (The Netherlands); and The Milk Of Sorrow (Peru).
The White Ribbon is the frontrunner after claiming the foreign language Golden Globe at the weekend.
A total of 65 films were initially eligible for the best foreign language Oscar.