Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
Overview
 
The Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film is one of the Academy Awards of Merit, popularly known as the Oscars, handed out annually by the U.S.-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a professional honorary organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures...

 (AMPAS). It is given to a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States of America with a predominantly non-English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 dialogue track.

When the first Academy Awards ceremony was held on May 16, 1929 to honor films released in 1927/28
1928 in film
-Events:Although some movies released in 1928 had sound, most were still silent.* July 28 - Lights of New York is released by Warner Brothers. It is the first "100% Talkie" feature film, in that dialog is spoken throughout the film...

, there was no separate category for foreign language films. Between 1947
20th Academy Awards
The 20th Academy Awards spread awards around, with no film receiving more than 3 awards, the last time this would happen until the 78th Academy Awards....

 and 1955
28th Academy Awards
The 28th Academy Awards were presented at the RKO Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Marty, a simple and low-budget film usually uncharacteristic of Best Picture awardees, became the shortest film to win the top honor.This year also was notable for having only 2 of the best picture...

, the Academy presented Special/Honorary Awards
Academy Honorary Award
The Academy Honorary Award, instituted in 1948 for the 21st Academy Awards , is given by the discretion of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to celebrate motion picture achievements that are not covered by existing Academy Awards, although prior winners of...

 to the best foreign language films released in the United States.
Encyclopedia
The Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film is one of the Academy Awards of Merit, popularly known as the Oscars, handed out annually by the U.S.-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a professional honorary organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures...

 (AMPAS). It is given to a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States of America with a predominantly non-English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 dialogue track.

When the first Academy Awards ceremony was held on May 16, 1929 to honor films released in 1927/28
1928 in film
-Events:Although some movies released in 1928 had sound, most were still silent.* July 28 - Lights of New York is released by Warner Brothers. It is the first "100% Talkie" feature film, in that dialog is spoken throughout the film...

, there was no separate category for foreign language films. Between 1947
20th Academy Awards
The 20th Academy Awards spread awards around, with no film receiving more than 3 awards, the last time this would happen until the 78th Academy Awards....

 and 1955
28th Academy Awards
The 28th Academy Awards were presented at the RKO Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Marty, a simple and low-budget film usually uncharacteristic of Best Picture awardees, became the shortest film to win the top honor.This year also was notable for having only 2 of the best picture...

, the Academy presented Special/Honorary Awards
Academy Honorary Award
The Academy Honorary Award, instituted in 1948 for the 21st Academy Awards , is given by the discretion of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to celebrate motion picture achievements that are not covered by existing Academy Awards, although prior winners of...

 to the best foreign language films released in the United States. These Awards, however, were not handed out on a regular basis (no Award was given in 1953
26th Academy Awards
The 26th Academy Awards honored the best in films of 1953.The second national telecast of the Awards show draws an estimated 43,000,000 viewers. Shirley Booth, appearing in a play in Philadelphia, presents the Best Actor award through a live broadcast cut-in, and privately receives the winner's...

), and were not competitive since there were no nominees but simply one winning film per year. For the 1956 (29th) Academy Awards
29th Academy Awards
During the 29th Academy Awards, the regular competitive category of Best Foreign Language Film was introduced, instead of only being recognized as a Special Achievement Award or as a Best Picture nominee . The first winner in this new category was Federico Fellini's La strada with Anthony Quinn and...

, a competitive Academy Award of Merit, known as the Best Foreign Language Film Award, was created for non-English speaking films, and has been given annually since then.

Unlike other Academy Awards, the Best Foreign Language Film Award is not presented to a specific individual. It is accepted by the winning film's director, but is considered an award for the submitting country as a whole. Over the years, the Best Foreign Language Film Award and its predecessors have been given almost exclusively to European films: out of the 63 Awards handed out by the Academy since 1947
20th Academy Awards
The 20th Academy Awards spread awards around, with no film receiving more than 3 awards, the last time this would happen until the 78th Academy Awards....

 to foreign language films, fifty one have gone to European films, five to Asian films
Asian cinema
Asian cinema refers to the film industries and films produced in the continent of Asia, and is also sometimes known as Eastern cinema. More commonly however, it is used to refer to the cinema of Eastern, Southeastern and Southern Asia. West Asian cinema is sometimes classified as part of Middle...

, three to African films
African cinema
The term African cinema refers to the film production in Africa, following formal independence. Some of the countries in North Africa developed a national film industry much earlier and are related to West Asian cinema...

 and three to films from the Americas
Cinema of the Americas
For information on the cinema of the Americas, see:*North American cinema**Cinema of Canada***Cinema of Quebec**Cinema of the United States*Latin American cinema**Cinema of Argentina**Cinema of Brazil**Cinema of Colombia**Cinema of Cuba...

. Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI , was an Italian film director and scriptwriter. Known for a distinct style that blends fantasy and baroque images, he is considered one of the most influential and widely revered filmmakers of the 20th century...

 directed four Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award–winning motion pictures during his lifetime, a record that remains unmatched as of 2007 (if Special Awards
Academy Honorary Award
The Academy Honorary Award, instituted in 1948 for the 21st Academy Awards , is given by the discretion of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to celebrate motion picture achievements that are not covered by existing Academy Awards, although prior winners of...

 are taken into account, then Fellini's record is tied by his fellow countryman Vittorio De Sica
Vittorio de Sica
Vittorio De Sica was an Italian director and actor, a leading figure in the neorealist movement....

).
The most awarded foreign country is Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, with 10 awards won, 3 Special Awards
Academy Honorary Award
The Academy Honorary Award, instituted in 1948 for the 21st Academy Awards , is given by the discretion of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to celebrate motion picture achievements that are not covered by existing Academy Awards, although prior winners of...

 and 27 nominations, while Israel is the foreign country to have the most nominations, 9, without winning an award.

History

When the first Academy Awards
1st Academy Awards
The 1st Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences , honored the best films of 1927 and 1928 and took place on May 16, 1929, at a private dinner held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, in Los Angeles, California. AMPAS president Douglas Fairbanks hosted the...

 ceremony was held in 1929, no foreign language film was honored. During the early post-war era (1947–1955), eight foreign language films received Special or Honorary Awards
Academy Honorary Award
The Academy Honorary Award, instituted in 1948 for the 21st Academy Awards , is given by the discretion of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to celebrate motion picture achievements that are not covered by existing Academy Awards, although prior winners of...

. Academy leader and board member Jean Hersholt
Jean Hersholt
Jean Pierre Hersholt was a Danish-born actor who lived in the United States, where he was a leading film and radio talent, best known for his 17 years starring on radio in Dr. Christian and for playing Shirley Temple's grandfather in Heidi...

 argued that "an international award, if properly and carefully administered, would promote a closer relationship between American film craftsmen and those of other countries." The first foreign language film honored with such an award was the Italian neorealist
Italian neorealism
Italian neorealism is a style of film characterized by stories set amongst the poor and working class, filmed on location, frequently using nonprofessional actors...

 drama Shoe-Shine, whose citation read: "the high quality of this motion picture, brought to eloquent life in a country scarred by war
Military history of Italy during World War II
During World War II , the Kingdom of Italy had a varied and tumultuous military history. Defeated in Greece, France, East Africa and North Africa, the Italian invasion of British Somaliland was one of the only successful Italian campaigns of World War II accomplished without German support.In...

, is proof to the world that the creative spirit can triumph over adversity." In the following years, similar awards were given to seven other films: one from Italy (The Bicycle Thief
Bicycle Thieves
Bicycle Thieves , also known as The Bicycle Thief, is a 1948 Italian neorealist film directed by Vittorio De Sica. It tells the story of a poor man searching the streets of Rome for his stolen bicycle, which he needs to be able to work. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Luigi...

), two from France (Monsieur Vincent
Monsieur Vincent
Monsieur Vincent is a 1947 French film about Vincent de Paul, the seventeenth century priest and charity worker. It depicts his struggle to help the poor in the face of obstacles such as the Black Death....

and Forbidden Games
Forbidden Games
Forbidden Games , is a 1952 French-language film directed by René Clément and based on François Boyer's novel, Jeux interdits.While not initially successful in France, the film was a hit elsewhere. It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, and is still one of the most popular French films...

), three from Japan (Rashomon
Rashomon (film)
The bandit's storyTajōmaru, a notorious brigand , claims that he tricked the samurai to step off the mountain trail with him and look at a cache of ancient swords he discovered. In the grove he tied the samurai to a tree, then brought the woman there. She initially tried to defend herself with a...

, Gate of Hell and Samurai, The Legend of Musashi
Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto
is a 1954 color Japanese film by Hiroshi Inagaki starring Toshirō Mifune. It is the first film of Inagaki's Samurai Trilogy of historical adventures. The film is adapted from Eiji Yoshikawa's novel Musashi. The novel is loosely based on the life of the famous Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi...

), as well as a Franco-Italian co-production
International co-production
An international co-production is a production where two or more different production companies are working together, for example in a film production...

 (The Walls of Malapaga
The Walls of Malapaga
The Walls of Malapaga ), is a 1949 Franco-Italian film co-production made by Francinex and Italia Produzione. It was directed by René Clément and produced by Alfredo Guarini from a screenplay by Cesare Zavattini, Suso Cecchi d'Amico and Alfredo Guarini adapted by Jean Aurenche and Pierre Bost...

). These awards, however, were handed out on a discretionary rather than a regular basis (no award was given at the 26th Academy Awards
26th Academy Awards
The 26th Academy Awards honored the best in films of 1953.The second national telecast of the Awards show draws an estimated 43,000,000 viewers. Shirley Booth, appearing in a play in Philadelphia, presents the Best Actor award through a live broadcast cut-in, and privately receives the winner's...

 held in 1954), and were not competitive since there were no nominees but simply one winning film per year.

A separate category for non-English-language films was created in 1956. Known as the Best Foreign Language Film Award, it has been awarded annually since then. The first recipient was the Italian neorealist drama La Strada
La Strada
La Strada is a 1954 Italian neorealist drama directed by Federico Fellini in which a naïve young woman is sold to a brutish man and goes on the road as a part of his itinerant show....

, which helped establish Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI , was an Italian film director and scriptwriter. Known for a distinct style that blends fantasy and baroque images, he is considered one of the most influential and widely revered filmmakers of the 20th century...

 as one of the most important European directors.

Eligibility

Unlike other Academy Awards, the Foreign Language Film Award does not require films to be released in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in order to be eligible for competition. Films competing in the Foreign Language Film category must have been first released in the country submitting them during the eligibility period defined by the rules of the Academy
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a professional honorary organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures...

, and must have been exhibited for at least seven consecutive days in a commercial movie theater
Movie theater
A movie theater, cinema, movie house, picture theater, film theater is a venue, usually a building, for viewing motion pictures ....

. The eligibility period for the Foreign Language Film category differs from that required for most other categories: the awards year defined for the Foreign Language Film category usually begins and ends before the ordinary awards year, which corresponds to an exact calendar year
Calendar year
Generally speaking, a calendar year begins on the New Year's Day of the given calendar system and ends on the day before the following New Year's Day. By convention, a calendar year consists of a natural number of days. To reconcile the calendar year with an astronomical cycle , certain years...

. For the 80th Academy Awards
80th Academy Awards
The 80th Academy Awards ceremony honored the best films in 2007 and was broadcast from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California on ABC beginning at 5:30 p.m. PST/8:30 p.m. EST, February 24, 2008 . During the ceremony, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented Academy Awards in 24...

, for instance, the release deadline for the Foreign Language Film category was set on September 30, 2007, whereas the qualifying run for most other categories extended till December 31, 2007.

Although the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film is commonly referred to simply as the Foreign Film Oscar in newspaper articles and on the Internet, such a designation is misleading, since a film's nationality matters much less than its language. Although a film has to be "foreign" (i.e. non-American
Cinema of the United States
The cinema of the United States, also known as Hollywood, has had a profound effect on cinema across the world since the early 20th century. Its history is sometimes separated into four main periods: the silent film era, classical Hollywood cinema, New Hollywood, and the contemporary period...

) in order to be nominated for the Award, it also has to be in a language other than English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

. Foreign films where the majority of the dialogue is in English cannot qualify for the Foreign Language Film Award, and the Academy
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a professional honorary organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures...

 has usually applied this requirement very seriously by disqualifying films containing too much English dialogue, the most recent case being that of the Israeli
Cinema of Israel
Cinema of Israel refers to movie production in Israel since its founding in 1948. Most Israeli films are produced in Hebrew. Israel has been nominated for more Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film than any other country in the Middle East....

 film The Band's Visit
The Band's Visit
The Band's Visit is an acclaimed 2007 Israeli film directed by Eran Kolirin.The Band's Visit was Israel's original Foreign Language Film submission for the 80th Academy Awards, but was rejected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences because it contained over 50% English dialogue...

(2007). Despite the basic importance of the foreign language requirement, a completely dialogueless film such as Le Bal
Le Bal (film)
Le bal is a 1983 Italian-Franco-Algerian film without dialogue directed by Ettore Scola that represents the fifty-year story of the French society by way of a ballroom in France.-Cast:...

(1983) was still able to get nominated in the Foreign Language Film category.

Another disqualifying factor is a film's television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

 or Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

 transmission prior to its theatrical release, hence the Academy's rejection of the Dutch
Cinema of the Netherlands
Because the Dutch film industry is relatively small, and there is little or no international market for Dutch films, almost all films rely on state funding. This funding can be achieved through several sources, for instance through the Dutch Film Fund or the Dutch public broadcast networks...

 film Bluebird
Bluebird (film)
Bluebird is a 2004 Dutch television movie directed by Mijke de Jong. It was selected by the Netherlands as its official Foreign Language Film submission for the 78th Academy Awards, but was rejected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences because it had aired on television....

(2004). A film may also be refused if its submitting country has exercised insufficient artistic control over it. Several films have been declared ineligible by the Academy for the latter reason, the most recent of which is Lust, Caution (2007), Taiwan
Cinema of Taiwan
The history of Chinese-language cinema has three separate threads of development: Cinema of Hong Kong, Cinema of Mainland China and Cinema of Taiwan . Taiwanese cinema grew up outside of the Hong Kong mainstream and the censorship of the People's Republic of China.Taiwanese cinema is deeply rooted...

's entry for the 80th Academy Awards
80th Academy Awards
The 80th Academy Awards ceremony honored the best films in 2007 and was broadcast from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California on ABC beginning at 5:30 p.m. PST/8:30 p.m. EST, February 24, 2008 . During the ceremony, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented Academy Awards in 24...

. The disqualifications, however, generally take place in the pre-nomination stage, with the exception of A Place in the World
A Place in the World (film)
A Place in the World is an Argentine drama film co-written, co-produced and directed by Adolfo Aristarain. The film features José Sacristán, Federico Luppi, Leonor Benedetto, and others....

(1992), Uruguay's entry for the 65th Academy Awards
65th Academy Awards
The 65th Academy Awards were presented March 29, 1993 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles. This was the fourth consecutive show hosted by Billy Crystal.Unforgiven won four Oscars out of nine nominations including Best Picture.-Awards:...

, which was disqualified because of insufficient Uruguayan artistic control after having secured a nomination. It is the only film so far to have been declared ineligible and removed from the final ballot after having been nominated for the Foreign Language Film Award.

Since the 2006 (79th) Academy Awards
79th Academy Awards
The 79th Academy Awards ceremony , honored the best films of 2006 and took place on February 25, 2007 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on ABC. Ellen DeGeneres hosted the ceremony for the first time. The producer was Laura Ziskin. The announcers were Don LaFontaine and Gina Tuttle.The nominees were...

, submitted films no longer have to be in an official language of the submitting country. This requirement had previously prevented countries from submitting films where the majority of the dialogue was spoken in a language that was non-native to the submitting country, and the Academy
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a professional honorary organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures...

's executive director explicitly cited as a reason for the rule change the case of the Italian
Cinema of Italy
The history of Italian cinema began just a few months after the Lumière brothers had patented their Cinematographe, when Pope Leo XIII was filmed for a few seconds in the act of blessing the camera.-Early years:...

 film Private
Private (film)
Private is a 2004 film directed by Saverio Costanzo. A debut film by the director, the film is a minimalist psychological drama about a Palestinian family of seven suddenly confronted with a volatile situation in their home that in many ways reflects the larger ongoing conflict between Palestinians...

(2004), which was disqualified simply because its main spoken languages were Arabic and Hebrew, neither of which are indigenous languages of Italy. This rule change enabled a country like Canada to receive a nomination for a Hindi-language film, Water. Previously, Canada had been nominated for French-language films only, since films shot in Canada's other official language (English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

) were ineligible for consideration for the Foreign Language Film category. The rule change, however, did not affect the eligibility of non-English speaking American films
Cinema of the United States
The cinema of the United States, also known as Hollywood, has had a profound effect on cinema across the world since the early 20th century. Its history is sometimes separated into four main periods: the silent film era, classical Hollywood cinema, New Hollywood, and the contemporary period...

, which are still disqualified from the Foreign Language Film category due to their nationality. Because of this, a Japanese-language film like Letters from Iwo Jima
Letters from Iwo Jima
is a 2006 war film directed and co-produced by Clint Eastwood, and starring Ken Watanabe and Kazunari Ninomiya. The film portrays the Battle of Iwo Jima from the perspective of the Japanese soldiers and is a companion piece to Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers, which depicts the same battle from the...

(2006) or a Mayan-language film like Apocalypto
Apocalypto
Apocalypto is a 2006 American epic action-adventure film directed by Mel Gibson. Set in Yucatan, Mexico, during the declining period of the Maya civilization, Apocalypto depicts the journey of a Mesoamerican tribesman who must escape human sacrifice and rescue his family after the capture and...

(2006) were unable to compete for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, even though they were both nominated for (and, in the case of Letters from Iwo Jima
Letters from Iwo Jima
is a 2006 war film directed and co-produced by Clint Eastwood, and starring Ken Watanabe and Kazunari Ninomiya. The film portrays the Battle of Iwo Jima from the perspective of the Japanese soldiers and is a companion piece to Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers, which depicts the same battle from the...

, won) the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film
Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film
The Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film is one of the awards presented at the Golden Globes, an American film awards ceremony.Until 1986, it was known as the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film, meaning that any non-American film could be honoured...

, which does not have similar nationality restrictions.

Although all films produced inside the United States are ineligible for consideration for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film regardless of the language of their dialogue track, those produced in U.S. overseas possessions are not. Puerto Rico
Cinema of Puerto Rico
The history of the Cinema industry in Puerto Rico begins with the US invasion of the island in 1898. At that time, the American soldiers brought cameras to record what they saw. It was not until the 1912 that Puerto Ricans would begin to produce their own films.After this, Puerto Rican cinema has...

, an unincorporated territory of the United States, is therefore able to submit films to the Academy, and even received a nomination for Santiago, the Story of his New Life
Lo que le Pasó a Santiago
Lo que le pasó a Santiago is a 1989 Puerto Rican film written and directed by Jacobo Morales.The movie tells the story of a recently retired widower who meets a mysterious young lady in his life, disrupting his daily routines.Lo que le pasó a Santiago was the first Puerto Rican production in...

(1989). Since Puerto Ricans
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 have had American citizenship since 1917
Jones-Shafroth Act
The Jones–Shafroth Act was a 1917 Act of the United States Congress by which Puerto Ricans were collectively made U.S. citizens, the people of Puerto Rico were empowered to have a popularly-elected Senate, established a bill of rights, and authorized the election of a Resident Commissioner to a...

, the overwhelming majority of the latter film’s cast and crew were thus American citizens. This resulted in a rather uncommon situation, whereby a film was nominated for the Foreign Language Film Award despite most of the people involved in its production being American.

Submission and nomination process

Every country is invited to submit what it considers its best film to the Academy. The designation of each country's official submission has to be done by an organization, jury or committee composed of people from the film industry
Film industry
The film industry consists of the technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking: i.e. film production companies, film studios, cinematography, film production, screenwriting, pre-production, post production, film festivals, distribution; and actors, film directors and other film crew...

, whose members' names must be sent to the Academy. Only one film is accepted from each country.

After each country has designated its official entry, English-subtitled
Subtitle (captioning)
Subtitles are textual versions of the dialog in films and television programs, usually displayed at the bottom of the screen. They can either be a form of written translation of a dialog in a foreign language, or a written rendering of the dialog in the same language, with or without added...

 copies of all submitted films are shipped to the Academy, where they are screened by the Foreign Language Film Award Committee(s), whose members select by secret ballot
Secret ballot
The secret ballot is a voting method in which a voter's choices in an election or a referendum are anonymous. The key aim is to ensure the voter records a sincere choice by forestalling attempts to influence the voter by intimidation or bribery. The system is one means of achieving the goal of...

 the five official nominations. Final voting for the winner is restricted to active and life Academy members who have attended exhibitions of all five nominated films. Members who have watched the Foreign Language Film entries only on videocassette or DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

 are ineligible to vote. These procedures were slightly modified for the 2006 (79th) Academy Awards
79th Academy Awards
The 79th Academy Awards ceremony , honored the best films of 2006 and took place on February 25, 2007 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on ABC. Ellen DeGeneres hosted the ceremony for the first time. The producer was Laura Ziskin. The announcers were Don LaFontaine and Gina Tuttle.The nominees were...

, with the Academy deciding to institute a two-stage process in determining the nominees: for the first time in the history of the award, a nine-film shortlist was published one week before the official nominations announcement. In the meantime, a smaller thirty-member committee which included ten New York
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

-based Academy members was formed, and spent three days viewing the shortlisted films before choosing the five official nominees. Residents of the city hosting the country's second largest film industry were thus allowed to participate for the first time ever in the selection process for the Foreign Language Film Award nominees.

Recipient

Unlike the Academy Award for Best Picture
Academy Award for Best Picture
The Academy Award for Best Picture is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to artists working in the motion picture industry. The Best Picture category is the only category in which every member of the Academy is eligible not only...

, which officially goes to the winning film's producers, the Foreign Language Film Award is not given to a specific individual but is considered an award for the submitting country as a whole. For example, the Oscar statuette won by the Canadian film The Barbarian Invasions (2003) was until recently on display at the Museum of Civilization
Musée de la civilisation
The Musée de la civilisation is a museum located in Quebec City. It is situated in old Québec near the Saint Lawrence River...

 in Quebec City
Quebec City
Quebec , also Québec, Quebec City or Québec City is the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec and is located within the Capitale-Nationale region. It is the second most populous city in Quebec after Montreal, which is about to the southwest...

. It is not on display at the TIFF Bell lightbox.

The rules currently governing the Foreign Language Film category state that "the Academy statuette (Oscar) will be awarded to the picture and accepted by the director on behalf of the film's creative talents" (emphasis added). Therefore, the director does not personally win the Award, but simply accepts it during the ceremony. In fact, the Foreign Language Film Award has never been associated with a specific individual since its creation, except for the 1956 (29th) Academy Awards
29th Academy Awards
During the 29th Academy Awards, the regular competitive category of Best Foreign Language Film was introduced, instead of only being recognized as a Special Achievement Award or as a Best Picture nominee . The first winner in this new category was Federico Fellini's La strada with Anthony Quinn and...

, when the names of the producers were included in the nomination for the Foreign Language Film category. A director like Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI , was an Italian film director and scriptwriter. Known for a distinct style that blends fantasy and baroque images, he is considered one of the most influential and widely revered filmmakers of the 20th century...

 is thus considered to have never officially won an Academy Award of Merit during his lifetime, even though four of his films received the Foreign Language Film Award (the only Academy Award that Fellini personally won was his 1992
65th Academy Awards
The 65th Academy Awards were presented March 29, 1993 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles. This was the fourth consecutive show hosted by Billy Crystal.Unforgiven won four Oscars out of nine nominations including Best Picture.-Awards:...

 Honorary Award
Academy Honorary Award
The Academy Honorary Award, instituted in 1948 for the 21st Academy Awards , is given by the discretion of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to celebrate motion picture achievements that are not covered by existing Academy Awards, although prior winners of...

). On the other hand, producers Dino De Laurentiis
Dino De Laurentiis
Agostino "Dino" De Laurentiis was an Italian film producer.-Early life:He was born at Torre Annunziata in the province of Naples, and grew up selling spaghetti produced by his father...

 and Carlo Ponti
Carlo Ponti
Carlo Ponti was an Italian film producer with over 140 production credits, and the husband of Italian movie star Sophia Loren.-Career:...

 are considered to have personally won the 1956
29th Academy Awards
During the 29th Academy Awards, the regular competitive category of Best Foreign Language Film was introduced, instead of only being recognized as a Special Achievement Award or as a Best Picture nominee . The first winner in this new category was Federico Fellini's La strada with Anthony Quinn and...

 Foreign Language Film Award given to Fellini's La Strada
La Strada (film)
La Strada is a 1954 Italian neorealist drama directed by Federico Fellini in which a naïve young woman is sold to a brutish man and goes on the road as a part of his itinerant show....

(1954), since their names were explicitly included in the nomination.

Criticisms and controversies

Because each country chooses its official submission according to its own rules, the decisions of the nominating bodies in each respective country are sometimes mired in controversy: for instance, the Indian
Cinema of India
The cinema of India consists of films produced across India, which includes the cinematic culture of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal. Indian films came to be followed throughout South Asia and...

 selection committee was recently accused of bias by Bhavna Talwar
Bhavna Talwar
Bhavna Talwar is an Indian journalist turned film director. Her debut film, Dharm , won the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration at the 2007 National Film Award...

, the director of Dharm
Dharm (film)
Dharm is a 2007 Hindi film directed by Bhavna Talwar and starring Pankaj Kapoor and Supriya Pathak in lead roles. This debut film of the director is based around the theme of communal harmony...

(2007), who claimed her film was rejected in favor of Eklavya: The Royal Guard
Eklavya: The Royal Guard
Eklavya: The Royal Guard is a Bollywood film directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra which was released in India, the Netherlands, the United States, and the United Kingdom on 16 February 2007....

(2007) because of the personal connections of the latter film's director and producer.

Another object of controversy is the Academy's "one-country-one-film" rule, which has been criticized by filmmakers. Although it allows films from small countries like Iceland
Cinema of Iceland
Iceland has a notable cinema film industry. There are many actors to list who have caught international attention. The most famous film, and the only one to be nominated for the Oscar and European film awards, is Children of nature, directed by Fridrik Thor Fridriksson...

 or Bosnia and Herzegovina to get recognized by the Academy by putting them on an equal footing with major releases from established filmmaking nations, it also forces countries with a strong film industry like India
Cinema of India
The cinema of India consists of films produced across India, which includes the cinematic culture of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal. Indian films came to be followed throughout South Asia and...

, Germany
Cinema of Germany
Cinema in Germany can be traced back to the late 19th century. German cinema has made major technical and artistic contributions to film.Unlike any other national cinemas, which developed in the context of relatively continuous and stable political systems, Germany witnesses major changes to its...

, France
Cinema of France
The Cinema of France comprises the art of film and creative movies made within the nation of France or by French filmmakers abroad.France is the birthplace of cinema and was responsible for many of its early significant contributions. Several important cinematic movements, including the Nouvelle...

 or Italy
Cinema of Italy
The history of Italian cinema began just a few months after the Lumière brothers had patented their Cinematographe, when Pope Leo XIII was filmed for a few seconds in the act of blessing the camera.-Early years:...

 to exclude many legitimate motion pictures because they are forced to select only one film. For the submissions for the 80th Academy Awards, for instance, critically acclaimed films such as La Vie en Rose
La Vie en rose (film)
La Vie En Rose is a 2007 French biographical film about the life of French chanteuse Édith Piaf co-written, and directed by Olivier Dahan. Marion Cotillard stars as Piaf. The title La Vie en Rose comes from Piaf's signature song...

(2007), whose lead actress Marion Cotillard
Marion Cotillard
Marion Cotillard is a French actress and singer. She garnered critical acclaim for her roles in films such as La Vie en Rose, My Sex Life... or How I Got Into an Argument, Taxi, Furia and Jeux d'enfants...

 eventually won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Actress
Academy Award for Best Actress
Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role is one of the Academy Awards of merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actress who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry...

, were not eligible simply because France had to choose only one film to submit and opted instead for Persepolis
Persepolis (film)
Persepolis is a 2007 French animated film based on Marjane Satrapi's autobiographical graphic novel of the same name. The film was written and directed by Satrapi with Vincent Paronnaud. The story follows a young girl as she comes of age against the backdrop of the Iranian Revolution. The story...

(2007), a film with far more critical acclaim.

Moreover, the need for a film to be actually submitted by a specific country hinders the chances of international co-production
International co-production
An international co-production is a production where two or more different production companies are working together, for example in a film production...

s of getting nominated. For example, a multinational film such as The Motorcycle Diaries
The Motorcycle Diaries (film)
At the end of the film, after his sojourn at the leper colony, Guevara confirms his nascent egalitarian, anti-authority impulses, while making a birthday toast, which is also his first political speech. In it he evokes a pan-Latin American identity that transcends both the arbitrary boundaries of...

(2004) whose production involved nine different countries could not be specifically affiliated with any one of them. Therefore the film ended up being excluded from the race for the Foreign Language Film Award, even though it was successful and received numerous other awards, including an Academy Award for Best Original Song
Academy Award for Best Original Song
The Academy Award for Best Original Song is one of the awards given annually to people working in the motion picture industry by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences . It is presented to the songwriters who have composed the best original song written specifically for a film...

 and an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay
Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay
The Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay is one of the Academy Awards, the most prominent film awards in the United States. It is awarded each year to the writer of a screenplay adapted from another source...

.

In recent years, the Academy's very definition of the term "country" itself has been polemical. The submissions for the 75th Academy Awards
Submissions for the 75th Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
The following 54 films, all from different countries, were submitted for the 75th Academy Awards in the category Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film...

, for instance, became shrouded in controversy when it was reported that Humbert Balsan
Humbert Balsan
Humbert Balsan, born Humbert Jean René Balsan was a French film producer and chairman of the European Film Academy. He was renowned for securing financing and distribution for diverse and often challenging films.In February 2005, Balsan was found dead in the offices of his production company,...

, producer of the critically acclaimed Palestinian film Divine Intervention
Divine Intervention (film)
Elia Suleiman has used entirely non-original music of various genres and artists in the film. These include artists such as the Belgian singer Natacha Atlas, Indian composer A.R...

(2002), tried to submit his picture to the Academy
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a professional honorary organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures...

 but was told it could not run for the Foreign Language Film Award since the State of Palestine
State of Palestine
Palestine , officially declared as the State of Palestine , is a state that was proclaimed in exile in Algiers on 15 November 1988, when the Palestine Liberation Organization's National Council adopted the unilateral Palestinian Declaration of Independence...

 is not recognized by the Academy in its rules. Because the Academy had previously accepted films from such political entities as Hong Kong
Cinema of Hong Kong
The cinema of Hong Kong is one of the three major threads in the history of Chinese language cinema, alongside the cinema of China, and the cinema of Taiwan...

 and Puerto Rico
Cinema of Puerto Rico
The history of the Cinema industry in Puerto Rico begins with the US invasion of the island in 1898. At that time, the American soldiers brought cameras to record what they saw. It was not until the 1912 that Puerto Ricans would begin to produce their own films.After this, Puerto Rican cinema has...

, the rejection of Divine Intervention triggered accusations of double standard
Double standard
A double standard is the unjust application of different sets of principles for similar situations. The concept implies that a single set of principles encompassing all situations is the desirable ideal. The term has been used in print since at least 1895...

 from pro-Palestinian activists. Three years later, however, another Palestinian-Arab film, Paradise Now
Paradise Now
Paradise Now is a 2005 film directed by Hany Abu-Assad about two Palestinian men preparing for a suicide attack in Israel. It won a Golden Globe for best foreign language film and was nominated for an Academy Award in the same category....

(2005), succeeded in getting nominated for the Foreign Language Film Award. The nomination also caused protests, this time from pro-Israeli groups in the United States
Israel lobby in the United States
The Israel lobby is a term used to describe the diverse coalition of those who, as individuals and as groups, seek and have sought to influence the foreign policy of the United States in support of Zionism, Israel or the specific policies of its government...

, who objected to the Academy's use of the name "Palestine" on its official website to designate the film's submitting country. After intense lobbying from Jewish groups, the Academy decided to designate Paradise Now as a submission from the Palestinian Authority, a move that was decried by the film's director Hany Abu-Assad
Hany Abu-Assad
Hany Abu-Assad is a Dutch-Palestinian film director. His film Paradise Now, about two Palestinian men preparing for a suicide attack in Israel, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2006.-Early life:...

. During the awards ceremony
78th Academy Awards
The 78th Academy Awards honored the best films of 2005 and were held on March 5, 2006, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California. They were hosted by The Daily Show host Jon Stewart, with Tom Kane making his first appearance as the show's announcer...

, the film was eventually announced by presenter Will Smith
Will Smith
Willard Christopher "Will" Smith, Jr. , also known by his stage name The Fresh Prince, is an American actor, producer, and rapper. He has enjoyed success in television, film and music. In April 2007, Newsweek called him the most powerful actor in Hollywood...

 as a submission from the Palestinian Territories
Palestinian territories
The Palestinian territories comprise the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Since the Palestinian Declaration of Independence in 1988, the region is today recognized by three-quarters of the world's countries as the State of Palestine or simply Palestine, although this status is not recognized by the...

.

Awards by nation

See also


External links

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