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87 Countries to Compete for Foreign Language Film Oscar

The final list is in and 87 countries have qualified to compete for the Foreign Language Film Oscar. 

Afghanistan’s entry, Rona, Azim’s Mother, was not on the final list. No reason was given for its omission. This year features two countries entering for the first time; Malawi and Niger. 

60 of the 87 selections come from directors having their films submitted for the first time and one director, Egypt’s A.B. Shawky (Yomeddine) for his directorial debut.

The list is full of festival winners with Cannes making the best showing. The Palme d’Or (Japan’s Shoplifters), and winners of the Jury Prize (Lebanon’s Capharnaüm), Director (Poland’s Cold War), Actor (Italy’s Dogman) and Actress (Kazakhstan’s Ayka) are all represented on the final list for their respective countries.

Female-directed submissions: ALGERIA, AUSTRIA, BELARUS, BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA, CANADA, COLOMBIA, COSTA RICA, ESTONIA, GREECE, INDIA, INDONESIA, KOSOVO, LEBANON, LUXEMBOURG, NEW ZEALAND, NIGER, NORWAY, THAILAND, TUNISIA, UNITED KINGDOM, VIETNAM

LGBTQ-themed submissions: ARGENTINA, BELGIUM, ISRAEL, PARAGUAY, SWEDEN, THAILAND

Stats and facts:

Countries with the most wins: ITALY (14), FRANCE (12), SPAIN and JAPAN (4)

Countries with the most nominations: FRANCE (39), ITALY (31), SPAIN (19)

Countries with the most submissions: FRANCE, ITALY, JAPAN (65)

Most submissions with no wins: INDIA, ISRAEL, MEXICO (50)

Most nominations without a win: ISRAEL (10), MEXICO (8), BELGIUM (7)

From this list of 87 films, a shortlist of 9 will be decided on by the Foreign Language Film committees in Los Angeles, New York and London and will be revealed sometime in December. 

Nominations for the 91st Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 22, 2019.

Here are the films that will compete, their directors and superlatives for each country. 

Algeria – Until the End of TimeYasmine Chouikh (1st)20th submission for Algeria, which has been nominated five times and won once (1969’s Z)
Argentina – El AngelLuis Ortega (1st)45th submission for Argentina, which has been nominated seven times and won twice (1985’s The Official Story and 2009’s The Secret in Their Eyes)
Australia – JirgaBenjamin Gilmour (1st)12th submission for Australia, which has been nominated once (2016’s Tanna) and was on the shortlist once (2009’s Samson & Delilah)
Austria – The Waldheim WaltzRuth Beckerman (1st)42nd submission for Austria, which has been nominated four times and won twice (2007’s The Counterfeiters and 2012’s Amour)
Bangladesh – No Bed of RosesMostofa Sarwar Farooki (3rd)14th submission for Bangladesh, which has yet to earn a nomination or shortlist mention
Belarus – Crystal SwanDarya Zhuk (1st)3rd submission for Belarus (first since 1996). No nominations or shortlist mentions
Belgium – GirlLukas Dhont (1st)43rd submission for Belgium. Seven nominations but no wins yet. It was on the shortlist once for 2015’s Brand New Testament
Bolivia – MurallaRodrigo Patiño (1st)10th submission for Bolivia, which has yet to earn a nomination or shortlist mention
Bosnia-Herzegovina – Never Leave MeAida Begić (3rd)18th submission for Bosnia-Herzegovina, which has been nominated (and won) once (2001’s No Man’s Land) and was in the shortlist once (2013’s An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker), both directed by Danis Tanović
Brazil – The Great Mystical CircusCarlos Diegues (7th)48th submission for Brazil, which has been nominated 4 times and was on the shortlist once (2007’s The Year My Parents Went to Vacation)
Bulgaria – OmnipresentIlian Djevelekov (1st)29th submission for Bulgaria, which has yet to earn a nomination but was on the shortlist once (2009’s The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner
Cambodia – Graves Without a NameRithy Panh (3rd)7th submission for Cambodia, which has been nominated once (2013’s Panh’s The Missing Image, also from Panh)
Canada – Guard DogSophie Dupuis (1st)44th submission for Canada, which has been nominated 7 times and won once (for 2003’s The Barabarian Invasions)
Chile – And Suddenly the DawnSilvio Caiozzi (3rd)23rd submission for Chile, which has been nominated twice and won once (last year’s A Fantastic Woman)
China – Hidden ManJiang Wen (1st)32nd submission for China, which has been nominated twice (1990’s Ju Dou and 2002’s Hero)
Colombia – Birds of PassageCristina Gallego (1st) and Ciro Guerra (4th)27th submission for Colombia, has been nominated once (2015’s Embrace the Serpent directed by Guerra)
Costa Rica – MedeaAlexandra Latishev Salazar (1st)7th submission for Costa Rica, which has yet to earn a nomination or shortlist mention
Croatia – The Eighth CommissionerIvan Salaj (1st)27th submission for Croatia, which has yet to earn a nomination or a shortlist mention
Cuba – Sergio & SergeiErnesto Daranas (3rd)20th submission for Cuba, which has been nominated once, for 1994’s Strawberry and Chocolate
Czech Republic – Winter FliesOlmo Omerzu (1st)24th submission for Czech Republic (plus 23 more as Czechoslovakia), which has been nominated three times and won once (1996’s Kolya)
Denmark – The GuiltyGustav Möller (1st)56th submission for Denmark, has been nominated 12 times, won three times (1987’s Babette’s Feast, 1988’s Pelle the Conqueror and 2010’s In a Better World)
Dominican Republic – CocoteNelson Carlo de los Santos Arias (1st)10th submission for Dominican Republic, which has yet to earn a nomination or shortlist mention
Ecuador – A Son of ManJamaicanoproblem and Pablo Agüero (1st)7th submission for Ecuador, which has yet to earn a nomination or a shortlist mention
Egypt – YomeddineA.B. Shawky (1st)33rd submission for Egypt, which has yet to earn a nomination or a shortlist mention
Estonia – Take It Or Leave ItLiina Trishkina-Vanhatalo (1st)16th submission for Estonia, first for a female director. One previous nomination (2014’s Tangerines)
Finland – EuthanizerTeemu Niiki (1st)32nd submission for Finland, which has been nominated once (2002’s The Man Without a Past) and was on the shortlist once (2015’s The Fencer)
France – Memoir of WarEmmaneul Finkiel (1st)65th submission for France (tied with Italy and Japan for the most of any country), which has been nominated 39 times (the most of any country) and won 12 times (2nd most of any country)
Georgia – NammeZaza Khalvashi (1st)17th submission for Georgia, which has been nominated once (1996’s A Chef in Love) and was on the shortlist once (2013’s Corn Island)
Germany – Never Look AwayFlorian Henckel von Donnersmarck (2nd)28th submission for Germany, which has received 10 nominations since 1990 as a unified country, including two wins (2002’s Nowhere in Africa and 2006’s The Lives of Others). Pre-unification, West Germany received 8 (with one win – 1982’s The Tin Drum); East Germany had 1
Greece – PolyxeniDora Masklavanou (1st)38th submission for Greece, which has been nominated five times but has yet to win
Hong Kong – Operation Red SeaDante Lam (2nd)37th submission for Hong Kong, which has been nominated twice (1991’s Raise the Red Lantern and 1993’s Farewell My Concubine)
Hungary – SunsetLászló Nemes (2nd)54th submission for Hungary, which has been nominated 10 times, won twice (1981’s Mephisto and 2015’s Son of Saul, also from Nemes) and was on the shortlist once (2013’s The Notebook)
Iceland – Woman at WarBenedikt Erlingsson (1st)39th submission for Iceland, which has been nominated once (1991’s Children of Nature)
India – Village RockstarsRima Das (1st)51st submission for India, which has been nominated three times (1957’s Mother India, 1988’s Salaam Bombay! and 2001’s Lagaan)
Indonesia – Marina the Murderer in Four ActsMouly Surya (1st)20th submission for Indonesia, which has yet to earn a nomination or shortlist mention
Iran – No Date, No SignatureVahid Jalilvand (1st)24th submission for Iran, which has been nominated three times and won twice (for Ashgar Farhadi films – 2011’s A Separation”and 2016’s The Salesman)
Iraq – The JourneyAl Daradji (2nd)9th submission for Iraq, which has yet to earn a nomination or shortlist mention
Israel – The CakemakerOfir Raul Graizer (1st)51st submission for Israel, which has been nominated 10 times (the all-time loser in this category). They were on the shortlist last year with Foxtrot
Italy – DogmanMatteo Garrone (2nd)65th submission for Italy, which is the all-time champion with 31 noms and 14 wins (Including 3 Special Oscars and the most recent victory is 2013’s The Great Beauty)
Japan – ShopliftersHirokazu Kore-eda (2nd)65th submission for Japan, which has earned 12 nominations, won 4 times (three as Special Awards in the 1950s: 1951’s Roshomon, 1954’s Gates to Hell and 1955’s Samurai, The Legend of Musashi and 2008’s Departures) and was on the shortlist once (2010’s Confession)
Kazakhstan – AykaSergey Dvortsevoy (2nd)13th submission for Kazakhstan, which has been nominated once (2007’s Mongol) and was in the shortlist once (2009’s Kelin)
Kenya – Supa ModoLikarion Wainaina (1st)3rd submission for Kenya, which has yet to earn a nomination or shortlist mention
Kosovo – The MarriageBlerta Zeqiri (1st)5th submission for Kosovo, which has yet to earn a nomination or shortlist mention
Kyrgyzstan – Night AccidentTemirbeck Birnazarov (1st)11th submission for Kyrgyzstan, which has yet to earn a nomination or shortlist mention
Latvia – To Be ContinuedIvars Seleckis (1st)10th submission for Latvia, which has yet to earn a nomination or shortlist mention
Lebanon – CapharnaümNadine Labaki (3rd)15th submission for Lebanon, which received its first nomination last year for The Insult
Lithuania – Wonderful LosersArūnas Matelis (2nd)11th submission for Lithuana, which has yet to earn a nomination or shortlist mention
Luxembourg – GutlandGovinda Van Maele (1st)15th submission for Luxembourg, which has to earn a nomination or shortlist mention
Macedonia – Secret IngredientGjorce Stavreski (1st)15th submission for Macedonia, which was nominated one (1994’s Before the Rain)
Malawi – The Road to SunriseShemu Joyah (1st)1st submission ever for Malawai
Mexico – ROMAAlfonso Cuarón (1st)51st submission for Mexico, which has been nominated 8 times and was on the shortlist once (2008’s Tear This Heart Out)
Montenegro – IskarGojko Berkuljan (1st)5th submission for Montenegro, which has yet to earn a nomination or shortlist mention
Morocco – BurnoutNour-Eddine Lakhmari (1st)14th submission for Morocco. No nominations but was on the shortlist once (2011’s Omar Killed Me)
Nepal – PanchayatShivam Adhikari (1st)10th submission for Nepal, which has been nominated once (1999’s Caravan)
Netherlands – The Resistance BankerJoram Lürssen (1st)51st submission for the Netherlands, which has been nominated 7 times, won 3 times (1986’s The Assault, 1995’s Antonia’s Line and 1997’s Character) and was on the shortlist 3 times (2006’s Black Book, 2009’s Winter in Wartime and 2013’s Accused)
New Zealand – Yellow is ForbiddenPietra Brettkelly (2nd)6th submission for New Zealand, which has yet to earn a nomination or shortlist mention
Niger – The Wedding RingRahmatou Keïta (1st)1st submission ever for Niger
Norway – What Will People SayIram Haq (1st)40th submission for Norway, which has been nominated 5 times and was on the shortlist once (The King’s Choice)
Pakistan – CakeAsim Abbasi (1st)8th submission for Pakistan, which has yet to earn a nomination or shortlist mention
Palestine – Ghost HuntingRaed Adoni (1st)11th submission for Palestine, who have two nominations (2005’s Paradise Now and 2013’s Omar. Both films directed by Hanny Abu-Assad)
Panama – Ruben Blades Is Not My NameAbner Benaim (2nd)5th submission for Panama, which has yet to earn a nomination or shortlist mention
Paraguay – The HeiressesMarcelo Martinessi (1st)3rd submission for Paraguay, which has yet to receive a nomination or shortlist mention
Peru – Wiñaypacha Oscar Catacora (1st)25th submission for Peru, which was nominated once (2009’s The Milk of Sorrow)
Philippines – Signal RockChito Rono (2nd)30th submission for Philippines, which has yet to earn a nomination or shortlist mention
Poland – Cold WarPawel Pawlikowski (2nd)50th submission for Poland, which has been nominated 10 times, won once (For 2014’s Ida directed by Pawlikowski)
Portugal – PilgrimageJoão Botelho (3rd)35th submission for Portugal, which currently has the record of the most unsuccesful submissions ever – no nominations or shortlist mentions
Romania – “”I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians”Radu Jude (2nd)34th submission for Romania. No nominations, one shortlist mention (2012’s Beyond the Hills)
Russia – SobiborKonstantin Khabensky (1st)26th submission for Russia (since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991), which has been nominated 7 times and won once (1994’s Burnt by the Sun)
Serbia – OffendersDejan Zečević (1st)25th submission for Serbia, which has yet to receive a nomination but was on the shortlist once (2007’s The Trap)
Singapore – Buffalo BoysMike Wiluan (1st)12th submission for Singapore. No nominations yet or shortlist mention
Slovakia – The InterpreterMartin Šulík (7th)22nd submission for Slovakia. No nominations yet or short list mention
Slovenia – IvanJanesz Burger (3rd)22nd submission for Slovenia, which has yet to earn a nomination or shortlist mention
South Africa – Sew the Winter to My SkinJahmil X.T. Qubeka (1st)15th submission for South Africa, which has been nominated twice (2004’s Yesterday and 2005’s Tsotsi) won once (Tsotsi)
South Korea – BurningLee Chang-dong (3rd)30th submission for South Korea, which has yet to earn a nomination or shortlist mention
Spain – ChampionsJavier Fesser (1st)62nd submission for Spain, which has been nominated 19 times and won 4 times (1982’s To Begin Again, 1993’s Belle Epoque, 1999’s All About My Mother and 2004’s The Sea Inside)
Sweden – BorderAli Abbasi (1st)57th submission for Sweden, which has been nominated 16 times and won three times (all by Ingmar Bergman films – 1960’s The Virgin Spring, 1961’s Through a Glass Darkly and 1983’s Fanny and Alexander)
Switzerland – EldoradoMarkus Imhoof (4th)46th submission for Switzerland. Five nominations, won twice (1984’s Dangerous Moves and 1990’s Journey of Hope)
Taiwann – The Great BuddhaHsin-yao Huang (1st)44th submission for Taiwan, which has been nominated 3 times (all Ang Lee films) and won once (For 2000’s Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, also directed by Ang Lee)
Thailand – Malilia: The Farewell FlowerAnucha Boonyawatana (1st)25th submission for Thailand, which has yet to earn a nomination or shortlist mention
Tunisia – Beauty and the DogsKaouther Ben Hania (1st)5th submission for Tunisia which has yet to receive a nomination or shortlist mention
Turkey – The Wild Pear TreeNuri Bilge Ceylan (5th)25th submission for Turkey, which has never been nominated. On the short list once, for 2008’s Three Monkeys, also from Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Ukraine – DonbassSergey Loznista (1st)11th submission for Ukraine, which has yet to earn a nomination or shortlist mention
United Kingdom – I Am Not a WitchRungano Nyoni (1st)16th submission for the United Kingdom, who have earned two Oscar nominations (1992’s Hedd Wynn and 1998’s Solomon and Gaenor)
Uruguay – A Twelve-Year NightÁlvaro Brechner (3rd)18th submission for Uruguay, which was was nominated on its first effort, for 1992’s A Place in the World. The nomination was rescinded after it was revealed that the film had minimal Uruguayan artistic input (the crew was largely Argentinian and the film actually represented Argentina at the Golden Globes that year). It remains the only instance of a revoked nomination in Foreign Language Film Oscar history
Venezuela – La FamiliaGustavo Rondón Cordova (1st)28th submission for Venezuela, which has yet earn a nomination but was on the shortlist once (for 2014’s Libertador)
Vietnam – The TailorTrần Bửu Lộc and Nguyễn Lê Phương Khanh (1st)14th submission for Vietnam, which was nominated once (1993’s The Scent of Green Papaya)
Yemen – 10 Days Before the WeddingAmir Gamal (1st)2nd submission for Yemen, which has yet to earn a nomination or shortlist mention
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About Erik Anderson

Erik thanks his mother for his love of all things Oscar, having watched the Academy Awards together since he was in the single digits; making lists, rankings and predictions throughout the show. This led him down the path to obsessing about awards. Much later, he found himself at GoldDerby, led by Tom O’Neill and then migrated over to Oscarwatch (now AwardsDaily), headed up by Sasha Stone before breaking off to create AwardsWatch. He is a member of the International Cinephile Society, GALECA (The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics), the International Press Academy and is the founder/owner of AwardsWatch.

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