A record 83 countries have submitted for Foreign Language Film Oscar this year, besting the previous record of 76, set last year. Several first-timers are present this and they include: Mauritania, Malta, Kosovo and Panama.
Although it doesn’t appear that there is any clear frontrunner, the main contenders this year look like Turkey’s Winter Sleep from Nuri Bilge Ceylan, and the Palme d’Or winner at Cannes this year. Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure, which won the jury prize at Cannes this year for Un Certain Regard, which was submitted for Sweden. Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan finally had a film selected. His Mommy, also a Cannes winner this year, will represent Canada. Argentina’s darkly comic Wild Tales has great buzz. Poland’s Ida is a major contender. Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan from Russia was a surprise submission and might be an early favorite.
Films will be screened for a volunteer committee of Academy members from all branches beginning next Monday, with voters giving each film a number score. A member must see a minimum number of films, either at AMPAS screenings or at outside screenings, for their vote to qualify.
The six top-ranked films, based on scores from the qualified voters, will move to a nine-film shortlist, with three selections made by an exclusive executive committee. Committees made up of 20 Academy members in L.A., 10 in New York and 10 in London will then view all nine shortlisted films over a three-day period, and vote to select the five nominees.
A special thanks to our dedicated member, Kostas, has been collecting the submissions as they come in and added the history, facts and stats.
Afghanistan, A Few Cubic Meters of Love, Jamishid Mahmoudi. First time for Jamshid Mahmoudi. Afghanistan has submitted 8 times with zero nominations. (Trailer)
Argentina, Wild Tales, Damian Szifron. First time for Damian Szifron. Argentina is the Giant of Latin America in this category. Submitted 40 times, with 6 noms and 2 wins – the only winner of the region. (Trailer)
Australia, Charlie’s Country, Rolf de Heer. Second time for Rolf de Heer and the first Australian director selected more that once. Australia has submitted 7 times with zero noms, albeit the country made the shortlist in 2009. (Trailer)
Austria, The Dark Valley, Andreas Prochaska. First mention for Andreas Prochaska. Austria has submitted 37 times, was nominated four times and won twice. (Trailer)
Azerbaijan, Nabat, Elchin Musaoglu.
Bangladesh, Glow of the Firefly, Khalid Mahmood Mithu. First time for Khalid Mahmood Mithu. Bangladesh has submitted 9 times with zero nominations. (Trailer)
Belgium, Two Days, One Night, The Dardennes. Fourth time for the Dardenne brothers. Belgium has submitted 38 times and was nominated 7 times with zero wins. (Trailer)
Bolivia, Olvidados, Carlos Bolado. Surprisingly, first time for the Mexican director Carlos Bolado. He wasn’t selected by the Mexican Academy previously, albeit he got an Oscar nom for the documentary feature film Promises. Bolivia has submitted 6 times with zero nominations. (Trailer)
Bosnia-Herzegovina, With Mom, Faruk Lončarević. First time for Faruk Lončarević. Bosnia-Herzegovina has submitted 13 times, was nominated once and won that nomination in 2001. Also they were in the shortlist last year. Both mentions earned by the same director Danis Tanović. (no trailer yet)
Brazil, The Way He Looks, Daniel Ribeiro. First time for Ribeiro. Brazil has submitted 41 times and been nominated 4 times. Also one time in the shortlist (2007). (Trailer)
Bulgaria, Bulgarian Rhapsody, Ivan Nitchev. Second mention for Ivan Nitchev. The film is the third part of a trilogy with After the End of the World (1998) and Journey to Jerusalem (2003) Bulgaria has submitted 25 times resulting in no nominations, albeit was shortlisted in 2009. (Trailer)
Canada, Mommy, Xavier Dolan. Second time for Xavier Dolan. Canada has submitted 39 times, been nominated 7 times and won once. Also, Canada was in the shortlist twice in consecutive years, 2007-2008. Alongside Denmark, Canada is the country with a great record in recent years. It has only twice been snubbed (including Dolan’s first film in 2009). (Trailer)
Chile, To Kill a Man, Alejandro Fernandez Almendras. First time for Alejandro Fernandez Almendras. Chile has submitted 18 times and was nominated once, in 2012 for No. (Trailer)
China, The Nightingale, Philippe Muyl. First time for Philippe Muyl. China has submitted 27 times and was nominated twice. (Trailer)
Colombia, Mateo, Maria Gamboa. First time for Maria Gamboa. Colombia has submitted 23 times with zero nominations. (Trailer)
Costa Rica, Princesas Rojas, Leticia Astonga. First time for Leticia Astonga. Costa Rica has submitted twice, in 2005 and 2010, with zero nominations. (Trailer)
Croatia, Cowboys, Tomislava Mršića. First time for Tomislava Mršića. Croatia has submitted 22 times with zero nominations. (Trailer)
Cuba, Behaviour, Ernesto Daranas. Second time for Ernesto Daranas. Cuba has submitted 17 times and was nominated once. (Trailer)
Czech Republic, Fair Play, Sedláčková. First time for Andrea Sedláčková. The Czech Republic has submitted 20 times, been nominated 3 times and won once. (Trailer)
Denmark, Sorrow and Joy, Nils Malmros. Fourth time for Nils Malmros. Denmark has submitted 21 times, been nominated 10 times and won 3 times. (Trailer)
Dominican Republic, Cristo Rey, Leticia Toros. Third time for Leticia Toros. Now half of Dominican Republic’s submissions are directed from Toros. Dominican Republic has submitted 6 times with zero nominations. (Trailer)
Egypt, The Factory Girl, Mohammed Khan. Second time for Mohammed Khan. Egypt has submitted 29 times with zero nominations. (Trailer)
Ecuador, Silence in Dreamland, Tito Molina. First time for Tito Molina. Ecuador has submitted 3 times with zero nominations. (Trailer)
Estonia, Tangerines, Zaza Urushadze. Second time that Georgian Zaza Urushadze is selected. He previously represented his home country in 1999. Estonia has submitted eleven times with zero nominations. (Trailer)
Ethiopia, Difret, Zeresenay Berhane Mehari.
Finland, Concrete Night, Pirjo Honkasalo. Second time Pirjo Honkasalo has been selected. He co-directed the second Finnish submission at the Oscars in 1980. Finland has submitted 27 times and was nominated once. (Trailer)
France, Saint Laurent, Bertrand Bonnello. First time for Bertrand Bonnello. If Israel is the Peter O’Toole of this category, France can be the Meryl Streep with the record of nominations. France has submitted 64 times, was nominated 39 times and won 12 times, including 3 special Oscars. (Trailer)
Germany, Beloved Sisters, Dominik Graf. First time by Dominik Graff. Before reunification in 1990 Western Germany submitted 29 times, got 8 noms and won once and Eastern Germany submitted 5 times, got only 1 nom and zero wins. Since the reunification Germany has submitted 23 times, received 9 noms and won twice. (Trailer)
Georgia, Corn’s Island, Giorgi Ovashvili. Second time by Giorgi Ovashvili. Georgia has submitted 12 times and was nominated once. (Trailer)
Greece, Little England, Pantelis Voulgaris. First time for Pantelis Voulgaris. Greece has submitted 33 times and was nominated 5 times. (Trailer)
Hong Kong, The Golden Era, Ann Hui. Third time for Ann Hui. Hong Kong has submitted 32 times and was nominated twice. They were shortlisted last year. (Trailer)
Hungary, White God, Kornél Mundruczó. First time for Kornél Mundruczó. Hungary was nominated 8 times and won once, for Mephisto, in 1981. The last nomination happened in 1988, albeit last year Hungary showed up on the shortlist. (Trailer)
Iceland, Life in a Fishbowl, Baldvin Zophoníasson. First time for Baldvin Zophoníasson. Iceland has submitted 34 times and was nominated once and was shortlisted in 2012. (Trailer)
India, Liar’s Dice, Geetu Mohandas. First time for Geetu Mohandas. India has submitted 46 times and was nominated 3 times. (Trailer)
Indonesia, Soekarno, Hanung Bramantyo.
Iran, Today, Reza Mirkarimi. First time for Reza Mirkarimi. Iran has submitted 19 times, was nominated twice and won once. (Trailer)
Iraq, Mardan, Batin Ghobadi
Ireland, The Gift, Tom Collins. Second time for Tom Collins, who directed the first Irish submission, Kings. Ireland has submitted twice before with zero nominations. (Trailer)
Israel, Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, Ronit and Shlomi Eklabetz. First time for the siblings Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz. Israel has submitted 46 times and has been nominated 10 times with no wins. Israel holds the record for most nominations without a win, basically the Peter O’Toole of foreign language films. (Trailer)
Italy, Human Capital, Paolo Virzi. Second time for Paolo Virzi. Italy has submitted 64 times, was nominated 31 times and won 14 times, including 3 special Oscars. (Trailer)
Japan, The Light Shines Only There, Mipo Oh. First time for the director Mipo Oh. Japan has submitted 60 times, was nominated 12 times and won 4 times; albeit only once in competitive race. Japan is the biggest Asian winner and fourth most nominated country after France, Italy and Spain. (Trailer)
Kosovo, Three Windows and a Hanging, Isa Qosja. This is the first submission ever for Kosovo. (Trailer)
Krygyzstan, Kurmanjan Datka: Queen of the Mountains, Sadyk Sher-Niyaz. First time for Sadyk Sher-Niyaz. Kyrgyzstan has submitted 6 times with zero nominations. (Trailer)
Latvia, Rocks in My Pockets, Signe Baumane. First animated film of the year in this category. This is the first time for the female debut director Signe Baumane. Latvia has submitted five times with zero nominations. (Trailer)
Lebanon, Ghadi, Amin Dora. First time for Amin Dora. Lebanon has submitted 10 times with zero nominations. (Trailer)
Lithuania, The Gambler, Ignas Jonyas. First time for Ignas Jonynas. Lithuania has submitted 6 times with zero nominations. (Trailer)
Luxembourg, Never Die Young, Pol Cruchten. Luxembourg has submitted eleven times but has never received a nomination. (Trailer)
Macedonia, To the Hilt, Stole Popov. Second time for Stole Popov for an independent Macedonia; he was nominated in 1979 during Yugoslavia days. Macedonia has submitted 11 times and was nominated once. (Trailer)
Malta, Simshar, Rebecca Cremona.
Mauritania, Timbuktu, Abderrahmane Sissako. This is the first ever submission for Mauritania. (Trailer)
Mexico, Cantinflas, Sebastian del Amo. First time for Sebastian del Amo. Mexico has submitted 46 times and was nominated 8 times. No wins. (Trailer)
Moldova, The Unsaved, Igor Cobileanski.
Montenegro, Boys from Marx and Engels Street, Nikola Vukčević. First time for Nikola Vukčević. Montenegro entered the race for the first time last year. No nominations. (Trailer)
Morocco, The Red Moon, Hassan Benjelloun. First time for Hassan Benjelloun. Morocco has submitted 9 times with only one shortlist mention in 2011. (Trailer)
Nepal, Jhola, Yadavkumar Bhattarai. This is the sixth submission for the Himalayan country. Nepal was nominated in 1999 for Caravan. (Trailer)
Netherlands, Lucia de B., Paula Van der Oest. Second submission for Paula Van der Oest. Netherlands has submitted 46 times, was nominated 7 times and won 3 times. (Trailer)
New Zealand, The Dead Lands, Toa Fraser. First time for Toa Fraser. New Zealand has submitted twice with zero nominations. (Trailer)
Norway, 1001 Grams, Ben Hamer. This is the third time for Bent Hamer. Norway has submitted 35 times, was nominated 5 times but has never won. (Trailer)
Pakistan, Dukhtar, Afia Nathaniel. First time for Afia Nathaniel. Pakistan has submitted 4 times with zero nominations. (Trailer)
Palestine, Eyes of a Thief, Nawja Najjar. First time for Nawja Najjar. Palestine has submitted 6 times and was nominated twice, both for films by Hany Abu-Assad. (Trailer)
Panama, Invasion, Abnel Benaim. First mention for Abnel Benaim. This is the second debut country submission (along with Mauritania) and the second documentary submission this year. (Trailer)
Peru, The Gospel of the Flesh, Eduardo Mendoza de Echave. First time by director Eduardo Mendoza de Echave. Peru has submitted 20 times and was nominated once. (Trailer)
Philippines, Norte, The End of History, Lav Diaz. First time for Lav Diaz. Philippines has submitted 25 times with zero nominations. (Trailer)
Poland, Ida, Paweł Pawlikowski. Poland has been nominated 9 times but has zero wins. Four for these noms belong to Andrzej Wajda. (Trailer)
Portugal, What Not? Remind Me, Joaquim Pinto. First time for Joaquim Pinto. Portugal has submitted 30 times with zero nominations. (Trailer)
Romania, The Japanese Dog, Tudor Cristian Jurgius. First time for Jurgius. Romania has submitted 29 times, with zero noms, but was shortlisted two years ago with Beyond the Hills. (Trailer)
Russia, Leviathan, Andrei Zvyagintsev. Second time for Andrey Zviaygnistev. Russia has submitted 20 times, been nominated 5 times and won once. (Trailer)
Serbia, See You in Montevideo, Dragan Bjelogrlić. Sequel of the 2011 Serbian selection Montevideo, God Bless You. Second mention of Dragan Bjelogrlić. Ninth submission of Serbia, 21st if you include post-war Yugoslavian and Serbia-Montenegro submission. Only came close when Serbian film were shortlisted in 2007. (Trailer)
Singapore, Sayang Disayang, Sanik Olef. First time for Sanik Olef. Singapore has submitted 7 times with zero nominations. (Trailer)
Slovakia, A Step Into the Dark, Miroslav Luther. Second time for Miroslav Luther. Slovakia has submitted 17 times with zero nominations. (Trailer)
Slovenia, Seduce Me, Marko Šantić. First time by Marko Šantić. Slovenia has submitted 17 times with zero nominations. (Trailer)
South Africa, Elelwani, Ntshavheni wa Luruli. First time for Ntshavheni wa Luruli. South Africa can be considerated as the King of Subsaharian Africa in this category as they have submitted 10 times, been nominated twice and won once. (Trailer)
South Korea, Sea Fog, Shim Sung-bo. First time for Shim Sung-bo. South Korea has submitted 25 times with zero nominations. (Trailer)
Spain, Living is Easy with Eyes Closed, David Trueba. Second time for David Trueba. Spain has submitted 57 times, was nominated 19 times and won four times. (Trailer)
Sweden, Force Majeure, Ruben Östlund. Second mention of Ruben Östlund (first was in 2009). Sweden has submitted 52 times, was nominated 14 times and won 3 times; all with Ingmar Bergman films. (Trailer)
Switzerland, The Circle, Stefan Haupt. First time for Stefan Haupt. Switzerland has submitted 41 times, been nominated 5 times and won twice. (Trailer)
Taiwan, Ice Poison, Midi Zi. First time for Midi Zi. Taiwan has submitted 39 times and was nominated 3 times, all from films directed by Ang Lee. Won once, again from Ang Lee. (Trailer)
Thailand, Teacher’s Diary, Nithiwat Tharathorn. First time by Nithiwat Tharathorn. Thailand has submitted 20 times with zero nominations. (Trailer)
Turkey, Winter Sleep, Nuri Bilge Ceylan. This is the fourth time a Ceylan’s film has been selected. His second submission, Three Monkeys, came close after being part of the 9 shortlisted films in 2008. Although Turkey has never gotten a nomination in 20 submissions, this 2014 Cannes Palme d’Or winner stands their best chance yet. (Trailer)
Ukraine, The Guide, Olen Salin. First time for Olen Salin. Ukraine has submitted 7 times with zero results. (Trailer)
United Kingdom, Little Happiness, Nihat Seven.
Uruguay, Mr. Kaplan, Álvaro Brechner. Second time for Álvaro Brechner. Uruguay has submitted 13 times with the peculiar case of one no official nomination or better named, a disqualified nomination. In 1992, Uruguay submitted a film for first time, A Place in the World. On February 17, 1993, it was announced that the film had been nominated for an Oscar, representing Uruguay. A controversy quickly began when stories started circulating that the film had minimal Uruguayan artistic input; the film was shot by an Argentine writer/director in Argentina, the plot was set in Argentina, and the cast and crew were primarily from Argentina. Also, the film was in the running, finishing in second place, to represent Argentina in the Oscar race that year and represented Argentina at the 1992 Golden Globe Awards. Ultimately, the film was declared ineligible and removed from the final ballot. This is the first, and only, case of disqualification in this category from the nominations. (Trailer)
Venezuela, The Libertador, Alberto Arevalo. This is the third time Alberto Arevalo was chosen to compete. Venezuela has submitted 23 times with zero nominations. (Trailer)
TRIVIA on selected countries and their Oscar history
ALBANIA – Submitted 8 times with zero nominations.
ALGERIA – Submitted 16 times with 5 noms, three by Rachid Buchareb films, and won once.
ARMENIA – Submitted 4 times with zero nominations.
AZERBAIJAN – Submitted 5 times with zero nominations.
BANGLADESH – Submitted 9 times with zero nominations.
BOLIVIA – Submitted 6 times with zero nominations.
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA – Submitted 13 times, nominated once and winning with that nom. Also was on the shortlist last year.
CAMBODIA – Submitted 3 times and nominated once, last year.
CUBA – Submitted 17 times and nominated once.
CZECH REPUBLIC – Submitted 20 times, nominated 3 times and won once.
EGYPT – Submitted 29 times with zero nominations.
INDONESIA – Submitted 16 times with zero nominations.
IRAN – Submitted 19 times, with 2 noms and one victory.
KAZAKHSTAN – Submitted 9 times, nominated once and one shortlist mention in 2009.
LEBANON – Submitted 10 times with zero nominations.
LITHUANIA – Submitted 6 times with zero nominations.
MOROCCO – Submitted 9 times with one shortlist mention in 2011.
PAKISTAN – Submitted 3 times. The country returned last year after a gap of 50 years!!
PALESTINE – Submitted 6 times and nominated twice.
SINGAPORE – Submitted 9 times with zero nominations.
SLOVAKIA – Submitted 19 times with zero nominations.
SLOVENIA – Submitted 19 times with zero nominations.
SOUTH AFRICA – Submitted 10 times, nominated twice, won once and was in shortlist in 2010.
URUGUAY – Submitted 13 times, nominated once but disqualified.
Nominations will be announced January 15, 2015 and the Academy Awards ceremony is scheduled for February 22, 2015 at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.
Some quick stats:
Nominated But Never Won
01. Israel – 10 nominations
02. Poland – 9 nominations
03. Mexico – 8 nominations
04. Belgium – 7 nominations
05. Yugoslavia – 6 nominations
06. Greece – 5 nominations
06. Norway – 5 nominations
08. Brazil – 4 nominations
09. India – 3 nominations
01. Portugal – 30 submissions
02. Egypt – 29 submissions
02. Romania – 29 submissions
04. Bulgaria – 25 submissions
04. Philippines – 25 submissions
04. South Korea – 25 submissions
07. Colombia – 23 submissions
07. Venezuela – 23 submissions
09. Croatia – 22 submissions
10. Serbia – 20 submissions
10. Thailand – 20 submissions
10. Turkey – 20 submissions
Here’s a compilation of every Foreign Language Film Oscar winner from 1947-2013.