The Academy may have pushed the eligibility period for International Feature Film submissions from October to December 31 due to the coronavirus pandemic and keeping in line with other extensions made this year, but it hasn’t stopped at least one country from being first and early with their choice.
Poland is the first country to submit a film for International Feature Film Oscar consideration this season. This is the 52nd submission for the Eastern European country, which has been nominated in this category 12 times and won once (2014’s Ida from Paweł Pawlikowski), began with a shortlist of seven films: Hater, dir. Jan Komasa; Sweat, dir. Magnus von Horn; Sprawa Tomka Komend, dir. Jan Holoubek; Never Gonna Snow Again, dir. Małgorzata Szumowska and Michał Englert; Supernova, dir. Bartosz Kruhlik; Klecha, dir. Jacek Gwizdała and Kill it and Leave This Town, dir. Mariusz Wilczyński.
Poland has chosen Never Gonna Snow Again, directed Małgorzata Szumowska and Michał Englert to represent the country at the next Oscars. The film is the story of a Ukrainian migrant working as a masseur in Poland becomes a guru-like figure in the gated community where his clients live. It will screen at the 77th Venice International Film Festival in September and is the first film from both Szumowska and Englert to be submitted.
Ecuador’s selection, Vacio, is the first time a Latin American country has ever submitted a film spoken majorly in a language outside of the Amerindian and European spheres (Mandarin is spoken in 70% of the film).
With Czechia submitting Charlatan, Agnieszka Holland becomes the first woman to have three films submitted across three different countries. Previously, Holland had two films nominated in this category: 1985’s Angry Harvest (West Germany) and 2011’s In Darkness (Poland), joining to the exclusive list alongside Luis Buñuel (France and Spain), Paul Verhoeven (Netherlands and France), Moshé Mizrahi (Israel and France), Akira Kurosawa (Japan and Soviet Union), Miguel Littin (Mexico and Nicaragua), Michael Haneke (Germany and Austria), Maximilian Schell (West Germany and Switzerland) among others. If Charlatan is nominated Holland will be the first person ever to have films submitted by 3 different countries nominated. Also, this is the first time ever a Czech film submitted has been directed by a woman.
The Nigeria Official Selection Committee for Academy Awards submissions stated the Oscars had approved Nigerian Pidgin English as a non-English (Foreign language) recording dialogue in films. This comes one year after the country’s first-ever submission, Lionheart, was disqualified for containing too much English. Ultimately, the commission submitted a non-Pidgin English film.
Netherlands’ Buladó is the first time a submission has been fully spoken in Papiamento creole and should be able to take advantage of the opening up of allowable languages in this category by the Academy after its Nigerian Pidgin English ruling.
Two countries had their films disqualified this year: Canada and Portugal. Canada pulled the Ava DuVernay-backed Funny Boy after it didn’t meet the non-English language requirements and submitted 14 Days, 12 Nights from Jean-Philippe Duval as its replacement. Portugal replaced Listen with Vitalina Varela from Pedro Costa.
Belarus’s submission Persian Lessons was disqualified since it is a multinational production, although that didn’t impede other films, like Tel Aviv on Fire, which is representing Luxembourg. No replacement has been set. Bhutan’s A Yak in the Classroom and Uzbekistan’s Songs of Farida were also disqualified but no specific reasons were given.
The submission deadline for entries is December 1, 2020 and all submitted motion pictures must be first released theatrically in their respective countries between October 1, 2019 and December 31, 2020. The official list of qualifying submissions will be released in January.
Stats and Notes
Foreign-language/International Feature films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar
Between 1947 and 1955, the Academy presented Special Awards to the best foreign language films released in the U.S. Because these awards were not handed out on a regular basis and didn’t have any nominees, they were not competitive. For the 29th Academy Awards in 1956, a competitive Academy Award of Merit, known as the Best Foreign Language Film Award, was created for non-English speaking films. It has since then been awarded annually category. Nearly 20 years earlier, Jean Renoir’s Grand Illusion (France) was nominated for Best Picture in 1938, its only nomination. 2006’s Letters From Iwo Jima was a Japanese-spoken US production not an official submission for foreign language film.
Since the inception of the foreign language/international feature Oscar, only 9 films have been nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. Last year, South Korea’s Parasite became the first ever to win.
|Cries and Whispers||Sweden||1973|
|Life is Beautiful||Italy||1998|
|Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon||Taiwan||2000|
|Parasite (won Best Picture)||South Korea||2020|
Number of films with female directors or co-directors (32): Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Czechia, Dominican Republic, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Uruguay, Venezuela.
The biggest losers: While Israel is the biggest loser with 10 nominations and no wins in this category, and Portugal is the currently the most unsuccessful country for getting a nomination with the most submissions (at 36), Philippines holds another record. It’s the sole country which sent a submission film at the first competitive year (1956) that hasn’t gotten an Oscar nom yet. The other 7 countries that submitted that first year – France, Italy, West Germany (now Germany), Denmark, Sweden, Japan and Spain – all of these ended up winning at least once.
Countries with potential eligibility issues: Canada, Portugal and Tunisia (amount of English language content). Belarus and Jordan (origin/nationality issues).
Submission with LGBTQ+ subjects or themes: Canada, France.
Countries submitting for the first time: Lesotho, Sudan, Suriname.
Here is the official list of submissions for the International Feature Film Oscar, updating throughout the season. Titles in red have links to reviews.
|1.||Albania||Florenc Papas (1st)||13th submission for Albania, which has yet to be nominated|
|2.||Algeria||Djaâfar Gacem (1st)||22nd submission for Algeria, has been nominated 5 times and won once (1969's Z), the most mentions of any African country|
|3.||Argentina||Paula Hernandez (1st)||47th submission for Argentina, which has been nominated 7 times and won twice (1985's The Official Story and 2009's The Secret in their Eyes)|
|4.||Armenia||Arman Nshanian (1st)||9th submission for Armenia, which has yet to be nominated|
|5.||Austria||Ulrike Kofler (1st)||44th submission for Austria, which has been nominated four times and won twice (2007's The Counterfeiters and 2012's Amour)|
|6.||Bangladesh||An anthology of eleven directors (Tanvir Ahsan, Saleh Sobhan Auneem, Mir Mukarram Hossain, Golam Kibria, Abdullah Al Noor, Robiul Alam Robi, Krishnendu Chattopadhyay, Nuhash Humayun, Mahmudul Islam, Rahat Rahman, Syed Ahmed Shawki) all their 1st time||16th submission for Bangladesh, which has yet to be nominated|
|8.||Belgium||Frédéric Fonteyne (1st) and Anne Paulicevich (1st)||45th submission for Belgium, which has been nominated seven times but has yet to win|
|10.||Bolivia||Diego Mondaca (1st)||12th submission for Bolivia, which has yet to be nominated|
|Jasmila Žbanić (1st)||21st submission for Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has been nominated and won once (2001's No Man's Land)|
|12.||Brazil||Bárbara Paz (1st)||50th submission for Brazil, which has been nominated four times but has yet to win|
|13.||Bulgaria||Kristina Grozeva (2nd) and Petar Valchanov (2nd)||31st submission for Bulgaria, which has yet to be nominated|
|14.||Cambodia||Huy Yaleng (1st)||9th submission for Cambodia, which has been nominated once (2013's The Missing Image)|
|15.||Cameroon>/b>||Enah Johnscot (1st)||3rd submission for Cameroon, which has yet to be nominated|
|16.||Canada||Jean-Philippe Duval (1st)||47th submission for Canada, which has been nominated 7 times, won once (2003's The Barbarian Invasions). The country's original submission this year, Funny Boy, was disqualified when it didn't meet the non-English language requirements.|
|17.||Chile||Maite Alberdi (1st)||25th submission for Chile, which has been nominated twice and won once (2017's A Fantastic Woman)|
|18.||China||Peter Chan (2nd)||34th submission for China, which has been nominated twice (1990's Ju Dou and 2002's Hero)|
|19.||Colombia||Fernando Trueba (1st but represented Spain twice)||29th submission for Colombia, which has been nominated once (2015's Embrace of the Serpent)|
|20.||Costa Rica||Sofía Quiroz (1st)||9th submission for Costa Rica, which has yet to be nominated|
|21.||Croatia||Ivan-Goran Vitez (1st)||29th submission for Croatia, which has yet to be nominated|
|22.||Cuba||Jorge Luis Sánchez (2nd)||22nd submission for Cuba, which has been nominated once (1994's Strawberry and Chocolate)|
|23.||Czechia||Agnieszka Holland (3rd)||27th submission for Czechia country (since the split of Czechoslovakia). Czechia has been nominated 3 times, and won once (1996's Kolya)|
|24.||Denmark||Thomas Vinterberg (3rd)||58th submission from Denmark, which has been nominated 11 times and won three (1987's Babette's Feast, 1988's Pelle the Conqueror and 2010's In a Better World)|
|25.||Dominican Republic||Leticia Tonos (3rd)||13th submission for Dominican Republic, which has yet to be nominated|
|26.||Ecuador||Paúl Venegas (1st)||9th submission for Ecuador, which has yet to be nominated|
|27.||Egypt||Tamer Ezzat (1st)||35th submission for Egypt, which has yet to be nominated|
|28.||Estonia||Veiko Öunpuu (3rd)||18th submission for Estonia, which has been nominated once (2013's Tangerines)|
|29.||Finland||Zaida Bergroth (1st)||34th submission for Finland, which has been nominated once (2002's The Man Without a Past)|
|30.||France||Filippo Meneghetti (1st)||67th submission for France, which has been nominated 38 times and won 9 times (plus three Honorary Oscar before the creation of the category)|
|31.||Georgia||Dea Kulumbegashvili (1st)||19th submission for Georgia, which has been nominated once (1996's A Chef in Love)|
|32.||Germany||Julia von Heinz (1st)||30th submission for Germany since unification in 1990, which has been nominated 11 times, won twice (2002's Nowhere in Africa and 2006's The Lives of Others)|
|33.||Greece||Christos Nikou (1st)||42nd submission for Greece, which has been nominated five times but has yet to win|
|34.||Guatemala||Jayro Bustamante (2nd)||3rd submission for Guatemala, which has yet to be nominated|
|35.||Honduras||Mauro Borges, Gloria Carrión, Julio Lopez and Sergio Ramirez (all 1st)||3rd submission for Honduras, which has yet to be nominated|
|36.||Hong Kong||Derek Tsang (1st)||39th submission for Hong Kong, which has been nominated twice (1991's Raise the Red Lantern and 1993's Farewell my Concubine) but has yet to win|
|37.||Hungary||Lili Horvát (1st)||56th submission for Hungary, which has been nominated 10 times, won twice (1981's Mephisto and 2016's Son of Saul)|
|38.||Iceland||Silja Hauksdóttir (1st)||41st submission for Iceland, which has been nominated once but has yet to win|
|39.||India||Lijo Jose Pellissery (1st)||53rd submission for India, which has been nominated three times but has yet to win|
|40.||Indonesia||Joko Anwar (1st)||22nd submission for Indonesia, which has yet to be nominated|
|41.||Iran||Majid Majidi (6th)||26th submission for Iran, which has been nominated 3 times and won twice (2011's A Separation and 2016's The Salesman)|
|42.||Ireland||Tom Sullivan (1st) and Tomás Ó Súilleabháin (1st)||7th submission for Ireland, which has yet to be nominated|
|43.||Israel||Ruthy Pribar (1st)||53rd submission for Israel, which has been nominated 10 times but has never won, making it the biggest loser in this category|
|44.||Italy||Gianfranco Rosi (1st)||66th submission for Italy, which has been nominated 28 times, won 14 times, including 3 Honorary Oscars (1947's Shoe Shine, 1949's The Bicycle Thief and 1950's The Walls of Malapaga)|
|45.||Ivory Coast||Philippe Lacôte (2nd)||3rd submission for Ivory Coast, which has won once (1976's Black and White in Color)|
|46.||Japan||Naomi Kawase (1st)||66th submission for Japan, which has been nominated 13 times, won 4 times, 3 as Honorary Oscars in the 1950s before the creation of the Foreign Language Film category (1951'a Rashomon, 1954's Gate to Hell; 1955's Samurai, The Legend of Musashi and 2008's Departures)|
|47.||Jordan||Ameen Nayfeh (1st)||4th submission from Jordan, which has been nominated once (2015's Theeb)|
|48.||Kazakhstan||Marina Kunarova (1st)||15th submission for Kazakhstan, which has been nominated once (2007's Mongol)|
|49.||Kenya||Maia Lekow (1st) and Christopher King (1st)||5th submission for Kenya, which has yet to be nominated|
|50.||Kosovo||Visar Morina (2nd)||7th submission for Kosovo, which has yet to be nominated|
|51.||Kyrgyzstan||Mirlan Abdykalykov (2nd)||13th submission for Kyrgyzstan, which has yet to be nominated|
|52.||Latvia||Dzintars Dreibergs (1st)||12th submission for Latvia, which has yet to be nominated|
|53.||Lebanon||Jimmy Keyrouz (1st)||17th submission for Lebanon, which has been nominated twice but has yet to win|
|54.||Lesotho||Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese (1st)||1st submission for Lesotho|
|55.||Lithuania||Karolis Kaupinis (1st)||13th submission for Lithuania, which has yet to be nominated|
|56.||Luxembourg||Julie Schroell (1st)||16th submission for Luxembourg, which has yet to be nominated|
|57.||Malaysia||Emir Ezwan (1st)||6th submission for Malaysia, which has yet to be nominated|
|58.||Mexico||Fernando Frías (1st)||54th submission for Mexico, which has been nominated nine times and won once (2018's Roma)|
|59.||Mongolia||Byambasuren Davaa (3rd)||5th submission for Mongolia, which has yet to be nominated|
|60.||Montenegro||Marija Perović (1st)||7th submission for Montenegro, which has yet to be nominated|
|61.||Morocco||Alaa Eddine Aljem (1st)||16th submission for Morocco, which has yet to be nominated|
|62.||Netherlands||Eché Janga (1st)||53rd submission for Netherlands, which has been nominated seven times and won three times (1987's The Assault, 1996's Antonia's Line and 1998's Character). Two Dutch submission have been disqualified (1989's The Vanishing because more than half the film was in French, and 2006's Bluebird because it had aired on television first)|
|63.||Nigeria||Desmond Ovbiagele (1st)||2nd submission for Nigeria, although their first submission, 2019's Lionheart, was disqualified for containing too much English|
|64.||North Macedonia||Milcho Manchevski (5th)||17th submission for North Macedonia, which has been nominated twice (1994's Before the Rain and 2019's Honeyland)|
|65.||Norway||Maria Sødahl (1st)||42nd submission for Norway, which has been nominated 5 times but has yet to win|
|66.||Pakistan||Sarmad Sultan Khoosat (1st)||10th submission for Pakistan, which has yet to be nominated|
|67.||Palestine||Tarzan Nasser (1st) and Arab Nasser (1st)||13th submission for Palestine, which has been nominated twice (2005's Paradise Now and 2013's Omar)|
|68.||Panama||Luis Franco Brantley (1st) and Luis Pacheco (1st)||6th submission for Panama, which has yet to be nominated|
|69.||Paraguay||Hugo Giménez (1st)||4th submission for Paraguay, which has yet to be nominated|
|70.||Peru||Melina Leon (1st)||26th submission for Peru, which has been nominated once (2009's The Milk of Sorrow)|
|71.||Philippines||Mindanao||Brillante Mendoza (2nd)||32nd submission for Philippines, which has yet to be nominated|
|72.||Poland||Małgorzata Szumowska (1st) and Michał Englert (1st)||52nd submission for Poland, which has been nominated 12 times and won once (2014's Ida)|
|73.||Portugal||Pedro Costa (2nd)||36th submission for Portugal, which has yet to be nominated - a record in this category|
|74.||Romania||Alexander Nanau (1st)||36th submission for Romania, which has yet to be nominated|
|75.||Russia||Andrei Konchalovsky (3rd)||28th submission for Russia (post-Soviet Union), which has been nominated 7 times and won once (1994's Burnt by the Sun)|
|76.||Saudi Arabia||Shahad Ameen (1st)||4th submission for Saudi Arabia, which has yet to be nominated|
|77.||Senegal||Mamadou Dia (1st)||3rd submission for Senegal, which has yet to be nominated but was on the shortlist for its first two submissions (2017's Felicité and 2019's Atlantics)|
|78.||Serbia||Predrag Antonijević (1st)||27th submission for Serbia, Since its dissolution from Yugoslavia in 1991, and has yet to be nominated|
|79.||Singapore||Anthony Chen (2nd)||14th submission for Singapore, which has yet to be nominated|
|80.||Slovakia||Peter Bebjak (2nd)||24th submission for Slovakia since its separation from the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia), which has yet to be nominated|
|81.||Slovenia||Gregor Božič (1st)||24th submission for Slovenia, which has yet to be nominated|
|82.||South Africa||Rene van Rooyen (1st)||17th submission for South Africa, has been nominated twice and won once (2005's Tsotsi)|
|83.||South Korea||Woo Min-ho (1st)||32nd submission for South Korea, which has been nominated once and won once (2019's Parasite)|
|84.||Spain||Aitor Arregi (1st), Jon Garaño (2nd), Jose Mari Geonaga (2nd)||63rd submission for Spain, has been nominated 20 times, won 4 times (1982's Volver a Empezar, 1993's Belle Époque, 1999's All About my Mother and 2004's The Sea Inside)|
|85.||Sudan||Abu Al Alala (1st)||1st ever submission for Sudan|
|86.||Suriname||Ivan Tai-Apin (1st)||1st ever submission for Suriname|
|87.||Sweden||Amanda Kernell (1st)||59th submission from Sweden, which has been nominated 16 times and won three (1960's The Virgin Spring, 1961's Through a Glass Darkly and 1983's Fanny and Alexander, all Ingmar Bergman films)|
|88.||Switzerland||Stéphanie Chuat (2nd) and Véronique Reymond (2nd)||48th submission for Switzerland, which has been nominated five times and won twice (1984's Dangerous Moves and 1990's Journey of Hope)|
|89.||Thailand||Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit (1st)||27th submission for Thailand, which has yet to be nominated|
|90.||Taiwan||Chung Mong-Hong (2nd)||46th submission for Taiwan, which has been nominated 3 times and won once (2000's Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon)|
|91.||Tunisia||Kaouther Ben Hania (2nd)||7th submission for Tunisia, which has yet to be nominated|
|92.||Turkey||Mehmet Ada Öztekin (1st)||27th submission for Turkey, which has yet to be nominated|
|93.||Ukraine||Valentyn Vasyanovych (2nd)||13th submission for Ukraine, which has yet to be nominated|
|94.||Uruguay||Leticia Jorge (1st)||20th submission for Uruguay, which was Oscar-nominated in 1992 for A Place of the Sun, but it was disqualified after nominations announcement when the AMPAS verified the Argentinian background of the film.|
|95.||Venezuela||Anabel Rodriguez (1st)||30th submission for Venezuela, which has yet to be nominated|
|96.||Vietnam||Victor Vu (2nd)||17th submission for Vietnam, which has been nominated once (1993's The Scent of Green Papaya)|