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87 films will contend for Best Foreign Language Feature this year

Yesterday afternoon, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced which movies will be competing to win the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Feature. This first long list marks an important benchmark in the season. Yes, we can actually begin narrowing things down. To be fair, this is a category that doesn’t get the attention of Best Picture or Best Actor/Best Actress, but it’s still a big deal. The Academy has narrowed things down to 87 films, just shy of the record set last year. That many countries submitting movies for Oscar consideration is wonderful, especially since I’ve seen a handful of these and they’re largely excellent.

The only notable exclusion was that Italy did not choose Happy as Lazarro to be their selection, despite the backing of Martin Scorsese and Netflix. That country opted for Dogman from Matteo Garrone, instead. Aside from that, it’s pretty much all of the expected players. Obviously, the biggest players here are Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma from Mexico, Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum from Lebanon, and Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War from Poland. Also of note in the category are films like Argentina’s El Ángel, Germany’s Never Look Away, Hungary’s Sunset, Japan’s Shoplifters, and South Korea’s Burning. In all likelihood, five of those will end up being the ultimate nominees here.

Here is the complete list of 87 contenders for the Best Foreign Language Feature Oscar, as per the Academy’s press release:

Afghanistan, “Rona Azim’s Mother,” Jamshid Mahmoudi, director;
Algeria, “Until the End of Time,” Yasmine Chouikh, director;
Argentina, “El Ángel,” Luis Ortega, director;
Armenia, “Spitak,” Alexander Kott, director;
Australia, “Jirga,” Benjamin Gilmour, director;
Austria, “The Waldheim Waltz,” Ruth Beckermann, director;
Bangladesh, “No Bed of Roses,” Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, director;
Belarus, “Crystal Swan,” Darya Zhuk, director;
Belgium, “Girl,” Lukas Dhont, director;
Bolivia, “The Goalkeeper,” Rodrigo “Gory” Patiño, director;
Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Never Leave Me,” Aida Begić, director;
Brazil, “The Great Mystical Circus,” Carlos Diegues, director;
Bulgaria, “Omnipresent,” Ilian Djevelekov, director;
Cambodia, “Graves without a Name,” Rithy Panh, director;
Canada, “Family Ties,” Sophie Dupuis, director;
Chile, “…And Suddenly the Dawn,” Silvio Caiozzi, director;
China, “Hidden Man,” Jiang Wen, director;
Colombia, “Birds of Passage,” Cristina Gallego, Ciro Guerra, directors;
Costa Rica, “Medea,” Alexandra Latishev, director;
Croatia, “The Eighth Commissioner,” Ivan Salaj, director;
Czech Republic, “Winter Flies,” Olmo Omerzu, director;
Denmark, “The Guilty,” Gustav Möller, director;
Dominican Republic, “Cocote,” Nelson Carlo De Los Santos Arias, director;
Ecuador, “A Son of Man,” Jamaicanoproblem, director;
Egypt, “Yomeddine,” A.B. Shawky, director;
Estonia, “Take It or Leave It,” Liina Trishkina-Vanhatalo, director;
Finland, “Euthanizer,” Teemu Nikki, director;
France, “Memoir of War,” Emmanuel Finkiel, director;
Georgia, “Namme,” Zaza Khalvashi, director;
Germany, “Never Look Away,” Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, director;
Greece, “Polyxeni,” Dora Masklavanou, director;
Hong Kong, “Operation Red Sea,” Dante Lam, director;
Hungary, “Sunset,” László Nemes, director;
Iceland, “Woman at War,” Benedikt Erlingsson, director;
India, “Village Rockstars,” Rima Das, director;
Indonesia, “Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts,” Mouly Surya, director;
Iran, “No Date, No Signature,” Vahid Jalilvand, director;
Iraq, “The Journey,” Mohamed Jabarah Al-Daradji, director;
Israel, “The Cakemaker,” Ofir Raul Graizer, director;
Italy, “Dogman,” Matteo Garrone, director;
Japan, “Shoplifters,” Hirokazu Kore-eda, director;
Kazakhstan, “Ayka,” Sergey Dvortsevoy, director;
Kenya, “Supa Modo,” Likarion Wainaina, director;
Kosovo, “The Marriage,” Blerta Zeqiri, director;
Latvia, “To Be Continued,” Ivars Seleckis, director;
Lebanon, “Capernaum,” Nadine Labaki, director;
Lithuania, “Wonderful Losers: A Different World,” Arunas Matelis, director;
Luxembourg, “Gutland,” Govinda Van Maele, director;
Macedonia, “Secret Ingredient,” Gjorce Stavreski, director;
Malawi, “The Road to Sunrise,” Shemu Joyah, director;
Mexico, “Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón, director;
Montenegro, “Iskra,” Gojko Berkuljan, director;
Morocco, “Burnout,” Nour-Eddine Lakhmari, director;
Nepal, “Panchayat,” Shivam Adhikari, director;
Netherlands, “The Resistance Banker,” Joram Lürsen, director;
New Zealand, “Yellow Is Forbidden,” Pietra Brettkelly, director;
Niger, “The Wedding Ring,” Rahmatou Keïta, director;
Norway, “What Will People Say,” Iram Haq, director;
Pakistan, “Cake,” Asim Abbasi, director;
Palestine, “Ghost Hunting,” Raed Andoni, director;
Panama, “Ruben Blades Is Not My Name,” Abner Benaim, director;
Paraguay, “The Heiresses,” Marcelo Martinessi, director;
Peru, “Eternity,” Oscar Catacora, director;
Philippines, “Signal Rock,” Chito S. Roño, director;
Poland, “Cold War,” Pawel Pawlikowski, director;
Portugal, “Pilgrimage,” João Botelho, director;
Romania, “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians,” Radu Jude, director;
Russia, “Sobibor,” Konstantin Khabensky, director;
Serbia, “Offenders,” Dejan Zecevic, director;
Singapore, “Buffalo Boys,” Mike Wiluan, director;
Slovakia, “The Interpreter,” Martin Šulík, director;
Slovenia, “Ivan,” Janez Burger, director;
South Africa, “Sew the Winter to My Skin,” Jahmil X.T. Qubeka, director;
South Korea, “Burning,” Lee Chang-dong, director;
Spain, “Champions,” Javier Fesser, director;
Sweden, “Border,” Ali Abbasi, director;
Switzerland, “Eldorado,” Markus Imhoof, director;
Taiwan, “The Great Buddha+,” Hsin-Yao Huang, director;
Thailand, “Malila The Farewell Flower,” Anucha Boonyawatana, director;
Tunisia, “Beauty and the Dogs,” Kaouther Ben Hania, director;
Turkey, “The Wild Pear Tree,” Nuri Bilge Ceylan, director;
Ukraine, “Donbass,” Sergei Loznitsa, director;
United Kingdom, “I Am Not a Witch,” Rungano Nyoni, director;
Uruguay, “Twelve-Year Night,” Álvaro Brechner, director;
Venezuela, “The Family,” Gustavo Rondón Córdova, director;
Vietnam, “The Tailor,” Buu Loc Tran, Kay Nguyen, directors;
Yemen, “10 Days before the Wedding,” Amr Gamal, director.

Right now, Roma is far and away the favorite to win this Oscar. If there’s a spoiler, and that’s a big if, it seems like only Capernaum and Cold War have outside shots. After all, they’re the ones hoping to compete in other Academy categories as well. Still, with Roma also sitting very pretty for a Best Picture nod, this nom here should easily translate into a victory. Time will tell, but it’s one of the clearest frontrunners we have in any category so far. Sit tight for other lists from Oscar to come out in the weeks to come. Tis the season, after all…

Stay tuned to see which film takes home the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Feature!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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