Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

For Your Consideration: The Foreign Language Race Arrives

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire September 25, 2012 at 12:50PM

It's generally an assured equation: Oscars + Foreign Language Film Category = Outrage. Sometimes, the fault lies with Academy voters (as it did when "Departures" won the Oscar in 2008 over what most viewed as two greatly superior nominees - "Waltz With Bashir" and "The Class;" or when "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," "Persepolis" and "Volver" were all left off the ballot in 2007). And sometimes, the national submission committees are at fault (like in 2010 when Italy submitted "La Prima Cosa Bella" over "I Am Love").
1
"The Intouchables"
"The Intouchables"

It's generally an assured equation: Oscars + Foreign Language Film Category = Outrage. Sometimes, the fault lies with Academy voters (as it did when "Departures" won the Oscar in 2008 over what most viewed as two greatly superior nominees - "Waltz With Bashir" and "The Class;" or when "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," "Persepolis" and "Volver" were all left off the ballot in 2007). And sometimes, the national submission committees are at fault (like in 2010 when Italy submitted "La Prima Cosa Bella" over "I Am Love").

Last year, there were quite a few controversies from both sides of the equation. Albania originally submitted "The Forgiveness of Blood," but it was rejected due to protest of Bujar Alimani, the director of another Albanian film, "Amnesty." He made the case that "Blood" shouldn't be eligible to represent Albania because its director, Joshua Marston, was American born and most key crew members were American. The Academy disqualified it and Albania instead submitted Alimani's film.

Then there was Puerto Rico, which tried to submit a film -- Sonia Fritz's "America" -- but was rejected because of a new rule that doesn't allow films from US territories to compete in the Foreign Language Film category. But Puerto Rico had been regularly -- and successfully -- submitting films since 1986, getting a nominaton in 1989 for Jacobo Morales's "Santiago, the Story of his New Life." The Puerto Rico Film Commission appealed to the Academy to change its mind, noting its previous Oscar nomination in the category as well as the presence of non-independent territories like Greenland, Hong Kong and Palestine, but AMPAS refused to change its tune.

READ MORE: Complete List of Announced 2012 Foreign-Language Academy Award Submissions

Another questionable move came care of Russia, which chose Nikita Mikhalkov’s "Burnt By the Sun 2: Citadel," which is a sequel to a film that won this award back in 1995. However, unlike its predecessor, this film has not been well received. It currently holds a D+ average on Criticwire, one of the worst averages in the entire system. It also hasn't been embraced by the Russian public, having only managed to gross $2 million there despite a massive $45 million budget (its considered one of the biggest flops in the country's cinematic history).

While the Russian Oscar selection committee indeed voted for its submission, committee head Vladimir Menshov was adamantly against the decision, asking for reconsideration. One clear alternative suggestion was Andrey Zvyagintsev's "Elena," which was quite well-received in Cannes last year, but Russia didn't budge (and didn't receive a nomination).

'Beyond the Hills'
'Beyond the Hills'

In the end, the Academy managed a pretty respectable quintent of nominees based on what had qualified, including Joseph Cedar's "Footnote," Michaël R. Roskam's Belgian "Bullhead" and Asghar Farhadi's eventual winner "A Separation," which few would disagree was one of the more deserving winners in the category, well, ever. Though they did also overlook the acclaimed likes of Aki Kaurismaki's "Le Havre," Wim Wenders' "Pina," Valerie Donzelli's "Declaration of War" and Bela Tarr's "The Turin Horse," it was overall definitely one of the better years for the category.

While the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has not yet released a final list of thus year's submissions for their Foreign Language Film category (they are expected to do so in the next week or so), already submissions from 47 different countries have been made public; another 15-20 are still to come (63 ended up submitting last year).


This article is related to: Academy Awards, Best Foreign-Language Film






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More