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Oscars: Record 76 countries competing for Best Foreign Language Film Oscar

By Daniel S Levine,

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences revealed the shortlist for the Best Foreign Language Oscar and includes a whopping 76 countries competing for the five slots to be nominated.

The Academy said that for the first time in their history, films from Saudi Arabia and Moldova will be in the running. Montenegro has also submitted a film for the first time as an independent country and it did make the list.

According to Variety, the list is not without several surprises. Just like every aspect of the Oscars, the Academy likes to make things interesting, but the Best Foreign Language category can get political. For example, the choices for Japan and India have received harsh criticism. Japan picked The Great Passage instead of the critically acclaimed Cannes-prize winner Like Father, Like Son. India went with The Good Road over The Lunchbox.

The biggest shocker might be France’s pick. It went with the biopic Renoir instead of the Cannes Palme D’Or winner, Blue Is The Warmest Color. That film is not being released within the Oscar window (Oct 1, 2012 - Sept. 30, 2013), so it could qualify for next year.

There are also films from the U.K., Australia and New Zealand, since the Oscars no longer require a film to be in a country’s dominant language. The U.K. pick is Metro Manila, which is actually in Tagalog.

Asghar Farhadi, the Iranian director whose A Separation won the Oscar in 2011, will be back with The Past to represent Iran.

The Oscar nominees will be announced on Jan. 16 and the awards will be handed out on March 2.

Below is the full list from Oscars.org:

Afghanistan, "Wajma – An Afghan Love Story," Barmak Akram, director;
Albania, "Agon," Robert Budina, director;
Argentina, "The German Doctor," Lucía Puenzo, director;
Australia, "The Rocket," Kim Mordaunt, director;
Austria, "The Wall," Julian Pölsler, director;
Azerbaijan, "Steppe Man," Shamil Aliyev, director;
Bangladesh, "Television," Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, director;
Belgium, "The Broken Circle Breakdown," Felix van Groeningen, director;
Bosnia and Herzegovina, "An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker," Danis Tanovic, director;
Brazil, "Neighboring Sounds," Kleber Mendonça Filho, director;
Bulgaria, "The Color of the Chameleon," Emil Hristov, director;
Cambodia, "The Missing Picture," Rithy Panh, director;
Canada, "Gabrielle," Louise Archambault, director;
Chad, "GriGris," Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, director;
Chile, "Gloria," Sebastián Lelio, director;
China, "Back to 1942," Feng Xiaogang, director;
Colombia, "La Playa DC," Juan Andrés Arango, director;
Croatia, "Halima’s Path," Arsen Anton Ostojic, director;
Czech Republic, "The Don Juans," Jiri Menzel, director;
Denmark, "The Hunt," Thomas Vinterberg, director;
Dominican Republic, "Quien Manda?" Ronni Castillo, director;
Ecuador, "The Porcelain Horse," Javier Andrade, director;
Egypt, "Winter of Discontent," Ibrahim El Batout, director;
Estonia, "Free Range," Veiko Ounpuu, director;
Finland, "Disciple," Ulrika Bengts, director;
France, "Renoir," Gilles Bourdos, director;
Georgia, "In Bloom," Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross, directors;
Germany, "Two Lives," Georg Maas, director;
Greece, "Boy Eating the Bird’s Food," Ektoras Lygizos, director;
Hong Kong, "The Grandmaster," Wong Kar-wai, director;
Hungary, "The Notebook," Janos Szasz, director;
Iceland, "Of Horses and Men," Benedikt Erlingsson, director;
India, "The Good Road," Gyan Correa, director;
Indonesia, "Sang Kiai," Rako Prijanto, director;
Iran, "The Past," Asghar Farhadi, director;
Israel, "Bethlehem," Yuval Adler, director;
Italy, "The Great Beauty," Paolo Sorrentino, director;
Japan, "The Great Passage," Ishii Yuya, director;
Kazakhstan, "Shal," Yermek Tursunov, director;
Latvia, "Mother, I Love You," Janis Nords, director;
Lebanon, "Blind Intersections," Lara Saba, director;
Lithuania, "Conversations on Serious Topics," Giedre Beinoriute, director;
Luxembourg, "Blind Spot," Christophe Wagner, director;
Mexico, "Heli," Amat Escalante, director;
Moldova, "All God’s Children," Adrian Popovici, director;
Montenegro, "Ace of Spades - Bad Destiny," Drasko Djurovic, director;
Morocco, "Horses of God," Nabil Ayouch, director;
Nepal, "Soongava: Dance of the Orchids," Subarna Thapa, director;
Netherlands, "Borgman," Alex van Warmerdam, director;
New Zealand, "White Lies," Dana Rotberg, director;
Norway, "I Am Yours," Iram Haq, director;
Pakistan, "Zinda Bhaag," Meenu Gaur and Farjad Nabi, directors;
Palestine, "Omar," Hany Abu-Assad, director;
Peru, "The Cleaner," Adrian Saba, director;
Philippines, "Transit," Hannah Espia, director;
Poland, "Walesa. Man of Hope," Andrzej Wajda, director;
Portugal, "Lines of Wellington," Valeria Sarmiento, director;
Romania, "Child’s Pose," Calin Peter Netzer, director;
Russia, "Stalingrad," Fedor Bondarchuk, director;
Saudi Arabia, "Wadjda," Haifaa Al Mansour, director;
Serbia, "Circles," Srdan Golubovic, director;
Singapore, "Ilo Ilo," Anthony Chen, director;
Slovak Republic, "My Dog Killer," Mira Fornay, director;
Slovenia, "Class Enemy," Rok Bicek, director;
South Africa, "Four Corners," Ian Gabriel, director;
South Korea, "Juvenile Offender," Kang Yi-kwan, director;
Spain, "15 Years Plus a Day," Gracia Querejeta, director;
Sweden, "Eat Sleep Die," Gabriela Pichler, director;
Switzerland, "More than Honey," Markus Imhoof, director;
Taiwan, "Soul," Chung Mong-Hong, director;
Thailand, "Countdown," Nattawut Poonpiriya, director;
Turkey, "The Butterfly’s Dream," Yilmaz Erdogan, director;
Ukraine, "Paradjanov," Serge Avedikian and Olena Fetisova, directors;
United Kingdom, "Metro Manila," Sean Ellis, director;
Uruguay, "Anina," Alfredo Soderguit, director;
Venezuela, "Breach in the Silence," Luis Alejandro Rodríguez and Andrés Eduardo Rodríguez, directors.

 
 

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