At the moment of this typing 67 films have been announced by their home countries as Oscar submissions and our famous charts are all updated to tell you about them with posters, running times, languages spoken, official site links, synopsis and more. This year's race has three countries who've never submitted before (Kosovo, Mauritania, and Panama). That's not a record since that was also true last year. Can we attribute the continual growth of this category to the general democratization of film now that (nearly) everything is digital and filmmaking is (theoretically) more affordable? Or perhaps it's a sure sign that the Oscar is still one of the most significant icons around the world?
The most entries this category has ever had was 76 (just last year) but that record is frequently busted. What about this year? My guess is it won't be that many since the films are due tomorrow and we've only heard 66 of them. But, consider this: Ten regularly participating countries are as of yet unannounced. Usually there are a handful of submissions on the official list that weren't covered in the trades or here. And usually at least one previously announced title doesn't appear when all is said and done due to last minute switcheroos by the home country, disqualifications, or politicking of one sort of the other. So my guess is 70-72 competitors this year. I still maintain that the new system of the finalist list that Oscar announces in early January needs tinkering. At nine films it seems cruel so few films lose out on a nomination that was dangling right in front of them. A better and less sadistic and potentially humiliating finalist list would be something like 12 pictures so the majority were runners up. In a general sense though I'm in huge favor of their new culling process; the quality of the shortlist has inarguably improved with all the tinkering in recent years.
Two Biggies Remain Unannounced:
- ARGENTINA - (5 nominations / 1 win)
They haven't skipped the race since 1983. Will it be Wild Tales? UPDATE: YES, IT'S WILD TALES. WOOOO
- CHINA - (2 nominations)
They haven't skipped the race since 2001. Despite often high profile entries China has trouble getting nominated. Might they submit Coming Home? It does reteam the auteur Zhang Yimou with his original muse Gong Li and their films together have often won a single Oscar nomination whether that was for cinematography (Shanghai Triad), costumes (Curse of the Golden Flower), or foreign film (Ju Dou, Raise the Red Lantern). Their other films together were probably near-misses since they won nominations elsewhere (To Live for the Golden Globes and The Story of Qi Ju for The Spirit Awards)
The following countries which semi-regularly submit have not yet announced:
- ALBANIA (never nominated)
- ALGERIA (5 nominations/1 win) - They have a strong record when they submit but they tend to drift in and out of interest in competing unless there's a Rachid Bouchareb film out (he's been their nominee three times: Dust of Life, Days of Glory, and Outside the Law)
- AZERBAIJAN (never nominated) - Submitting for almost a decade now
- CUBA (1 nomination) - They skipped the last two years but Behavior (reviewed) could be a legit contender for the statue if submitted. Their only nominee was the gay drama Strawberry & Chocolate from 1994
- LEBANON (never nominated) - Submitting since the late 90s
- SOUTH AFRICA (2 nominations/1 win) - Since they started submitting regularly in 2004 they've done very well with one nominee (Yesterday), one winner (Tsotsi), and one finalist that didn't quite make it (Life Above All)
- VIETNAM (1 nomination) -The Scent of Green Papaya, their only nominee, was their very first entry into the category
The following countries which occasionally submit have not yet announced:
- ARMENIA, AUSTRALIA, ECUADOR, IRAQ, KYRGYZSTAN, and CAMBODIA which was Cambodia nominated for the first time last year with the incredible documentary The Missing Picture.
The following countries rarely submit but you never know:
- Chad, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Fiji Islands, Greenland, Guatemala, Kenya, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Tajikstan, and Tanzania
EXPLORE THE CATEGORY AND SOUND OFF ON WHICH FILMS AND COUNTRIES YOU'D LIKE TO SEE MORE COVERAGE OF RIGHT HERE.