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Ritesh Batra on Photograph


Daniel Schmidt and Gabriel Abrantes (Diamantino)
Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)
Christian Petzoldt (Transit)
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92nd Oscars. Oscar Contenders of 2019 (for the 2020 Ceremony) - For prediction, discussion, entertainment purposes

 discuss on the blog

This category has been renamed "Best International Feature Film"  

For the April Foolish predictions we're really guessing countries, not films, just to have something to point to as our 'first predictions' of the year. We are a long way from knowing which countries will submit which films.

2 nominations | 1 win
We don't know a lot about what's on tap in Chile this year but it'd be neat if they continued to be a rising Oscar presence. Pablo Larrain (No) and Gael Garcia Bernal are reuniting for Ema this year. Larrain is Chile's most frequently submitted director (four times in the past).

37 nominations | 9 wins (plus 3 Honoraries)

 France will have plentiful options by the fall given their robust film industry but one early contender is François Ozon's By the Grace of God. Despite numerous hits they've only submitted Ozon once though (8 Women, 2002)

10 nominations | 0 wins

Israel will have plentiful options and it all depends on the Ophir Award but Synonymes is a possibility. It won the Golden Bear at Berlinale in February. Nadav Lapid previously directed Policeman (2011), and The Kindergarten Teacher (2014).

5 nominations | 0 wins
One film to keep an eye on is Out Stealing Horses with major Scandinavian stars and the director Hans Petter Moland from a World War II related best-seller. It won the "outstanding artistic contribution" jury prize for its cinematography at Berlinale.

19 nominations | 4 wins

Spain is unpredictable when it comes to submitting Pedro Almodóvar films (they would've easily had a slam dunk won if they had in 2002 with Talk to Her, for example, in a weak Oscar year in that category) but Pain & Glory is winning raves.


No country has yet to announce their submission for 2019 but announcements generally begin in mid summer and build towards a deluge of titles in September. To qualify for submission a film must have opened in its home country between October 1st, 2018 and September 30th 2019. Each country can only select one film and each country has a different process for selecting that film. That part is up to the country themselves,

The number of submissions has been trending upwards the entire time we've been writing about the Oscars (since 2000) and here's how many films have been submitted each year for the past 10 years.

  • 2018 - 87 films
  • 2017 - 92 films (the all time record)
  • 2016 - 85 films
  • 2015 - 85 films
  • 2014 - 84 films
  • 2013 - 76 films
  • 2012 - 71 films
  • 2011 - 63 films
  • 2010 - 65 films
  • 2009 - 67 films



Most wins for a foreign film

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (Taiwan 2000) tied Fanny & Alexander's (Sweden 1983) previous solo record of 4 Oscar winsin almost all of the same categories: they both won cinematography, art direction, and foreign film while Crouching Tiger also took home score while Fanny & Alexander took costumes.

Most nominations for a foreign film

Roma (2018) just tied Crouching Tiger's previous solo record of 10 nominations


Most competitive wins in the category by director

Federico Fellini won 4 Oscars for Italy: La Strada (1956), Nights of Cabiria (1957), 8 1/2 (1963) and Amarcord (1974). In fact, he won every time he was nominated witin this category. Italy submitted his work three other times but Satyricon, Roma, and And the Ship Sails On were not nominated.

Most competitive wins & nominations w/out winning this category

Pan's Labyrinth (2006) won 3 awards from 6 nominations but lost its own category to The Lives of Others.

Most nominated country

France leads with 37 nominees (they were also given 3 honoraries before nominations began proper in 1956. Their most recent win was a long time ago now though: Indochine (1992) starring Catherine Deneuve.

Most winning country

Italy leads with 14 wins (3 of which were honoraries). Some of the most famous films among their winners are The Bicycle Thief (1949), 8 1/2 (1963), The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1971), Cinema Paradiso (1989), and Life is Beautiful (1998)


Most popular country with Oscar at this very moment

That would be Denmark which has been nominated 50% of the time in the last ten years -- most recently Land of Mine in 2016 -- winning once this past decade (A Better World). In addition to their 5 films nominees this past decade, they've had 2 additional finalists.

First foreign language film nominated for Best Picture

Grand Illusion (1938). But Oscar didn't start giving statues to foreign films until 11 years later and foreign films didn't get their owncompetitive category in regular category until 1956

Most influential snub of the past two decades

You have the horror of the snubbing of Romania's Palme d'or winner 4 Weeks, 3 Months and 2 Days (2007) to thank for the creation of the Academy's Executive Committee. Nominations have been so much better ever since!

First foreign language film to win an acting Oscar

Italy's Two Women (1961) won Best Actress for Sophia Loren who was, not unimportantly, already a major star in the US. But Italy did not submit her vehicle for Foreign Film, choosing Michelangelo Antonioni's La Notte instead (which was not nominatd)

First country to break through Oscar's midcentury France/Italy/Japan obsession

For the first 12 years of foreign film Oscars only France, Italy, or Japan were ever honored. Sweden was the first country to break up that strangehold with back to back Ingmar Bergman wins for The Virgin Spring (1960) and Through a Glass Darkly (1961)

First foreign language film to win any Oscar

Switzerland's Marie-Louise (1944) won Best Screenplay, years before the foreign film category began.

First foreign language film winner to win more than one Oscar

Japan's Gate of Hell (1954) won the Honorary for Foreign Film and also took home Costume Design. Costume Design is the category with the most wins for foreign-language films (7 in total)... runners up being a three way tie between Original Screenplay, Cinematography, and Score (with 5 wins in each)

Only directors of foreign film nominees to go on to direct a Best Picture winner

Czech director Milos Forman for Loves of a Blonde (1965)/ Fireman's Ball (1967) + One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)/ Amadeus (1984) was the first to do it. Two Mexican filmmakers have followed suit: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for Amores Perros (2000)/Biutiful (2010) + Birdman (2014) and Guillermo del Toro for Pan's Labyrinth (2006) + Shape of Water (2017)

Curiously no director has ever directed both a foreign film winner AND a Best Picture winner.

Only foreign film winner to also win Best Director

Alfonso Cuarón is the only person to ever win the Best Director Oscar for directing a foreign language film. Like another famous foreign director, Ang Lee, he has now won Best Director twice without winning Best Picture either time.