Record 93 Countries Are in the Running for International Oscar This Year

High profile contenders include South Korea’s “Parasite,” Spain’s “Pain and Glory,” France’s “Les Miserables,” Senegal’s “Atlantics,” Romania’s “The Whistlers” and the Czech Republic’s “The Painted Bird”

Last Updated: October 7, 2019 @ 1:48 PM

A record-breaking total of 93 countries will be competing in the Oscar race for Best International Feature Film, the new name for what previously has been known as the Best Foreign-Language Film category.

The Academy announced the full list of eligible films and countries on Monday, with three countries — Ghana, Nigeria and Uzbekistan — competing in the category for the first time.

The previous high for submissions was 92 films, which was set in 2017. This year’s field also sets a new record for the number of women with films in the race, with 29 female directors responsible for 28 of the qualifying films.

One film, Algeria’s “Papicha,” needed a special ruling from the Academy to retain its eligibility. The film was scheduled to open in Algeria in late September, but the Algerian government cancelled the screenings without explanation just before they were scheduled to happen, presumably because it was uncomfortable with a film that showed the restrictions placed on women after the country’s civil war. The lack of an Algerian release technically disqualified the film, but the Academy’s International Feature Film Executive Committee ruled that because the cancellation was out of the filmmakers’ control, “Papicha” would not lose its eligibility.

An AMPAS-approved body or committee from each country is permitted to submit one film to represent that country in the category. The Academy then vets each film to make sure that the majority of dialogue is in a language other than English and that it has substantial creative input from the country making the submission.

If the race has any front-runners at this point, they are South Korea’s “Parasite,” Bong Joon-ho’s black comedy that has also stirred up Best Picture and Best Director talk, and Spain’s “Pain and Glory,” a semi-autobiographical fantasia from Pedro Almodovar that found Antonio Banderas winning Cannes’ best-actor award for his quietly gripping performance as an Almodovar-like director.

Other high profile entries include France’s “Les Miserables,” which won the third-place Jury Prize in Cannes this year; the United Kingdom’s “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” from actor-director Chiwetel Ejiofor; Brazil’s “Invisible Life,” from Karim Ainouz; Colombia’s “Monos,” from Alejandro Landes, which has already had a U.S. release; Japan’s “Weathering With You,” the first animated film submitted by that country since “Princess Mononoke” in 1997; Norway’s “Out Stealing Horses,” starring Stellan Skarsgard; Israel’s controversial “Incitement,” about Yitzak Rabin’s assassin; the Czech Republic’s Jerzy Kozinski adaptation “The Painted Bird”; and several other films that also played in Cannes, including Romania’s “The Whistlers,” from Corneliu Porumboiu, Senegal’s “Atlantics,” Italy’s “The Traitor,” Morocco’s “Adam,” Portugal’s “The Domain” and Palestine’s “It Must Be Heaven.”

But it’s risky to assign favorite status to any film before most Academy voters have had a chance to see it. From mid-October until early December, all of the eligible films will be screened for Los Angeles-based volunteers from all branches of the Academy, who can qualify to vote by seeing a minimum number of films.

Those voters will then score each film on a scale of 6 to 10. The top seven films will advance to a shortlist, joined by an additional three films added by a special executive committee. The 10 finalists, one more than in previous years, will be narrowed to five nominees in a second round of voting.

Mexico is the reigning champion in the category, with Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” winning the 2018 award. Overall, Italy has won the most awards in the category, 14, while France has received the most nominations, 37.

Click here for TheWrap’s complete list of this year’s qualifying films, with descriptions and links to trailers when available.

The Academy’s list of eligible films:
Albania, “The Delegation,” Bujar Alimani, director;
Algeria, “Papicha,” Mounia Meddour, director;
Argentina, “Heroic Losers,” Sebastián Borensztein, director;
Armenia, “Lengthy Night,” Edgar Baghdasaryan, director;
Australia, “Buoyancy,” Rodd Rathjen, director;
Austria, “Joy,” Sudabeh Mortezai, director;
Bangladesh, “Alpha,” Nasiruddin Yousuff, director;
Belarus, “Debut,” Anastasiya Miroshnichenko, director;
Belgium, “Our Mothers,” César Díaz, director;
Bolivia, “I Miss You,” Rodrigo Bellott, director;
Bosnia and Herzegovina, “The Son,” Ines Tanovic, director;
Brazil, “Invisible Life,” Karim Aïnouz, director;
Bulgaria, “Ága,” Milko Lazarov, director;
Cambodia, “In the Life of Music,” Caylee So, Sok Visal, directors;
Canada, “Antigone,” Sophie Deraspe, director;
Chile, “Spider,” Andrés Wood, director;
China, “Ne Zha,” Yu Yang, director;
Colombia, “Monos,” Alejandro Landes, director;
Costa Rica, “The Awakening of the Ants,” Antonella Sudasassi Furniss, director;
Croatia, “Mali,” Antonio Nuic, director;
Cuba, “A Translator,” Rodrigo Barriuso, Sebastián Barriuso, directors;
Czech Republic, “The Painted Bird,” Václav Marhoul, director;
Denmark, “Queen of Hearts,” May el-Toukhy, director;
Dominican Republic, “The Projectionist,” José María Cabral, director;
Ecuador, “The Longest Night,” Gabriela Calvache, director;
Egypt, “Poisonous Roses,” Ahmed Fawzi Saleh, director;
Estonia, “Truth and Justice,” Tanel Toom, director;
Ethiopia, “Running against the Wind,” Jan Philipp Weyl, director;
Finland, “Stupid Young Heart,” Selma Vilhunen, director;
France, “Les Misérables,” Ladj Ly, director;
Georgia, “Shindisi,” Dimitri Tsintsadze, director;
Germany, “System Crasher,” Nora Fingscheidt, director;
Ghana, “Azali,” Kwabena Gyansah, director;
Greece, “When Tomatoes Met Wagner,” Marianna Economou, director;
Honduras, “Blood, Passion, and Coffee,” Carlos Membreño, director;
Hong Kong, “The White Storm 2 Drug Lords,” Herman Yau, director;
Hungary, “Those Who Remained,” Barnabás Tóth, director;
Iceland, “A White, White Day,” Hlynur Pálmason, director;
India, “Gully Boy,” Zoya Akhtar, director;
Indonesia, “Memories of My Body,” Garin Nugroho, director;
Iran, “Finding Farideh,” Azadeh Moussavi, Kourosh Ataee, directors;
Ireland, “Gaza,” Garry Keane, Andrew McConnell, directors;
Israel, “Incitement,” Yaron Zilberman, director;
Italy, “The Traitor,” Marco Bellocchio, director;
Japan, “Weathering with You,” Makoto Shinkai, director;
Kazakhstan, “Kazakh Khanate. The Golden Throne,” Rustem Abdrashov, director;
Kenya, “Subira,” Ravneet Singh (Sippy) Chadha, director;
Kosovo, “Zana,” Antoneta Kastrati, director;
Kyrgyzstan, “Aurora,” Bekzat Pirmatov, director;
Latvia, “The Mover,” Davis Simanis, director;
Lebanon, “1982,” Oualid Mouaness, director;
Lithuania, “Bridges of Time,” Audrius Stonys, Kristine Briede, directors;
Luxembourg, “Tel Aviv on Fire,” Sameh Zoabi, director;
Malaysia, “M for Malaysia,” Dian Lee, Ineza Roussille, directors;
Mexico, “The Chambermaid,” Lila Avilés, director;
Mongolia, “The Steed,” Erdenebileg Ganbold, director;
Montenegro, “Neverending Past,” Andro Martinović, director;
Morocco, “Adam,” Maryam Touzani, director;
Nepal, “Bulbul,” Binod Paudel, director;
Netherlands, “Instinct,” Halina Reijn, director;
Nigeria, “Lionheart,” Genevieve Nnaji, director;
North Macedonia, “Honeyland,” Ljubo Stefanov, Tamara Kotevska, directors;
Norway, “Out Stealing Horses,” Hans Petter Moland, director;
Pakistan, “Laal Kabootar,” Kamal Khan, director;
Palestine, “It Must Be Heaven,” Elia Suleiman, director;
Panama, “Everybody Changes,” Arturo Montenegro, director;
Peru, “Retablo,” Alvaro Delgado Aparicio, director;
Philippines, “Verdict,” Raymund Ribay Gutierrez, director;
Poland, “Corpus Christi,” Jan Komasa, director;
Portugal, “The Domain,” Tiago Guedes, director;
Romania, “The Whistlers,” Corneliu Porumboiu, director;
Russia, “Beanpole,” Kantemir Balagov, director;
Saudi Arabia, “The Perfect Candidate,” Haifaa Al Mansour, director;
Senegal, “Atlantics,” Mati Diop, director;
Serbia, “King Petar the First,” Petar Ristovski, director;
Singapore, “A Land Imagined,” Yeo Siew Hua, director;
Slovakia, “Let There Be Light,” Marko Skop, director;
Slovenia, “History of Love,” Sonja Prosenc, director;
South Africa, “Knuckle City,” Jahmil X.T. Qubeka, director;
South Korea, “Parasite,” Bong Joon Ho, director;
Spain, “Pain and Glory,” Pedro Almodóvar, director;
Sweden, “And Then We Danced,” Levan Akin, director;
Switzerland, “Wolkenbruch’s Wondrous Journey into the Arms of a Shiksa,” Michael Steiner, director;
Taiwan, “Dear Ex,” Mag Hsu, Chih-Yen Hsu, directors;
Thailand, “Krasue: Inhuman Kiss,” Sitisiri Mongkolsiri, director;
Tunisia, “Dear Son,” Mohamed Ben Attia, director;
Turkey, “Commitment Asli,” Semih Kaplanoglu, director;
Ukraine, “Homeward,” Nariman Aliev, director;
United Kingdom, “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” Chiwetel Ejiofor, director;
Uruguay, “The Moneychanger,” Federico Veiroj, director;
Uzbekistan, “Hot Bread,” Umid Khamdamov, director;
Venezuela, “Being Impossible,” Patricia Ortega, director;
Vietnam, “Furie,” Le Van Kiet, director.

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