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Angelina Jolie Joins Oscar Foreign-Language Race as Entries Near 50

If Jolie’s ”First They Killed My Father“ qualifies under Academy rules, it will join films by Michael Haneke, Ruben Ostlund, Joachim Trier and more


Angelina Jolie’s “First They Killed My Father” has been officially submitted by Cambodia to the Oscars’ Best Foreign Language Film category, where the dark Netflix drama has become the latest of almost 50 films to enter the race.

Jolie’s film was made in Cambodia with an all-Cambodian cast, and contains virtually no English dialogue. It is based on the memoir by Loung Ung, who was a child when the brutal Khmer Rouge regime took control of her country. She and her family were driven from their comfortable home in the city and moved to a work camp in the country.

The film played at the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals before a theatrical run that coincided with its September 15 Netflix debut. It is the highest-profile entry to date in this year’s Oscar foreign-language race, but its acceptance by the Academy is not guaranteed.

Oscar rules specify that for a film to qualify in the category, “creative control” of the film must be “largely in the hands of citizens or residents of that country.” Jolie was granted Cambodian citizenship by royal decree in 2005 because of her humanitarian work in the country, and her film was co-written by Ung and produced by Cambodian filmmaker Rithy Panh, whose “The Missing Picture” was an Oscar nominee in the foreign-language category in 2014.

“First They Killed My Father” joins a growing list of foreign-language submissions that is expected to be near the 83 entries that qualified last year. Among the other films in the running are several from past nominees: the dark satire “Happy End,” from “Amour” director Michael Haneke, is Austria’s submission; Belgium chose “Racer and the Jailbird” from Michael R. Roskam, who directed the 2012 nominee “Bullhead”; and Poland submitted “Spoor,” from director Agnieszka Holland, whose “In Darkness” was a nominee in 2012.

Other notable entries include Chile’s “A Fantastic Woman,” from Sebastian Lelio; Egypt’s comedy “Sheikh Jackson,” from Amr Salama; Estonia’s “November,” from Rainer Sarnet; Finland’s “Tom of Finland,” from Dome Karukosi; Lebanon’s “The Insult,” from Ziad Doueiri; Morocco’s “Razzia,” from Nabil Ayouch; the Netherlands’ “Layla M.,” from Mijke de Jong; Norway’s “Thelma,” from Joachim Trier; Palestine’s “Wajib,” from Annemarie Jacir; and Mexico’s documentary “Tempestad,” from Tatiana Huezo.

Previously announced films include Ruben Ostlund’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner, “The Square,” and Germany’s “In the Fade,” starring Diane Kruger and directed by Fatih Akin.

TheWrap has a complete listing of submitted films, with links to trailers, here. The list will be updated as more countries submit films.

The Academy will announce its official list of qualifying films in early October, and will begin screening those films for voters later that month.