Bulgaria has submitted films for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film[nb 1] since 1970. The award is handed out annually by the United States-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to a feature length motion picture produced outside the U.S. that contains primarily non-English language dialogue.[3] It was not created until the 1956 Academy Awards, in which a competitive Academy Award of Merit was created for non-English speaking films, and has been given annually since.[4]

Since 1970, Bulgaria has submitted twenty-eight films for consideration. No Bulgarian film has yet been nominated for an Oscar, although their 2009 submission was shortlisted for the 2010 Best Foreign Language Film award. All films were primarily in Bulgarian, apart from the 2019 submission, Ága, which was in Yakut.

As of 2007, the Bulgarian submission has been chosen by the newly formed Bulgarian National Film Council.[5] Prior to 2007, the responsibility went to the Bulgarian National Council on Cinema. The Bulgarian films selected for this category generally fall into three categories- those submitted by the Communist People's Republic of Bulgaria (7 films, submitted for the 1972-1990 award ceremonies), those made during the Post-Communist transition period where film output was extremely limited (3 films, 1991-2000) and films made after the national film industry had recovered (11 films, 2001–present).


Original title Film title used in nomination Director(s) Result
Porcupines Are Born Without Bristles Таралежите се раждат без бодли Dimitar Petrov Not nominated
The Goat Horn Козият рог Metodi Andonov Not nominated
The Last Summer Последно лято Christo Christov Not nominated
The Barrier Бариерата Christo Christov Not nominated
Khan Asparoukh Хан Аспарух Ludmil Staikov Not nominated
Where Are You Going? А сега накъде Rangel Vulchanov Not nominated
Time of Violence Време разделно Ludmil Staikov Not nominated
Margarit and Margarita Маргарит и Маргарита Nikolai Volev Not nominated
The Well Кладенецът Docho Bodzhakov Not nominated
Canary Season Сезонът на канарчетата Evgeni Mihailov Not nominated
Letter to America Писмо до Америка Iglika Triffonova Not nominated
Fate as a Rat Съдбата като плъх Ivan Pavlov Not nominated
Warming Up Yesterday's Lunch Подгряване на вчерашния обед Kostadin Bonev Not nominated
Journey to Jerusalem Пътуване към Йерусалим Ivan Nitchev Not nominated
Mila from Mars Мила от Марс Zornitsa Sofia Not nominated
Stolen Eyes Откраднати очи Radoslav Spassov Not nominated
Monkeys in Winter[6] Маймуни през зимата Milena Andonova Not nominated
Warden of the Dead[7] Пазачът на мъртвите Ilean Simeonov Not nominated
Zift[8] Дзифт Javor Gardev Not nominated
The World Is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner Светът е голям и спасение дебне отвсякъде Stephan Komandarev Made shortlist
Eastern Plays[9] Източни пиеси Kamen Kalev Not nominated[10]
Tilt[11] Тилт Viktor Chouchkov Not nominated
Sneakers[12] Кецове Valeri Yordanov Not nominated
The Colour of the Chameleon[13] Цветът на Хамелеона Emil Hristov Not nominated
Bulgarian Rhapsody[14] Българска рапсодия Ivan Nitchev Not nominated
The Judgment[15] Съдилището Stephan Komandarev Not nominated
Losers[16] Каръци Ivaylo Hristov Not nominated
Glory[17] Слава Kristina Grozeva, Petar Valchanov Not nominated
Omnipresent[18] Вездесъщият Ilian Djevelekov Not nominated
Ága[19] Ága Milko Lazarov Not nominated
The Father[20] Бащата Kristina Grozeva, Petar Valchanov Not nominated
Fear[21] Страх Ivaylo Hristov Not nominated


Communist-era submissions (1971–89)

The People's Republic of Bulgaria deemed seven films worthy of Oscar consideration, choosing primarily apolitical films, particularly nationalist dramas showcasing Bulgarian history.

The most famous of these was “The Goat Horn”, a revenge drama based on a famous Bulgarian folktale and considered one of the greatest Bulgarian films of all-time. Set in the 18th century, four bandits rape and kill a woman in front of her husband and young daughter. The husband then raises his daughter as a boy, specifically to take revenge. “Khan Asparoukh”, is an epic 7th century drama about Bulgaria's greatest Emperor Asparoukh, who fought against the Byzantines and founded the Bulgarian nation. “Time of Violence” is a 17th-century tale about the invasion of a Christian region by the Janissaries- Bulgarian youths kidnapped as children by the Ottoman Turks and raised as Muslims in order to violently convert their home villages. The latter film was selected for the Oscars in the midst of the political turmoil that led to the Communist overthrow.

Three other dramas bordered on the surreal. Two films by Christo Christov were selected in the 1970s: “The Last Summer”, about a rural town whose residents are forced to go elsewhere when a new dam floods the area, and “The Barrier”, a romance between a middle-aged composer and the eccentric (insane?) woman to whom he gives shelter in his home. "Where Do We Go From Here?" is the story of a director cruelly manipulating 26 aspiring actors & actresses trying to win an acting competition.

The first-ever Bulgarian Oscar submission was the children's comedy film “Porcupines Are Born without Bristles”, which was selected in Fall 1971 to compete for the 1972 Oscars.

Post-communist transition period (1990–2000)

After the fall of Communism and the end of generous state subsidies, Bulgarian film output fell drastically. In 1999, not a single Bulgarian film was released.[22] Those few films that were released took advantage of the new lack of censorship to harshly attack the excesses of the old regime. All three films submitted for consideration to the Oscars in this time period were anti-Communist films. Margarit & Margarita, the story of two rebellious youths who fall in love, was banned shortly before the 1989 Revolution and was released shortly after. The Well tells the story of how Communism was imposed with an iron fist after the end of the Second World War. The Canary Season is about the tragic life story of a woman as retold to her teenage son who wants to know the identity of his real father, in which she recounts her rape and forced marriage at the hands of the regime.

Since 2001

Prior to Letter to America, every movie on this list was produced by the respected film studio Boyana Film. Starting with America, films from the new and independent studios began to be chosen for the first time. As the number of internationally recognized Bulgarian films increased, multiple films began to be considered each year. In the 2006-2008 selections, four, five and three semi-finalists were considered respectively.

Since Fall 2000, Bulgaria has never failed to submit a film for consideration in the category. Three out of the ten films were directed by women, including one by Milena Andonova, the daughter of Goat Horn director Melodi Andonov.

Since 2006, nine Foreign Language Film contenders are shortlisted after an initial round of AMPAS screenings. Then a selection of Academy members in New York and Los Angeles determine the final five nominees. The World is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner was among the nine films shortlisted in 2009, but it did not make the final five.

Recent films selected have covered a wide variety of genres, with a special emphasis on stories from the Bulgarian countryside.


  1. ^ The category was previously named the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, but this was changed to the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film in April 2019, after the Academy deemed the word "Foreign" to be outdated.[1][2]


  1. ^ "Academy announces rules for 92nd Oscars". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 23 April 2019. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  2. ^ "Academy Announces Rule Changes For 92nd Oscars". Forbes. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  3. ^ "Rule Thirteen: Special Rules for the Foreign Language Film Award". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 22 August 2013. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
  4. ^ "History of the Academy Awards - Page 2". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 22 June 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2008.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 March 2010. Retrieved 22 March 2010.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ Other Films on the Shortlist: "Lady Zee" by Georgi Djulgerov, "The Prince and the Pauper" by Mariana Evstatieva and "The Rebel of L" by Kiran Kolarov
  7. ^ Other Films on the Shortlist: "Christmas Tree Upside Down" by Ivan Cherkelov and Vassil Zhivkov; "Investigation" by Iglika Triffonova, "Time for Women" by Ilia Kostov and "Sparrows in October" by Anry Kulev
  8. ^ Other Films on the Shortlist: "The World is Big and Salvation Lurks Around the Corner", by Stephan Komandarev and "Seamstresses", by Lyudmil Todorov
  9. ^ "Bulgaria Nominates 'Eastern Plays' for Oscar for Foreign Language Film". novinite.com. Retrieved 29 September 2010.
  10. ^ "9 Foreign Language Films Continue to Oscar Race". oscars.org. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
  11. ^ "63 Countries Vie for 2011 Foreign Language Film Oscar". oscars.org. Archived from the original on 21 May 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  12. ^ "Bulgaria selects 'Sneakers' for Oscars". Variety. 13 September 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
  13. ^ "Oscars: Bulgaria Nominates Spy Comedy 'The Color of Chameleon' in Foreign Language Category". Hollywood Reporter. 3 September 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
  14. ^ "'Bulgarian Rhapsody' Enters Oscars 2014 Foreign Language Film Contest". Novinite. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  15. ^ "Bulgaria Selects The Judgment as Oscar Entry". Film New Europe. 7 September 2015. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  16. ^ Kozlov, Vladimir (14 September 2016). "Oscars: Bulgaria Selects 'Losers' for Foreign-Language Category". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 14 September 2016.
  17. ^ Holdsworth, Nick (13 September 2017). "Oscars: Bulgaria Selects 'Glory' for Foreign-Language Category". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  18. ^ Kozlov, Vladimir (17 September 2018). "Oscars: Bulgaria Selects 'Omnipresent' for Foreign-Language Category". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  19. ^ "Milko Lazarov's "Aga" is the Bulgarian Proposal For an Oscar". Novinite. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  20. ^ "БАЩАТА" НА РЕЖИСЬОРИТЕ КРИСТИНА ГРОЗЕВА И ПЕТЪР ВЪЛЧАНОВ Е БЪЛГАРСКОТО ПРЕДЛОЖЕНИЕ ЗА НАГРАДАТА "ОСКАР"". Bulgarian National Film Center. 6 November 2020. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  21. ^ ""страх" На Режисьора Ивайло Христов Е Българското Предложение За Наградата "оскар"". Bulgarian National Film Center. 11 October 2021.
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 April 2010. Retrieved 22 March 2010.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)