Volker Schlöndorff, director of The Tin Drum (1979), the first German film to receive the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film

Germany has submitted films for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film[nb 1] since the creation of the award in 1956. The award is handed out annually by the U.S.-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States that contains primarily non-English dialogue.[3]

Each year, the Academy invites countries to submit their best films for competition according to strict rules, with only one film being accepted from each country.[3] However, because of Germany's status as a divided country throughout much of the second half of the 20th century, West Germany and East Germany competed separately in the Best Foreign Language Film category until 1990. With eight nominations and one win,[4] West Germany was far more successful than East Germany, whose only nomination was received in 1976 for Jacob the Liar, a film which the Moscow International Film Festival had refused to screen.[5] West Germany received four consecutive nominations during the first years of the award's existence. It fared less well in the 1960s, as all of its submissions failed to garner a nomination. The advent of New German Cinema led to an improvement of German cinema's reputation abroad. As a result of this, West Germany received several nominations during the 1970s, culminating with The Tin Drum's victory in 1979.[6]

West Germany and East Germany were formally reunited on 3 October 1990.[7] The 63rd Academy Awards, held on 25 March 1991,[8] were thus the first at which Germany was able to participate as a single country. Reunified Germany has been successful in the Best International Feature Film category, securing three wins and nine nominations in three decades.[4] The three German films that received the award since reunification are All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) by Edward Berger, The Lives of Others (2006) by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck and Nowhere in Africa (2001) by Caroline Link. Donnersmarck and Link are the only two German directors to have had more than one film selected and nominated in this category. Several other German films have received Academy Awards in categories other than Best International Feature Film.[a]


According to Academy rules, the selection of each country's official submission has to be made by "one organization, jury or committee that should include artists and/or craftspeople from the field of motion pictures".[3] In Germany's case, the selection committee and procedure are organized by the Munich-based German Films Service + Marketing GmbH, known as Export-Union of German Cinema until 2004.[9] Film producers and distributors can submit a film for consideration to German Films, which verifies the completeness of the application and the compliance with Academy rules. A committee composed of representatives of nine different German film institutions and film industry trade groups selects a film for submission to the Academy.[b] German Films is not represented in the committee and concentrates solely on the organizational aspects.[10] Although East Germany used to submit films sparingly, West Germany and later reunified Germany have been regular participants, and have sent a film to the Academy in every year except from 1962 to 1964 and in 1991. The refusal of the selection committee to submit a film in 1991 was highly controversial.[c] The selection of The White Ribbon in 2009 also caused a minor controversy.[d]

Federal Republic of Germany

(as West Germany from 1956 to 1989, then reunified Germany from 1990 onward)

Film title used in nomination Original title Director Result
The Captain of Köpenick Der Hauptmann von Köpenick Helmut Käutner Nominated
The Devil Strikes at Night Nachts, wenn der Teufel kam Robert Siodmak Nominated
Arms and the Man Helden Franz Peter Wirth Nominated
The Bridge Die Brücke Bernhard Wicki Nominated
Faust Faust Peter Gorski Not nominated
The Miracle of Father Malachia Das Wunder des Malachias Bernhard Wicki Not nominated
It Es Ulrich Schamoni Not nominated
Young Törless Der junge Törless Volker Schlöndorff Not nominated
Tattoo Tätowierung Johannes Schaaf Not nominated
Artists Under the Big Top: Perplexed Die Artisten in der Zirkuskuppel: ratlos Alexander Kluge Not nominated
Hunting Scenes from Bavaria Jagdszenen aus Niederbayern Peter Fleischmann Not nominated
o.k. o.k. Michael Verhoeven Not nominated
The Castle Das Schloß Rudolf Noelte Not nominated
Trotta Trotta Johannes Schaaf Not nominated
The Pedestrian Der Fußgänger Maximilian Schell Nominated
One or the Other of Us Einer von uns beiden Wolfgang Petersen Not nominated
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle Werner Herzog Not nominated
The Clown[11] Ansichten eines Clowns Vojtěch Jasný Not nominated
The American Friend Der amerikanische Freund Wim Wenders Not nominated
The Glass Cell Die gläserne Zelle Hans W. Geißendörfer Nominated
The Tin Drum Die Blechtrommel Volker Schlöndorff Won Academy Award
Fabian Fabian Wolf Gremm Not nominated
Lili Marleen Lili Marleen Rainer Werner Fassbinder Not nominated
Fitzcarraldo Fitzcarraldo Werner Herzog Not nominated
A Woman in Flames Die flambierte Frau Robert van Ackeren Not nominated
Man Under Suspicion Morgen in Alabama Norbert Kückelmann Not nominated
Angry Harvest Bittere Ernte Agnieszka Holland Nominated
Men... Männer… Doris Dörrie Not nominated
Wings of Desire Der Himmel über Berlin Wim Wenders Not nominated
Yasemin Yasemin Hark Bohm Not nominated
Spider's Web Das Spinnennetz Bernhard Wicki Not nominated
The Nasty Girl Das schreckliche Mädchen Michael Verhoeven Nominated
Schtonk! Schtonk! Helmut Dietl Nominated
Justice Justiz Hans W. Geißendörfer Not nominated
The Promise Das Versprechen Margarethe von Trotta Not nominated
Brother of Sleep Schlafes Bruder Joseph Vilsmaier Not nominated
Deathmaker Der Totmacher Romuald Karmakar Not nominated
Beyond Silence Jenseits der Stille Caroline Link Nominated
Run Lola Run Lola rennt Tom Tykwer Not nominated
Aimée & Jaguar Aimée und Jaguar Max Färberböck Not nominated
No Place to Go Die Unberührbare Oskar Roehler Not nominated
The Experiment Das Experiment Oliver Hirschbiegel Not nominated
Nowhere in Africa Nirgendwo in Afrika Caroline Link Won Academy Award
Good Bye, Lenin! Good Bye, Lenin! Wolfgang Becker Not nominated
Downfall Der Untergang Oliver Hirschbiegel Nominated
Sophie Scholl – The Final Days Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage Marc Rothemund Nominated
The Lives of Others Das Leben der Anderen Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck Won Academy Award
The Edge of Heaven Auf der anderen Seite Fatih Akın Not nominated
The Baader Meinhof Complex Der Baader Meinhof Komplex Uli Edel Nominated
The White Ribbon[12] Das weiße Band Michael Haneke Nominated
When We Leave[13] Die Fremde Feo Aladag Not nominated[14]
Pina[15] Pina – Tanzt, tanzt sonst sind wir verloren Wim Wenders Made shortlist[16]
Barbara[17] Barbara Christian Petzold Not nominated
Two Lives[18] Zwei Leben Georg Maas Made shortlist[19]
Beloved Sisters[20] Die geliebten Schwestern Dominik Graf Not nominated
Labyrinth of Lies[21] Im Labyrinth des Schweigens Giulio Ricciarelli Made shortlist[22]
Toni Erdmann[23] Toni Erdmann Maren Ade Nominated[24]
In the Fade[25] Aus dem Nichts Fatih Akin Made shortlist[26]
Never Look Away[27] Werk ohne Autor Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck Nominated[28]
System Crasher[29] Systemsprenger Nora Fingscheidt Not nominated
And Tomorrow the Entire World[30] Und morgen die ganze Welt Julia von Heinz Not nominated
I'm Your Man[31] Ich bin dein Mensch Maria Schrader Made shortlist[32]
All Quiet on the Western Front[33] Im Westen Nichts Neues Edward Berger Won Academy Award
2023(96th) The Teachers' Lounge[34] Das Lehrerzimmer İlker Çatak TBD

East Germany

Film title used in nomination Original title Director Result
Her Third Der Dritte Egon Günther Not nominated
Jacob the Liar Jakob der Lügner Frank Beyer Nominated
Mama, I'm Alive Mama, ich lebe Konrad Wolf Not nominated
The Fiancee Die Verlobte Günter Reisch
Günther Rücker
Not nominated
The Turning Point Der Aufenthalt Frank Beyer Not nominated

Shortlisted Films

Every year since 2006, Germany has announced a list of finalists that varied in number over the years (from 4 to 17 films) before announcing its official Oscar nominee, except in the years 2008, 2009 and 2017 where an official list was not announced. The following films have been shortlisted by the Germany's selection committee:

See also


a^ : Several German films were nominated for or won Academy Awards in categories other than Best Foreign Language Film. Although it was never submitted by West Germany for competition in the Best Foreign Language Film category, the submarine film Das Boot by Wolfgang Petersen was nominated for six other Academy Awards, as it had been commercially released in Los Angeles County.[6] Nine German films were nominated in the documentary categories, but only Serengeti Shall Not Die (1959) by Bernhard Grzimek managed to win the Academy Award for Documentary Feature. The eight other nominated documentaries were: Kahl (1961) by Haro Senft, Chariots of the Gods (1970) by Harald Reinl, The Silent Revolution (1972) by Edouard de Laurot, Battle of Berlin (1973) by Franz Baake, The Yellow Star – The Persecution of the Jews in Europe 1933–45 (1980) by Dieter Hildebrandt, Marlene (1984) by Maximilian Schell, Buena Vista Social Club (1999) by Wim Wenders and The Story of the Weeping Camel (2004) by Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Falorni.[50]
Five non-documentary German short films won Academy Awards as well. The Academy Award for Animated Short Film was won by Christoph Lauenstein and Wolfgang Lauenstein for Balance in 1989, and by Tyron Montgomery and Thomas Stellmach for Quest in 1996. Two other German films were nominated for but did not win the Academy Award for Animated Short Film: The Periwig-Maker (2000) by Steffen Schäffler and Das Rad (2002) by Chris Stenner, Arvid Uibel and Heidi Wittlinger. The Academy Award for Live Action Short Film was won by Pepe Danquart for Black Rider (Schwarzfahrer) in 1993, by Florian Gallenberger for Quiero ser (I want to be...) in 2000 and by Jochen Alexander Freydank for Spielzeugland (Toyland) in 2008. Gregor's Greatest Invention by Johannes Kiefer was nominated for the Academy Award for Live Action Short Film in 2001 but lost.[51]
b^ : The committee which selects the German submission to the Academy is composed of the following nine associations:[10]
c^ : In 1991, the selection committee issued an official statement according to which no German film possessed the high quality to become a nominee.[52] Although Agnieszka Holland's film Europa Europa was critically acclaimed (winning prizes from the New York and Boston film critics, the National Board of Review, as well as a Golden Globe) and was at the time the second highest-grossing German film ever in the United States (after Das Boot), it was not chosen. This was widely criticized and prompted several prominent German filmmakers to write an open letter denouncing the selection panel's refusal to submit Europa Europa.[53] It was claimed that the committee did not choose the film due to its delicate subject matter (the story of a Jew who escaped persecution by the Nazis by masquerading as an Aryan). Members of the selection committee were reported to have unofficially said that the film was "junk" and "an embarrassment". It was also doubted whether the film would comply with Academy rules, as it was largely filmed in Poland and only partially produced with German financing.[52] Although Europa Europa was not submitted, it was commercially released in Los Angeles County and thus qualified for Academy Awards in other categories. It was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay but did not win.[54]
d^ : In 2009 the selection committee chose The White Ribbon as the official German submission. This has caused some controversy as well as confusion about the rules of the Academy, which would have accepted a submission from either Germany or Austria. Martin Schweighofer, head of the Austrian Film Commission, has expressed that he isn't happy with the decision: "The discomfort arises because of the vague rules of the Academy. In essential regards the film is Austrian." It has been reported that the American distributor, Sony Pictures Classics, pressured Germany to submit it rather than Austria for tactical reasons, since Austrian films have been nominated two years in a row with 2007's The Counterfeiters and 2008's Revanche.[55]
e1 2 3 : Each year is linked to an article about that particular year in film history.
  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]


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  2. ^ "Academy Announces Rule Changes For 92nd Oscars". Forbes. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
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  4. ^ a b "Foreign Language Film Facts". Academy Award Statistics. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. March 2009. Archived from the original on 13 June 2007. Retrieved 15 February 2008.
  5. ^ Baron, Lawrence (2005). Projecting the Holocaust into the Present: The Changing Focus of Contemporary Holocaust Cinema. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 155. ISBN 978-0-7425-4333-1. OCLC 60245614.
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  11. ^ NOTE: The film did not appear on the official AMPAS list
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  13. ^ "'When We Leave' is German Oscar submission". hollywoodreporter. Archived from the original on 20 September 2010. Retrieved 2 October 2010.
  14. ^ "9 Foreign Language Films Continue to Oscar Race". oscars.org. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
  15. ^ "Pina für Deutschland ins Oscar-Rennen". bild.de. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
  16. ^ "9 Foreign Language Films Vie for Oscar". Archived from the original on 18 May 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  17. ^ "Germany's Oscar entry is Christian Petzold's Barbara". Screendaily. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  18. ^ "'Two Lives' To Rep Germany in Foreign-Language Oscar Race". Deadline. 27 August 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  19. ^ "9 Foreign Language Films Advance in Oscar Race". Oscars. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  20. ^ "OSCARS: Germany Selects Dominik Graf's 'Beloved Sisters' as Academy Award Entry". Variety. 27 August 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  21. ^ Roxborough, Scott (27 August 2015). "Oscars: Germany Picks 'Labryinth of Lies' for Foreign Language Category". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
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  23. ^ Roxborough, Scott (25 August 2016). "Oscars: Germany Selects 'Toni Erdmann' for Foreign-Language Category". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  24. ^ "Oscars 2017: The full nominations". BBC News. 24 January 2017. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  25. ^ Mitchell, Robert (24 August 2017). "Fatih Akin's 'In the Fade' Selected as German Oscar Entry". Variety. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  26. ^ Pond, Steve (14 December 2017). "Oscars Foreign Language Shortlist Includes 'The Square,' 'A Fantastic Woman'". The Wrap. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  27. ^ Mitchell, Robert (30 August 2018). "Oscars: Germany Selects 'Never Look Away' as Foreign Language Entry". Variety. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  28. ^ "Oscars 2019: The nominees in full". BBC News. 22 January 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  29. ^ "Oscars: Germany Selects 'System Crasher' for International Feature Film Award". Variety. 21 August 2019. Retrieved 21 August 2019.
  30. ^ "Oscars 2021: And Tomorrow the Entire World to Enter the Race for Germany". German Films. 28 October 2020. Retrieved 28 October 2020.
  31. ^ Kaufmann, Nicole (15 September 2021). "Oscars 2022: "I'm Your Man" to enter the race for Germany". German Films. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  32. ^ Davis, Clayton (21 December 2021). "Oscars Shortlists Include Beyoncé, 'Spider-Man' and Two Jonny Greenwood Scores as France's 'Titane' Is Snubbed". Variety. Retrieved 21 December 2021.
  33. ^ Roxborough, Scott (24 August 2022). "Oscars: Germany Picks 'All Quiet on the Western Front' for 2023 Race". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 August 2022.
  34. ^ Blaney, Martin (23 August 2023). "​Germany picks Ilker Çatak's 'The Teachers' Lounge' as its international Oscar entry". Screen. Retrieved 27 August 2023. ((cite web)): zero width space character in |title= at position 1 (help)CS1 maint: url-status (link)
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  48. ^ "Til Schweiger will mit „Lieber Kurt" Oscar holen". Berliner Zeitung (in German). 16 August 2022. Retrieved 15 January 2023.
  49. ^ Roxborough, Scott (14 August 2023). "Oscars: 'Teachers' Lounge,' Wim Wenders' 'Anselm' on Germany's 2024 International Feature Shortlist". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 16 August 2023.
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  52. ^ a b Weinraub, Bernard (14 January 1992). "The Talk of Hollywood; Europa Surfaces in Oscar Angling". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 August 2008.
  53. ^ Weinraub, Bernard (28 January 1992). "German Film Makers Express Support for Europa". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 August 2008.
  54. ^ "Europa Europa (1991) – Awards". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. 2011. Archived from the original on 20 May 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2008.
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General references