The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has invited the film industries of various countries to submit their best film for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film every year since the award was created in 1956.[1] The award is handed out annually by the Academy to a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States that contains primarily non-English dialogue.[1][2] The Foreign Language Film Award Committee oversees the process and reviews all the submitted films.[2]

For the 81st Academy Awards, the Academy invited 96 countries to submit films for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.[3] Only one film was accepted from each country, and the deadline by which copies of all submitted films must be sent to the Academy was October 1, 2008.[2] The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released its official list of submissions on October 17, 2008.[4] Submission of a film does not mean automatic qualification for competition: the Academy has the final word on eligibility and has in the past disqualified several submissions.

The Oscar Foreign Film Committee began screening the foreign film entries on October 17, 2008. A shortlist of nine semi-finalists was announced January 13, 2009.[5] Due to a new rule, only six films on the shortlist were decided based on the votes of the at-large committee. The other three were selected by the Academy's foreign film executive committee.[5][6]

The official nominees were announced on January 22, 2009.[7] The winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film was Japan's Departures.[8]


The following is based upon the official list by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.[4][5]

Submitting country Film title used in nomination Original title Language(s) Director(s) Result
 Afghanistan Opium War Opium War Dari, English Siddiq Barmak Not nominated
 Albania The Sorrow of Mrs. Schneider Trishtimi i zonjës Shnajder Albanian, Czech Eno Milkani and Piro Milkani Not nominated
 Algeria Masquerades Mascarades Algerian Arabic, French Lyes Salem Not nominated
 Argentina Lion's Den Leonera Spanish Pablo Trapero Not nominated
 Austria Revanche Revanche German Götz Spielmann Nominated
 Azerbaijan Fortress Qala Azeri Shamil Nacafzade Not nominated
 Bangladesh Aha! আহা! Bengali Enamul Karim Nirjhar Not nominated
 Belgium Eldorado Eldorado French Bouli Lanners Not nominated
 Bosnia and Herzegovina Snow Snijeg Bosnian Aida Begić Not nominated
 Brazil Last Stop 174 Última Parada 174 Portuguese Bruno Barreto Not nominated
 Bulgaria Zift Дзифт Bulgarian Javor Gardev Not nominated
 Canada The Necessities of Life Ce qu'il faut pour vivre
French, Inuktitut Benoît Pilon Made shortlist
 Chile Tony Manero Tony Manero Spanish Pablo Larraín Not nominated
 China Dream Weavers: Beijing 2008 筑梦 Mandarin Yun Gu Not nominated
 Colombia Dog Eat Dog Perro come Perro Spanish Carlos Moreno Not nominated
 Croatia No One's Son Ničiji Sin Croatian Arsen Anton Ostojić Not nominated
 Czech Republic The Karamazovs Karamazovi Czech, Polish Petr Zelenka Not nominated
 Denmark Worlds Apart To verdener Danish Niels Arden Oplev Not nominated
 Egypt The Island الجزيرة Egyptian Arabic Sherif Arafa Not nominated
 Estonia I Was Here Mina olin siin. Esimene arest Estonian René Vilbre Not nominated
 Finland The Home of Dark Butterflies Tummien perhosten koti Finnish Dome Karukoski Not nominated
 France The Class Entre les murs
French Laurent Cantet Nominated
 Georgia Mediator Mediator German, Russian, English Dito Tsintsadze Not nominated
 Germany The Baader Meinhof Complex Der Baader Meinhof Komplex German Uli Edel Nominated
 Greece Correction Διόρθωση Greek Thanos Anastopoulos Not nominated
 Hong Kong Painted Skin 畫皮 Mandarin Gordon Chan Not nominated
 Hungary Iska's Journey Iszka utazása Hungarian Csaba Bollók Not nominated
 Iceland White Night Wedding Brúðguminn Icelandic Baltasar Kormákur Not nominated
 India Like Stars on Earth Taare Zameen Par
तारे ज़मीन पर
Hindi Aamir Khan Not nominated
 Iran The Song of Sparrows آواز گنجشکها Persian Majid Majidi Not nominated
 Israel Waltz with Bashir ואלס עם באשיר Hebrew Ari Folman Nominated
 Italy Gomorra Gomorra Neapolitan Matteo Garrone Not nominated
 Japan Departures おくりびと Japanese Yōjirō Takita Won Academy Award
 Jordan Captain Abu Raed كابتن أبو رائد Jordanian Arabic Amin Matalqa Not nominated
 Kazakhstan Tulpan Тюльпан Kazakh Sergey Dvortsevoy Not nominated
 Kyrgyzstan Heaven's Blue Тенгри Kyrgyz Marie-Jaoul de Ponchville Not nominated
 Latvia Defenders of Riga Rīgas sargi Latvian Aigars Grauba Not nominated
 Lebanon Under the Bombs Sous les Bombes
تحت القصف
Lebanese Arabic, French Philippe Aractingi Not nominated
 Lithuania Loss Nereikalingi žmonės Lithuanian Māris Martinsons Not nominated
 Luxembourg Nuits d'Arabie Nuits d'Arabie French, Letzebuergesch Paul Kieffer Not nominated
North Macedonia Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia I'm From Titov Veles Јас сум од Титов Велес Macedonian Teona Strugar-Mitevska Not nominated
 Mexico Tear This Heart Out Arráncame la vida Spanish Roberto Sneider Made shortlist
 Morocco Goodbye Mothers Adieu Mères French, Moroccan Arabic Mohamed Ismail Not nominated
 Netherlands Dunya and Desi Dunya en Desi in Marokko Dutch, Moroccan Arabic Dana Nechushtan Not nominated
 Norway O' Horten O' Horten Norwegian Bent Hamer Not nominated
 Palestine Salt of this Sea ملح هذا البحر Palestinian Arabic Annemarie Jacir Not nominated
 Philippines Ploning Ploning Cuyonon, Filipino, Tagalog, Taiwanese Dante Nico Garcia Not nominated
 Poland Tricks Sztuczki Polish Andrzej Jakimowski Not nominated
 Portugal Our Beloved Month of August Aquele Querido Mês de Agosto Portuguese Miguel Gomes Not nominated
 Romania The Rest is Silence Restul e tăcere Romanian Nae Caranfil Not nominated
 Russia Mermaid Русалка Russian Anna Melikyan Not nominated
 Serbia The Tour Turneja Serbian Goran Marković Not nominated
 Singapore My Magic My Magic Tamil Eric Khoo Not nominated
 Slovakia Blind Loves Slepé lásky Slovak Juraj Lehotsky Not nominated
 Slovenia Rooster's Breakfast Petelinji zajtrk Slovene Marko Naberšnik Not nominated
 South Africa Jerusalema Jerusalema Afrikaans, English, Zulu, Xhosa Ralph Ziman Not nominated
 South Korea Crossing 크로싱 Korean Kim Tae-kyun Not nominated
 Spain The Blind Sunflowers Los girasoles ciegos
Spanish José Luis Cuerda Not nominated
 Sweden Everlasting Moments Maria Larssons eviga ögonblick Swedish Jan Troell Made shortlist
  Switzerland The Friend Der Freund Swiss German Micha Lewinsky Not nominated
 Taiwan Cape No. 7 海角七號 Taiwanese, Japanese, Mandarin Wei Te-sheng Not nominated
 Thailand Love of Siam รักแห่งสยาม Thai Chookiat Sakveerakul Not nominated
 Turkey Three Monkeys Üç Maymun Turkish Nuri Bilge Ceylan Made shortlist
 Ukraine The Illusion of Fear Ілюзія страху Ukrainian Aleksandr Kirienko Not nominated
 United Kingdom Hope Eternal Hope Eternal Welsh, Bemba, Swahili, French, German, English Karl Francis Not nominated
 Uruguay Kill Them All [es] Matar a Todos Spanish Esteban Schroeder Not nominated
 Venezuela The Color of Fame El tinte de la fama Spanish Alejandro Bellame Not nominated

Not submitting

Bolivia[9] and Puerto Rico,[10] formally announced at the end of September that they would not be participating in this year's competition.

Vietnam's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism launched an open call for films to represent the country, but only received one entry - Vuong Duc's Rừng đen (Black Forest). On September 29, the Ministry decided not to send any film since Forest did not meet Oscar requirements to have run one consecutive week in a commercial cinema.[11]

Among the around 30 other countries invited, only six - Australia, Cuba, Indonesia, Iraq, Nepal and Peru - have had films accepted to the competition three or more times in the last ten years.[12][clarification needed]

Other Notes

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that a "record 67-strong" list of films were submitted for the competition.[13] The Middle Eastern kingdom of Jordan submitted a film for the first time[14] and Latvia returned to the competition after a 15-year absence.[15] In addition, the South Korean submission Crossing was initially in question when it was accused of plagiarism by a rival writer. The Korean Film Council said it would select another submission if Crossing was found guilty, but the case was ultimately dismissed and the film was retained.[16]

See also


  1. ^ a b "History of the Academy Awards - Page 2". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 2008-06-22. Retrieved 2008-06-23.
  2. ^ a b c "Special Rules for the Best Foreign Language Film Award". 81st Academy Awards Rules for Distinguished Achievements in 2008. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on September 15, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
  3. ^ "96 Countries to Receive Entry Forms for 2008 Foreign Language Film Oscar" (Press release). Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 2008-06-24. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
  4. ^ a b "67 Countries Vying for 2008 Foreign Language Film Oscar". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 2007-10-17. Archived from the original on 2014-09-05. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
  5. ^ a b c "9 Foreign Language Films Advance in 2008 Oscar Race". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. January 13, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-14.
  6. ^ "Wide-open foreign-film Oscar race begins". Los Angeles Times. 2008-10-16. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
  7. ^ "General Timetable of the 81st Academy Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 2008-08-22. Retrieved 2008-08-23.
  8. ^ "2009 Oscar scorecard". Los Angeles Times. 2009-02-22. Retrieved 2009-02-22.
  9. ^ "Bolivia no presentará candidatura a Óscar porque filmes no cumplen requisitos". Yahoo Espanol. 2008-09-27. Retrieved 2008-09-30.[dead link]
  10. ^ "Puerto Rico no propondrá película para la edición de este año de los Óscar". Yahoo Argentina. 2008-09-29. Archived from the original on 2012-07-08. Retrieved 2008-09-30.
  11. ^ "Vietnam has no Oscar nominee". VietnamNet Bridge. Archived from the original on October 6, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
  12. ^ Press Releases October 17, 2007, October 19, 2006, October 25, 2005, October 22, 2004, October 20, 2003, December 2, 2002, November 19, 2001, November 20, 2000, November 22, 1999, November 24, 1998
  13. ^ "Record 67 films enter Oscars foreign film race". AFP. 2008-10-17. Archived from the original on 2008-10-22. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
  14. ^ "Jordan has first film to compete for Oscar". Xinhua News Agency. 2008-09-05. Retrieved 2008-09-27.
  15. ^ "Latvija in brief - 2008-10-15". The Baltic Times. 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2008-10-16.
  16. ^ Sunhee, Han (2008-08-07). "S. Korea picks Crossing for Oscars". Variety. Retrieved 2008-08-23.