83 countries invited to submit foreign language films for Oscars

MUMBAI: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Ampas) in the US has invited 83 countries to submit films for consideration in the Foreign Language Film category for the 79th Academy Awards.

The Oscars will take place on 25 February, 2007, at the Kodak Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center. In the US it will air on ABC while in India it will air on Star Movies. To qualify for the 2006 awards year, a film must be released in the submitting country between 1 October, 2005 and 30 September, 2006 and be publicly screened in 35mm or 70mm film for at least seven consecutive days in a commercial motion picture theater.

The dialogue track must be predominantly in a language or languages other than English. Accurate English subtitles are required. Entry forms must be received at the Academy by 2 October, 2006, and film prints must be received by 13 October. Only one picture will be accepted from each country. Five films will be chosen.

Since the category’s establishment in 1956, 102 different countries have submitted films to compete for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. The 1956 award went to Italy for La Strada.Most recently, the South African film Tsotsi won the Oscar over a field of nominated films from France, Germany, Italy and the Palestinian Territories.

Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan will receive this year their first invitation to participate. The last time India featured was in 2001 when Lagaan was nominated. There have been cases when a film has not been nominated because it was not in the language of the submitting country.

An example was last year when Austria submitted Cache that some critics felt was the best foreign film of 2005. Unfortunately as the film was in French it was deemed ineligible. The director Michael Haneke is Austrian. Then there was the case of The Motorcycle Diaries in 2004. As it was a co-production between three countries no one country was willing to submit it.

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