44 foreign pix vie for Oscar

From Macedonia to Mexico, and from Thailand to Turkey, 44 countries have submitted films for consideration in the category of best foreign language film for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 70th Annual Oscar race. The entries are vying to become one of the five nominees for the Academy Award.

Four of the entrants have never submitted films before: Democratic Republic of Congo, Luxembourg, South Africa and Ukraine. Last year, 39 countries entered the competition. The record for submissions to the best foreign language title — 45 entries — was set in 1994.

Two of this year’s submissions are animated pictures: Croatia’s “The Little Shoemaker,” and Japan’s “Princess Mononoke. And two films have multiple directors: “The Debt,” from Columbia, lists two helmers, and “Cosmos,” from Canada, credits six directors.

The Academy’s foreign language film award committee, chaired by Fay Kanin with Nina Foch as vice chair, will screen all entries beginning Dec. 3 before voting to nominate the five semifinalists.

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