New selections from Taiwan and Israel were among the record 63 entries for the foreign-language Oscar that include pics from first-timers Azerbaijan and Ireland.
Submissions from each country were due Oct. 1. Since then, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has been reviewing the entries to see if they meet qualifications.
AMPAS topper Bruce Davis said that Taiwan’s initial selection was the much-praised Focus Features release “Lust, Caution,” from the Taiwan-born Ang Lee, but the Acad’s reviewing committed decided there wasn’t enough Taiwanese participation on the pic. Taiwan was allowed to substitute “Island Etude,” directed by Chen Huai-En.
Similarly, Israel has submitted “Beaufort” instead of “The Band’s Visit,” which the Acad deemed ineligible because more than 50% of the dialogue is in English. Directed by Joseph Cedar, “Beaufort” was the runner-up at the Israel Academy’s Ophir Awards last month.
The disqualification of “The Band’s Visit” drew a mixed reaction from Israelis as supporters tried to appeal to the Acad while others said the Israeli Academy should have foreseen the result given the extent of English-language dialogue in the pic. The Acad’s rules for the foreign-language category stipulate that entries must be predominantly in a language other than English.
Selection of India’s entry, “Eklavya: The Royal Guard,” had been embroiled in a lawsuit. Bhavna Talwar, producer of “Dharm,” one of the country’s finalists, sued in a Mumbai court alleging conflict of interest because one of the selection committee members was an editor on “The Making of Eklavya” while two others were friends of director Vidhu Vinod Chopra. The judge will hear that case today, but it is unlikely to have any bearing on the Oscar race. The Acad has accepted the Hindi “Eklavya,” starring Bollywood stalwart Amitabh Bachchan.
“We never had a problem with that film,” Davis said. “After we took it in, there was a flap in India.”
Meanwhile, in the U.K., producer Chris Young resigned his BAFTA membership because that org didn’t send his Scot Gaelic “Searchd” to the Academy.
Among unusual entrants in this field, Australia sent in “The Home Song Stories,” directed by Tony Ayres with dialogue in English, Mandarin and Cantonese.
“It’s part of the Chinese subculture in Australia,” Davis said, pointing to other films Oz has sent in the foreign-language category, including pics in aboriginal languages and Spanish.
Azerbaijan submitted “Caucasia,” directed by Farid Gumbatov, while Ireland entered the Gaelic-language “Kings,” directed by Tom Collins and starring Colm Meaney.
A full list follows:
- Argentina, “XXY,” Lucia Puenzo
- Australia, “The Home Song Stories,” Tony Ayres
- Austria, “The Counterfeiters,” Stefan Ruzowitzky
- Azerbaijan, “Caucasia,” Farid Gumbatov
- Bangladesh, “On the Wings of Dreams,” Golam Rabbany Biplob
- Belgium, “Ben X,” Nic Balthazar
- Bosnia and Herzegovina, “It’s Hard to Be Nice,” Srdan Vuletic
- Brazil, “The Year My Parents Went on Vacation,” Cao Hamburger
- Bulgaria, “Warden of the Dead,” Ilian Simeonov
- Canada, “Days of Darkness,” Denys Arcand
- Chile, “Padre Nuestro,” Rodrigo Sepulveda
- China, “The Knot,” Yin Li
- Colombia, “Satanas,” Andi Baiz
- Croatia, “Armin,” Ognjen Svilicic
- Cuba, “The Silly Age,” Pavel Giroud
- Czech Republic, “I Served the King of England,” Jiri Menzel
- Denmark, “The Art of Crying,” Peter Schonau Fog
- Egypt, “In the Heliopolis Flat,” Mohamed Khan
- Estonia, “The Class,” Ilmar Raag
- Finland, “A Man’s Job,” Aleksi Salmenpera
- France, “Persepolis,” Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud
- Georgia, “The Russian Triangle,” Aleko Tsabadze
- Germany, “The Edge of Heaven,” Fatih Akin
- Greece, “Eduart,” Angeliki Antoniou
- Hong Kong, “Exiled,” Johnnie To
- Hungary, “Taxidermia,” Gyorgy Palfi
- Iceland, “Jar City,” Baltasar Kormakur
- India, “Eklavya — The Royal Guard,” Vidhu Vinod Chopra
- Indonesia, “Denias, Singing on the Cloud,” John De Rantau
- Iran, “M for Mother,” Rasoul Mollagholipour
- Iraq, “Jani Gal,” Jamil Rostami
- Ireland, “Kings,” Tom Collins
- Israel, “Beaufort,” Joseph Cedar
- Italy, “The Unknown,” Giuseppe Tornatore
- Japan, “I Just Didn’t Do It,” Masayuki Suo
- Kazakhstan, “Mongol,” Sergei Bodrov
- Korea, “Secret Sunshine,” Chang-dong Lee
- Lebanon, “Caramel,” Nadine Labaki
- Luxembourg, “Little Secrets,” Pol Cruchten
- Macedonia, “Shadows,” Milcho Manchevski
- Mexico, “Silent Light,” Carlos Reygadas
- The Netherlands, “Duska,” Jos Stelling
- Norway, “Gone With the Woman,” Petter Naess
- Peru, “Crossing a Shadow,” Augusto Tamayo
- Philippines, “Donsol,” Adolfo Alix Jr.
- Poland, “Katyn,” Andrzej Wajda
- Portugal, “Belle Toujours,” Manoel de Oliveira
- Puerto Rico, “Love Sickness,” Carlitos Ruiz, Mariem Perez
- Romania, “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” Cristian Mungiu
- Russia, “12,” Nikita Mikhalkov
- Serbia, “The Trap,” Srdan Golubovic
- Singapore, “881,” Royston Tan,
- Slovakia, “Return of the Storks,” Martin Repka
- Slovenia, “Short Circuits,” Janez Lapajne
- Spain, “The Orphanage,” J.A. Bayona
- Sweden, “You, the Living,” Roy Andersson
- Switzerland, “Late Bloomers,” Bettina Oberli
- Taiwan, “Island Etude,” Chen Huai-En
- Thailand, “King of Fire,” Chatrichalerm Yukol
- Turkey, “A Man’s Fear of God,” Ozer Kiziltan
- Uruguay, “The Pope’s Toilet,” Enrique Fernandez, Cesar Charlone
- Venezuela, “Postcards From Leningrad,” Mariana Rondon
- Vietnam, “The White Silk Dress,” Luu Huynh
The nominations will be announced Jan. 22. ABC will air the Feb. 24 Oscarcast.