U.S. films shifted to best film category

The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. has changed its award rules to allow foreign-language films from the U.S. to be eligible for best picture instead of best foreign-language film, starting with its 2009 awards derby.

With the change, U.S.-made foreign-language films will no longer be eligible for best foreign-language film, as the two awards are mutually exclusive.

Previously, U.S. films with at least 51% non-English dialogue were eligible for foreign kudos and all other Golden Globe awards, but not best picture nods.

“Since U.S.-based directors and producers are now making films in a foreign language with increasing frequency, the membership felt it was more equitable that these movies should compete in the best motion picture categories,” HFPA prez Jorge Camara said.

The rules will go into effect with the 2009 Golden Globe kudocast as HFPA members felt it was too late to change the rules for the 2008 awards with nominations just six weeks away.

Under the new rules, this year’s foreign-language nominees “Letters from Iwo Jima” and “Apocalypto” could have been eligible for best pic kudos instead. “Letters from Iwo Jima” ended up winning the foreign-language trophy.

“These two films certainly indicated a lot to us. We wanted to make the category more fair for foreign films,” Camara said.

Nov. 9 is the deadline for submissions for the 2008 Golden Globes Awards.

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