Tally of submissions reaches 71

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Above: France’s Oscar choice was crowdpleaser “The Intouchables” from Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache.

Amid defending champion Iran’s withdrawal from the competition, a record 71 countries have submitted films for the foreign-language category at February’s 85th annual Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences confirmed.

First-time entries from countries such as Kenya (director Tosh Gitonga’s “Nairobi Half Life”) helped push the foreign-language tally past its previous record of 67.

The final nations reported to enter the race were Kyrgyzstan (“The Empty Home,” Nurbek Egen), Malaysia (“Bunohan,” Dain Iskandar Said) and Singapore (“Already Famous,” Michelle Chong).

In the overall field, among the noteworthy submissions is “Amour,” the Cannes Palme d’Or winner set in France but entered by Austria on behalf of director Michael Haneke. (For its part, France went with crowdpleaser “The Intouchables” from Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache.) “Amour” has been frequently cited as a contender for Oscar nominations in all major categories.

The category’s most recent winner, Asghar Farhadi’s “A Separation,” also earned an Oscar original screenplay nom. However, Iran announced in late September it would not enter its 2012 selection, Reza Mirkarimi dramedy “A Cube of Sugar,” in protest against the made-in-U.S. anti-Islam video that riled the globe.

Other past participants choosing to sit out this year were Cuba, Egypt, Ireland, Lebanon and New Zealand. Meanwhile, Cambodia is making its first entry in 18 years with “Lost Loves” from Chhay Bora.

Some distinct themes have emerged among the submissions, not the least of which is war and its domino effect. Working in this territory are Afghanistan’s “The Patience Stone,” Algeria’s “Zabana!” Argentina’s “Clandestine Childhood”, Armenia’s “If Only Everyone,” Australia’s “Lore,” Bosnia and Herzegovina’s “Children of Sarajevo,” Canada’s “War Witch,” Kazakhstan’s “Myn Bala: Warriors of the Steppe,” Ukraine’s “Firecrosser” and Vietnam’s “The Scent of Burning Grass.”

Children are also central figures in several of the stories, such as Azerbaijan’s “Buta,” Bangladesh’s “Pleasure Boy Komola,” Belgium’s “Our Children,” Bulgaria’s “Sneakers,” Greenland’s “Inuk,” Mexico’s “After Lucia,” the Netherlands’ “Kauwboy,” Palestine’s “When I Saw You,” Peru’s “The Bad Intentions,” Slovakia’s “Made in Ash,” Switzerland’s “Sister,” Uruguay’s “The Delay” and Venezuela’s “Rock, Paper, Scissors.”

Below is the full list of submissions and their directors:

Afghanistan, “The Patience Stone,” Atiq Rahimi

Albania, “Pharmakon,” Joni Shanaj

Algeria, “Zabana!” Said Ould Khelifa

Argentina, “Clandestine Childhood,” Benjamín Ávila

Armenia, “If Only Everyone,” Natalia Belyauskene

Australia, “Lore,” Cate Shortland

Austria, “Amour,” Michael Haneke

Azerbaijan, “Buta,” Ilgar Najaf

Bangladesh, “Pleasure Boy Komola,” Humayun Ahmed

Belgium, “Our Children,” Joachim Lafosse

Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Children of Sarajevo,” Aida Begic

Brazil, “The Clown,” Selton Mello

Bulgaria, “Sneakers,” Valeri Yordanov and Ivan Vladimirovs

Cambodia, “Lost Loves,” Chhay Bora

Canada, “War Witch,” Kim Nguyen

Chile, “No,” Pablo Larraín

China, “Caught in the Web,” Chen Kaige

Colombia, “The Snitch Cartel,” Carlos Moreno

Croatia, “Vegetarian Cannibal,” Branko Schmidt

Czech Republic, “In the Shadow,” David Ondrícek

Denmark, “A Royal Affair,” Nikolaj Arcel

Dominican Republic, “Jaque Mate,” José María Cabral

Estonia, “Mushrooming,” Toomas Hussar

Finland, “Purge,” Antti J. Jokinen

France, “The Intouchables,” Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledanos

Georgia, “Keep Smiling,” Rusudan Chkonia

Germany, “Barbara,” Christian Petzold

Greece, “Unfair World,” Filippos Tsitos

Greenland, “Inuk,” Mike Magidson

Hong Kong, “Life without Principle,” Johnnie To

Hungary, “Just the Wind,” Bence Fliegauf

Iceland, “The Deep,” Baltasar Kormákur

India, “Barfi!” Anurag Basu

Indonesia, “The Dancer,” Ifa Isfansyah

Israel, “Fill the Void,” Rama Burshtein

Italy, “Caesar Must Die,” Paolo Taviani and Vittorio Tavianis

Japan, “Our Homeland,” Yang Yonghi

Kazakhstan, “Myn Bala: Warriors of the Steppe,” Akan Satayev

Kenya, “Nairobi Half Life,” David ‘Tosh’ Gitonga

Kyrgyzstan, “The Empty Home,” Nurbek Egen

Latvia, “Gulf Stream under the Iceberg,” Yevgeny Pashkevich

Lithuania, “Ramin,” Audrius Stonys

Macedonia, “The Third Half,” Darko Mitrevski

Malaysia, “Bunohan,” Dain Iskandar Said

Mexico, “After Lucia,” Michel Franco

Morocco, “Death for Sale,” Faouzi Bensaïdi

Netherlands, “Kauwboy,” Boudewijn Koole

Norway, “Kon-Tiki,” Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandbergs

Palestine, “When I Saw You,” Annemarie Jacir

Peru, “The Bad Intentions,” Rosario García-Montero

Philippines, “Bwakaw,” Jun Robles Lana

Poland, “80 Million,” Waldemar Krzystek

Portugal, “Blood of My Blood,” João Canijo

Romania, “Beyond the Hills,” Cristian Mungiu

Russia, “White Tiger,” Karen Shakhnazarov

Serbia, “When Day Breaks,” Goran Paskaljevic

Singapore, “Already Famous,” Michelle Chong

Slovak Republic, “Made in Ash,” Iveta Grofova

Slovenia, “A Trip,” Nejc Gazvoda

South Africa, “Little One,” Darrell James Roodt

South Korea, “Pieta,” Kim Ki-duk

Spain, “Blancanieves,” Pablo Berger

Sweden, “The Hypnotist,” Lasse Hallström

Switzerland, “Sister,” Ursula Meier

Taiwan, “Touch of the Light,” Chang Jung-Chi

Thailand, “Headshot,” Pen-ek Ratanaruang

Turkey, “Where the Fire Burns,” Ismail Gunes

Ukraine, “The Firecrosser,” Mykhailo Illienko

Uruguay, “The Delay,” Rodrigo Plá

Venezuela, “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” Hernán Jabes

Vietnam, “The Scent of Burning Grass,” Nguyen Huu Muoi.

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