When the Oscar nominations are announced on Tuesday, January 24, 2012,
the category about which people won't care will likely be Best Foreign
Language Film. The category probably exists only to satisfy the Oscar
viewers who watch from around the world. The Academy Awards is broadcast
in tons of foreign countries, and the category probably gives people in
those nations something to root for.
Every year in October, the Academy invites countries to submit one film for consideration in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Sixty countries participated in 2011, and, from those sixty films, five nominees will be determined. Those nominees will get a significant amount of press and publicity in the United States, but what about the dozens that won't?
The list of all the submitted films vying to be one of the nominees was posted online on October 7th, 2011. Of the movie bloggers who posted this list, like Brad Brevet from the web site RopeOfSilicon.com, he admitted not having seen any of the titles on the list.
Some years back, Roger Ebert admitted not having seen the foreign films that were eventually nominated. Unless you're a person who attends every single, major film festival, which includes Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and Toronto, and unless you're a person who sees every single foreign film that plays in those places, it's unlikely that you'll even have heard of half the movies on the list.
Therefore, these dozens of films will simply fade into oblivion. It could be argued that some of them should. Some foreign films are best appreciated in their countries or cultures of origin. That being said, I can't help but wonder what great or interesting filmmaking is lost to me or to Americans in general every year.
I'll never be able to see all sixty movies that are potential Oscar nominees for Best Foreign Language Film, but, of the ones that are in the running, I've created a kind of wish list. Based on what little I've been able to gather of these movies from various lands, I've narrowed them down from 60 to 12. These 12 I feel might also be the crème de la crème, or at least the most fascinating.