Sixty years after the category was introduced, there remains an air of colonialism about the Best Foreign Language Film Award, as defined by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (that's the Oscar people to you and me). The first eight awards -- starting with Vittorio De Sica's Shoeshine in 1947 -- were honorary. Beginning in 1956, the award became competitive (Fellini's La Strada was the victor in the first battle). Wikipedia has a nicely formatted list of winners and nominees.

As stated in the Academy's Rule Fourteen, "a foreign language film is defined as a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States of America with a predominantly non-English dialogue track. ... Every country shall be invited to submit its best film to the Academy. ... Only one picture will be accepted from each country." The emphasis, in bold, is the Academy's, a reminder that all nations are equal, no matter how many or how few films are produced locally. The submission must be released theatrically in its respective country between October 1, 2006 and September 30, 2007, and sent to the Academy no later than October 1.

Perhaps fearful that their entry would be lost in the mail, the Netherlands has submitted early and is now first in line. According to,Duska (website;more photos) is a tragicomedy about "a middle-aged film critic (Gene Bervoets), who is secretly in love with the pretty ticket seller at the local cinema (Sylvia Hoeks)." I've developed mad tragicomic crushes on theater workers before -- hello, Alamo Drafthouse ladies and Fantastic Fest volunteers! -- so, based strictly on subject matter, I say let's give the Oscar to Duska and all go home. Happily for everybody, no one listens to me, so expect plenty more news in the next couple of months as dozens of countries select their entries for the world's most expensive beauty pageant.

[ Via Movie City News ]
categories Oscars, Cinematical