The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released the official list of all the films eligible for nomination in this year's foreign-language Oscar category. There are entries from 63 countries, more than ever before, including first-time contributors Azerbaijan and Ireland. It is from this list of 63 films that the Academy's committee will choose the five actual nominees, to be announced with the other Oscar nominations on Jan. 22.

The complete list of entries is here, but here are some of the more interesting aspects:
  • Variety reports that Taiwan initially submitted Ang Lee's Lust, Caution, but the Academy nixed it, pointing out gently that apart from Ang Lee having been born there, Taiwan had no involvement in the production of the film. Taiwan was allowed to send its backup selection, Island Etude, instead.
  • As previously reported, Israel's entry, The Band's Visit, was disqualified for having too much English in it. It was expected that Israel would send Beaufort instead, and that's what they did.
  • The former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan has never submitted a movie before. This one, Caucasia, is not listed at IMDb, and neither is its director, Farid Gumbatov. Googling "caucasia" "farid gumbatov," the only results you get are other news stories reporting the Oscar entries. So at this point, we're basically taking the Academy's word for it that the movie even exists.
  • As Monika Bartyzel already reported, India's been in brouhaha locally over their submission, Eklavya: The Royal Guard. Seems the film was a flop in India, both at the box office and with critics, and there were whispers that India's selection committee only chose it because one of the committee members worked on the film as an editor, while two other members are friends with the director. There had been some talk of replacing it with a less controversial choice, but that didn't happen. Eklavya it is.
  • Ireland, you may well imagine, mostly produces films in English. But this film, Kings, is primarily in the Irish language, sometimes known as Gaelic, which our friend Wikipedia says about 41 percent of Irish people consider themselves competent in. See? We learn things at the Oscars!
categories Oscars, Cinematical