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Foreign Film Oscar a mess

Oscar.jpgThe Academy Awards for best foreign language film do just that, celebrate a film from outside the United States that has its dialogue spoken in non-English. Isn't that a little unfair? Well the Academy thought so and have tried to fix it.

Some time ago I wrote about how the Academy rules for Foreign Film were really quite narrow minded and restrictive, and last year resulted in a film from Singapore called Be With Me, which was made entirely out with the US was excluded from the category because the characters spoke English throughout the film.

Another exclusion last year was an Italian film Private which was spoken in Hebrew and Arabic, why? Well the language spoken wasn't the native language of where the film came from. Insane isn't it?

Well now it appears the Academy have seen sense and attempted to sort that particular Oscar category. The news comes from Backstage.com:

...entries submitted in the category no longer must be in the official language of the country submitting the film. As long as the dominant language is not English, a picture from any country may be in any language or combination of languages.

Well that addresses the issue with the Italian film above, but surely the film from Singapore should be eligible? It was written, produced, directed, scored and edited outside the US with non-US talent and employees throughout, the only difference is they chose English to perhaps make it more marketable. Isn't that still a foreign film?

Amazingly last year the BAFTA's have a similar ruling, in that the film has to be predominantly non-English spoken. Isn't that unfair? Shouldn't a category for foreign film take into account a lot more than just the final spoken language? A step in the right direction perhaps, but not far enough.



There's a new film just come out here in Australia called Ten Canoes, which is filmed entirely in Aboriginal dialect. Wonder how the Academy would cope with that if it were entered in the foreign film category, given that Australia is a foreign country but English is also the official language of the country, just not of the film...

That would really confuse them. I don't see that they've thought this category through properly. It should be to any movie entirely made in a foreign industry.


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