No More ‘Foreign Language’ Oscars

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors has approved Oscars rules for the 92nd Academy Awards, including changing the Foreign Language Film category to International Feature Film.

Roma received ten nominations at last year’s Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It became the first Mexican entry to win Best Foreign Language Film and was also the first foreign language film to win for Best Director, Alfonso Cuarón.

“We have noted that the reference to ‘Foreign’ is outdated within the global filmmaking community,” commented Larry Karaszewski and Diane Weyermann, co-chairs of the International Feature Film Committee. “We believe that International Feature Film better represents this category, and promotes a positive and inclusive view of filmmaking, and the art of film as a universal experience.”

According to the Academy, “The category name change does not change any existing category rules, the submission process, or eligibility requirements. An international feature film is defined as a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States of America with a predominantly non-English dialogue track. Animated and documentary feature films are permitted. Only one film is accepted from each country as the official selection.”

In addition, the shortlist for the International Feature Film award is expanding to ten films; seven to be chosen by the Phase I International Feature Film Committee, and the additional three to be voted by the International Feature Film Award Executive Committee.

The nomination of Netflix’s Spanish-language movie, Roma, in last year’s Best Picture category caused disagreement among Academy members not so much because of its language medium, but because some Academy members, including director Steven Spielberg, believe that only movies on general release should be eligible for awards. Roma complied with Academy rules by showing for a few weeks in Los Angeles before being available for streaming on Netflix

The complete 92nd Academy Awards rules are available at oscars.org/rules.

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