Record number of foreign language films compete for Oscars 2018

October 11, 2017
Record number of foreign language films compete for Oscars 2018

The glitz and glamour of the Oscars is always one of the most exciting times of year for the film industry. The 90th Academy Awards will take place on 4 March 2018. However, preparation for the 2018 Oscars begins well before that date. In fact, the date for submissions into several categories has already passed, including that for Best Foreign Language Film, for which entries had to be in by 2 October 2017.

Record numbers

This year, a record number of films have been entered, with the Academy selecting 92 films in total for its long-list of Best Foreign Language Film contenders. Over the coming months, that long-list will be whittled down to a short-list of nine films, then to the final five nominations. Those five films will be announced on 23 January 2018. 

Some of the early tips for those final five nominations include Sweden’s The Square, which won the Palme d’Or thanks to its fabulously satirical plot. The action focuses around the public relations team trying to build a reputation for a Swedish museum – with hilarious results. 

German-language film In The Fade is another strong contender, having already earned star Diane Kruger the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival. The film follows the quest of a woman seeking legal justice after the death of her husband and son at the hands of neo-Nazis. 

Angelina Jolie’s Cambodian-language film, First They Killed My Father, is also in with a shot. The troubling tale follows the events of the Khmer Rouge assuming power in Cambodia in 1975 through the story of child soldier Loung Ung. 

Lebanon’s The Insult is also tipped for big things. The film shows how a minor incident can quickly escalate when it comes to religious and cultural divisions, with two communities ultimately divided by an interaction between a Lebanese Christian and a Palestinian refugee. 

There are plenty of other excellent contenders and the judges will be hard-pushed to narrow the list down to just five films by the January deadline. 

Voting changes

The voting system for Best Foreign Language Film has undergone some changes in the past year, thanks to new Academy president John Bailey. Bailey has long been passionate about this particular Oscar, having served on the foreign language committee for many years. He has simplified the voting system, which will see members from all 17 Academy branches attend screenings in LA to compare the contenders. 

Film industry experts, including marketing executives, distribution executives and publicists affiliated with the films being considered, are now also eligible to vote. Their industry knowledge is expected to be invaluable in arriving at the shortlist of nine films, then at the final five nominations.  

Oscars 2017 – Best Foreign Language Film

For those who missed the hype, The Salesman was the winner of the 2017 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. The Persian-language film follows the tale of a young couple living in Tehran, Iran. Simmering tensions are evoked when violence erupts after the couple move house, making this a particularly compelling film to watch. 

Oscars 2018 – Best Foreign Language Film

There’s still a long way to go before the final nominations are announced for the 2018 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. However, the film industry – and of course the professional translation community – is already awash with excitement about who the frontrunners will be and, of course, who will ultimately take home the prestigious award. 

Final thoughts

Which film do you think is deserving of the 2018 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film? What is it that makes that movie stand out from all the other contenders? Share your thoughts via the comments. 

By Ofer Tirosh

Ofer Tirosh is the founder and CEO of Tomedes, a language technology and translation company that supports business growth through a range of innovative localization strategies. He has been helping companies reach their global goals since 2007.



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