Created By: gallium on February 3, 2014 Last Edited By: gallium on February 14, 2014

Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film

Index of winners of the Oscar for best foreign language film

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The Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film was first given out at the 20th Oscar ceremony in 1948. At the time it was a special award rather than a competitive award, given by the Academy to a film in a language other than English that was judged to be outstanding. Beginning with the 29th Academy Awards in 1957, the award was changed to a competitive award with a list of nominees that Academy members could vote on, and it has remained as such until this day.

The award for Best Foreign Language film has several rules for eligibility, some of which have been controversial:

  • Films produced in the United States are not eligible, even if they are largely or entirely in a language other than English. Thus Letters from Iwo Jima by Clint Eastwood was not eligible for a nomination despite being almost entirely in Japanese.
  • If a film has too much English dialogue, it is not eligible. The Band's Visit, a 2007 film submitted by Israel, was rejected by the Academy for including too much English. (Interestingly, films having no dialogue at all, such as 1983 nominee Le Bal, are eligible.)
  • Films must be submitted by the countries they are produced in, and countries are limited to one nominee each.
  • A film may be rejected if the country nominating it did not have sufficient artistic control over it. Lust, Caution, nominated by Taiwan, was rejected because the Academy judged the United States and mainland China to be too involved in the production.

Winners of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film are listed below. Films in languages other than English are eligible for other Oscars if they meet requirements, and nine foreign-language films (including Letters from Iwo Jima) have been nominated for Best Picture.

Winners, by year of eligibility and country of origin:

  • 1947: Shoe-Shine (Italy)
  • 1948: Monsieur Vincent (France)
  • 1949: The Bicycle Thief (Italy)
  • 1950: The Walls of Malapaga (France)
  • 1951: Rashomon (Japan)
  • 1952: Forbidden Games
  • 1953: no award
  • 1954: Gate of Hell (Japan)
  • 1955: Samurai, the Legend of Musashi (Japan)
  • 1956: La strada (Italy)
  • 1957: Nights of Cabiria (Italy)
  • 1958: Mon Oncle (France)
  • 1959: Black Orpheus (France)(in Portuguese)
  • 1960: The Virgin Spring (Sweden)
  • 1961: Through a Glass Darkly (Sweden)
  • 1962: Sundays and Cybele (France)
  • 1963: 8 (Italy)
  • 1964: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (Italy)
  • 1965: The Shop on Main Street (Czechoslovakia)
  • 1966: A Man and a Woman (France)
  • 1967: Closely Watched Trains (Czechoslovakia)
  • 1968: War and Peace (Soviet Union)
  • 1969: Z (Algeria)(in French)(also nominated for Best Picture)
  • 1970: Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (Italy)
  • 1971: The Garden of the Finzi Condinis (Italy)
  • 1972: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (France)
  • 1973: Day for Night (France)
  • 1974: Amarcord (Italy)
  • 1975: Dersu Uzala (Soviet Union)
  • 1976: Black and White in Color (Ivory Coast)(in French)
  • 1977: Madame Rosa (France)
  • 1978: Get Out Your Handkerchiefs (France)
  • 1979: The Tin Drum (West Germany)
  • 1980: Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears (Soviet Union)
  • 1981: Mephisto (Hungary)(in German)
  • 1982: Begin the Beguine (Spain)
  • 1983: Fanny and Alexander (Sweden)
  • 1984: Dangerous Moves (Switzerland)
  • 1985: The Official Story (Argentina)
  • 1986: The Assault (The Netherlands)
  • 1987: Babette's Feast (Denmark)
  • 1988: Pelle the Conqueror (Denmark)
  • 1989: Cinema Paradiso (Italy)
  • 1990: Journey of Hope (Switzerland)
  • 1991: Mediterraneo (Italy)
  • 1992: Indochine (France)
  • 1993: Belle Epoque (France)
  • 1994: Burnt by the Sun (Russia)
  • 1995: Antonia's Line (Netherlands)
  • 1996: Kolya (Czech Republic)
  • 1997: Character (Netherlands)
  • 1998: Life Is Beautiful (Italy)(also nominated for Best Picture)
  • 1999: All About My Mother (Spain)
  • 2000: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Taiwan)(also nominated for Best Picture)
  • 2001: No Man's Land (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • 2002: Nowhere in Africa (Germany)
  • 2003: The Barbarian Invasions (Canada)(in French)
  • 2004: The Sea Inside (Spain)
  • 2005: Tsotsi (South Africa)
  • 2006: The Lives of Others (Germany)
  • 2007: The Counterfeiters (Austria)
  • 2008: Departures (Japan)
  • 2009: The Secret in Their Eyes (Argentina)
  • 2010: In a Better World (Denmark)
  • 2011: A Separation (Iran)
  • 2012: Amour (France)(also nominated for Best Picture)
Community Feedback Replies: 7
  • February 3, 2014
    After watching Closely Watched Trains, it struck me that this would be a useful index. We have several indexes for films from different countries, but this could be sort of a master index of films not in English that are worthwhile viewing.
  • February 3, 2014
    I like the idea. I think it is legitimate.

    Which indexes would this index go under?
  • February 3, 2014
    sounds like a dupe of a The Other Wiki article. not sure about this one.
  • February 3, 2014
  • February 3, 2014
    About the Black Orpheus example: Portuguese is how it's written correctly (not Portugese).
  • February 3, 2014
    Feel free to correct my spelling as necessary!
  • February 14, 2014
    Neat idea! (I loved to read which film had inspired you. The book is even better. :-))