A few interesting things to note:
- There are two first-time submitters this year: Greenland, which submitted Nuummioq, and Ethiopia, which submitted The Athlete.
- Australia, who was a finalist last year for Samson & Delilah, chose not to submit this year.
- There's an overwhelming number of Spanish-language films on the list: last year saw two Latin American nominees, Peru's The Milk of Sorrow and Argentina's winning The Secret in Their Eyes. Could the language dominate the nominees again this year?
This is out of pure speculation, based on what voters usually go for here as well as the history of the category, but here's my bold predictions for the category this year:
- Of Gods and Men, France (France is the most nominated country of all time. They're a safe bet.)
- Biutiful, Mexico (The film is directed by Alejandro Gonzalez-Inarritu, who was nominated here in 2000 for Amores Perros and is an Academy favorite, with a Best Director nomination for Babel in 2006. It won star Javier Bardem the Best Actor prize at Cannes this year.)
- If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle, Romania (One of these days, they're going to recognize the criminally never-nominated Romania. With over five years of building momentum, this seems like a good year.)
- Incendies, Canada (This film tackles Middle Eastern politics, which always plays well with the Academy. It's also received great reviews on the festival circuit.)
- Aftershocks, China (This is China's first IMAX film. Though China doesn't have an illustrious history here with only two nominations, the Academy loves a spectacle, and, set in the aftermath of a devestating earthquake with a Sophie's Choice story, this looks like it will provide just that.)
But keep an eye on Iraq's Son of Babylon, Thailand's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, South Africa's Life, Above All, Argentina's Carancho, Austria's La Pivellina, Greece's Dogtooth, Japan's Confessions, Taiwan's Monga and Israel's The Human Resources Manager; they all have a good chance of breaking into the category. Eventually, this list will be whittled down to a few finalists, before the nominees are announced January 25.
To my (few) international readers: have you seen any of the submitted films? Discuss in the comments below!