Saturday, July 22, 2006

AMPAS Update - Foreign Language Films

Foreign Language Films for 2006 Oscar®

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS®) has invited 83 countries to submit films for consideration in the Foreign Language Film category for the 79th Academy Awards®. To qualify for the 2006 awards year, a film must be released in the submitting country between October 1, 2005 and September 30, 2006, and be publicly screened in 35mm or 70mm film for at least seven consecutive days in a commercial motion picture theater. The dialogue track must be predominantly in a language or languages other than English. Accurate English subtitles are required.

Last year, the Academy invited 91 countries to submit films and 58 accepted, a record number. Coata Rica, Fiji and Iraq were first-time entrants. The South African film TSOTSI, directed by Gavin Hood, won the Oscar over a field of nominated films from France, Germany, Italy and the Palestinian Territories. This year, The republics of Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan will be first-time invitees.

Since the category’s establishment in 1956, 102 different countries have submitted films to compete for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. The first award went to Italy for LA STRADA (The Road), directed by Frederico Fellini.

See link on sidebar at right for the 79th awards schedule. Countries that have not received letters of invitation and are interested in submitting a film for consideration should contact Awards Coordinator Torene Svitil at (310) 247-3000, ext. 116 or via e-mail at tsvitil@oscars.org.

79th Oscar® Rules Approved by Academy

The governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have approved the rules for the 79th Academy Awards®, endorsing a series of changes that the organization’s president, Sid Ganis, characterized as “constructive but not earthshaking.”

The biggest change institutes a two-stage process in determining the nominations in the Foreign Language Film Award category. The new approach will allow New York-based Academy members to participate for the first time in selecting the nominations for the category.

Foreign Language nominations for 2006 will be arrived at in two phases overseen by two essentially distinct screening committees. The Phase I committee will be the same several-hundred-member Los Angeles-based group that has viewed the roughly 60 annual submissions in past years and selected the five nominees from the field. For the 2006 Awards though, the Phase I committee will arrive at a nine-country shortlist.

The Phase II committee, made up of ten randomly selected members of the original committee, ten Los Angeles-based members not on the original committee, and ten New York-area members, will view the shortlisted films in a three-day bicoastal marathon and select the nominees from that field.

In addition to allowing New York members to participate, more busy working members will be encouraged to participate in the process because they will no longer need to commit to viewing all the submissions over several months. A time-consuming process that discouraged many members.

In another change for the Foreign Language award, entries submitted in the category no longer must be in an official language of the country submitting the film. So long as the dominant language is not English, a picture from any country may be in any language or combination of languages. Last year, the Italians wanted to submit a picture that was clearly made by Italian artists, and which qualified for the category in every other way except one: there was no Italian language in it. All the dialogue was in Middle Eastern languages.

Executive director Bruce Davis said, “The rules clearly prohibited that, but the situation didn’t seem fair to us. So if the Taiwanese want to send us a picture with exclusively Portuguese dialogue this year, we’re ready for them.”

Rules are reviewed annually by branch and category committees. The Awards Rules Committee then reviews all proposed changes before presenting its recommendations to the Academy’s Board of Governors.

Academy Award® nominations will be announced in January at the Academy. The 79th Annual Academy Awards Presentation will be telecast live from the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center by the ABC Television Network on Sunday, February 25, 2007. See link at right for the 79th Awards schedule.