Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Indiewire logo

AMPAS Finally Rehabs Foreign-Language Oscar, But Is Category Still Broken?

ReelPolitik By Anthony Kaufman | ReelPolitik July 4, 2006 at 2:43AM

AMPAS Finally Rehabs Foreign-Language Oscar, But Is Category Still Broken?
1

After years of unfair and close-minded restrictions on Oscar's Foreign Language Film Award, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has finally approved some changes that should open up the category to a broader range of movies. But the new rules are also strange and byzantine, allowing for a set of choices that could be just as surprising as before. The most significant change -- one that answers several criticisms -- is that submitted films no longer must be in the official language of the country submitting the film. (So, for example, last year's Italian entry "Private," which was in Arabic, would not be disqualified.) This is a must-needed adaptation to the globalized film industry, and I, for one, am glad they've adopted the new stance. At last, Austrian Michael Haneke, who frequently directs in French, may finally show up at the Oscars.

But the second procedural change signals a weakness in the whole process and doesn't remedy the long-criticized practice of lumping movies in three section unfairly (where Tsai Ming-liang is matched against "The Chorus"). Now split up into two Phases, the voting process goes as follows: first the same several-hundred L.A. based committee views the submissions, but instead of picking the top five, they select a shortlist of nine potential nominees. Then, a second 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.

While it's nice to know that New York-area members will now be included in the voting process, I have to wonder how come there are only ten? And how come it's taken decades for them to be included in the process? Will the ten new Gotham members have enough power to throw out drivel like "The Chorus" and "Merry Christmas"? And who are the ten new L.A. members and what qualifies them to be on the Phase II committee if they weren't already on the Phase I committee? It's nice to know that AMPAS recognizes the system for selecting the foreign language film Oscar doesn't work, but is this really the best way to fix it?

Follow us

E-Mail Updates



Recent Comments

By Tony: I saw this with my girlfriend. She was completely taken in by it. This movie is no better than a soap opera. Absolute drivel, pandering to…

Can Tearjerking Doc "The Hunting Ground" Change Colleges' Sexual Assault Policies?

Jan 28th, 2015 1:03am

By Joe Britz: While rape is a horrible crime, it doesn't mean we simply toss Blackstone out the window. The foundation of our justice system is innocent…

Can Tearjerking Doc "The Hunting Ground" Change Colleges' Sexual Assault Policies?

Jan 28th, 2015 12:31am

By Amelia: It reminds me of the Dark Ages, where people would accuse a woman of being a Witch and everybody would simply believe the accusation because…

Can Tearjerking Doc "The Hunting Ground" Change Colleges' Sexual Assault Policies?

Jan 27th, 2015 3:25pm

By Joe: There is no rape culture. Rape is a sickening and illegal act but apparently there are some who want to return to the old fashioned lynch mob…

Can Tearjerking Doc "The Hunting Ground" Change Colleges' Sexual Assault Policies?

Jan 27th, 2015 1:31pm

By roosevelto: I think that this movie is many things, one of those is political. Even if we suppose that it wasn't Afflec's intention, when has become…

"Argo" Reconsidered: Ben Affleck is a Right-Wing Propagandist

Jan 16th, 2015 5:08pm

By roosevelto: I watched the movie with the most naive eyes possible. I said to myself, don't care about facts, don't care about propaganda, don't care abou…

"Argo" Reconsidered: Ben Affleck is a Right-Wing Propagandist

Jan 16th, 2015 4:53pm

By Anthony Kaufman: "The Look of Silence" will definitely be on next year's list! It hasn't opened in the U.S. yet.

The Top 12 Documentaries of 2014

Jan 3rd, 2015 1:09pm

By Jakob Tasi Grube Madsen: Thanks for a good selection. You definitely have to see The Look of Silence by Joshua Oppenheimer. - The finest documentary of 2014 that I…

The Top 12 Documentaries of 2014

Dec 29th, 2014 5:54am