Submissions to the 75th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film

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The following 54 films, all from different countries, were submitted for the 75th Academy Awards in the category Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film (release at the country of origin November 1, 2001 – October 31, 2002, ceremony March 2003). The bolded titles were the five nominated films.

Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Chad submitted films for the first time.

The announcement of the submitted films was delayed when the Academy was presented with four films that did not quite conform to the rules, as written:

Hong Kong elected to send an action film (The Touch) that was completely in English.
Afghanistan, which had been liberated from Taliban rule only a year before, submitted their first-ever film for consideration. The movie, about Afghan-Americans, was filmed mostly in English, but partially in Dari. When the film was shown in Afghanistan, it was entirely dubbed into Dari and it was this version that was sent to the Oscars.
The United Kingdom sent The Warrior, a British-produced film set in India, spoken entirely in Hindi, and filmed by Asif Kapadia, a British director of Indian descent.
Most controversially, Palestine tried to submit Divine Intervention, forcing the apolitical Academy to make a decision about whether it would accept Palestine as a country.
The film from Hong Kong was quickly eliminated, but the film from Afghanistan (whose director had been brutally murdered before post-production was finished) was accepted, probably as much for symbolic reasons as anything else.

The United Kingdom was asked to submit another film since AMPAS rules stated that all films had to be in a language indigenous to the submitting country. "The Warrior" was not acceptable, AMPAS argued, because Hindi was not a language indigenous to the United Kingdom, and the film was not about, nor set among British people. Had the film been set among the Hindi-speaking community in the UK, it would have been approved. BAFTA appealed to the Academy to reconsider, but to no avail. Ironically, the film won Best British Film at the BAFTA awards the following year. Britain ended up choosing Eldra, a film in Welsh. In 2006, AMPAS changed the rules to allow countries to choose films which were not in the language of the submitting country. Canada was the first to take advantage of this new rule by submitting Water, which was also in Hindi.

AMPAS determined that Palestine was not a country, and therefore could not submit a film. They also said that there had been no "national selection committee" that chose Divine Intervention, as required by the rules. It was also unclear how the film would be released in its home country according to the rules, since Palestine had no internationally recognized boundaries. This decision was much criticized, especially since countries like Taiwan, Puerto Rico and Hong Kong, none of which recognized as sovereign nations by the United Nations, had been submitting movies for years. AMPAS reversed its decision the following year, and allowed Divine Intervention to compete.

The previous year's winner Bosnia & Herzegovina did not submit a film. The Islamic world was better represented in this category than any previous year on record, with ten films in competition, not including Divine Intervention.

The Brazilian submission, City of God was considered as one of the favorites, but it did not receive a nomination in the Best Foreign Film category. When the film was released the following year in the USA, it garnered nominations in four mainstream categories including Best Screenplay and Best Director. Ironically, if the film had been nominated in the Best Foreign Film category, it would have been ineligible for all the mainstream awards the following year because you cannot receive Oscar nominations in two different ceremonies.

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Last updated on Oct 7, 2014; source