Oscar Question of the Day – The Foreign Factor


Clint Eastwood’s Letters from Iwo Jima (2006) was the last film in a foreign language to be nominated for Best Picture by the Academy Awards in the 2007 ceremony.  With the recent announcement of the 71 films that will compete for Foreign Language film, many will agree, there are many in there worthy of a Best Picture citation or win.

From 2007 until now, remove one Best Picture nominee and put in a foreign language film in its spot.

It gets a little difficult as we go on, and I’ll fully admit I don’t watch as many foreign films as I should every year.  I’m still going to give it a try.

2007 Ceremony
The Departed
Letters from Iwo Jima
Little Miss Sunshine
The Queen

Replace – The Queen with Pan’s Labyrinth

2008 Ceremony
Michael Clayton
No Country for Old Men
There Will Be Blood

Replace – Michael Clayton with The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

2009 Ceremony
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Replace – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with Waltz with Bashir

2010 Ceremony
The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
A Serious Man
Up in the Air

Replace – The Blind Side with The Secret in their Eyes

2011 Ceremony
127 Hours
Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids Are All Right
The King’s Speech
The Social Network
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone

Replace – 127 Hours with I Am Love

2012 Ceremony
The Artist
The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The Help
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life
War Horse

Replace – War Horse with A Separation

Comment and discuss!

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Clayton Davis is the esteemed Editor and Owner of AwardsCircuit.com. Born in Bronx, NY to a Puerto Rican mother and Black father, he’s been criticizing film and television for over a decade. Clayton is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to the awards season, the Critics Choice Awards. He’s also an active member of New York Film Critics Online, International Press Academy, Black Reel Awards, and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. Clayton has been quoted and appeared in various outlets that include The New York Times, CNN.com, Variety, Deadline, Los Angeles Times, Bloomberg Television, AOL, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Radio, The Wrap, Slash Film, and the Hollywood Reporter.
  • Josh P.

    I agree with most of your choices, at least in your foreign selections. I would probably just pick a different film that’s being left out. For instance, I would replace “Babel” for “Pan’s Labyrinth” and “Atonement” for “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”. For 2010, I’d actually switch “The Blind Side” for “A Prophet”, one of the few films I’m willing to call a masterpiece. There’s also another great Iranian film called “No One Knows About Persian Cats” that I would have no problem switching out with a lot of good but not great titles like “Black Swan”, “The Fighter” or “Winter’s Bone”.

  • Joe Gouveia

    Great List. I agree completely with the inclusion of ‘The Diving Bell and Butterfly’ in 2007’s Best Picture race. I think that Schnabel should have won for Director, too

  • I’d put The Lives of Others over Babel. I wouldn’t touch 2007 (the 2008 awards). Waltz With Bashir over Frost/Nixon. The White Ribbon over The Blind Side. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo over The Kids Are All Right. And I’d put A Separation in over ELIC.

  • 2007 Ceremony
    Replace – Little Miss Sunshine with Volver

    2008 Ceremony
    Replace – Juno with [REC]…why not this seems like a fun choice lol

    2009 Ceremony
    Replace – Slumdog Millionaire with Let the Right One In

    2010 Ceremony
    Replace – A Serious Man with Sin Nombre

    2011 Ceremony
    Replace – The King’s Speech with I Saw the Devil/The Housemaid

    2012 Ceremony
    Replace – Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close with A Separation

  • 2007 – The Queen with Pan’s Labyrinth
    2008 – There Will Be Blood (yes, I’m serious…maybe I need a 2nd look?) with The Kite Runner
    2009 – Frost/Nixon with Let The Right One In
    2010 – A Serious Man with Sin Nombre
    2011 – The Kids Are All Right (although I truly love all 10 nominees) with Incendies
    2012 – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close with A Separation

  • Steve Glansberg

    2007 Ceremony
    Trade Babel for Pan’s Labyrinth (I’d like to trade in The Lives of Others as well!)

    2008 Ceremony
    Trade Atonement for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (don’t forget The Orphanage!)

    2009 Ceremony
    Trade The Reader for Che

    2010 Ceremony
    Trade Avatar for The Stoning of Soraya M.

    2011 Ceremony
    Trade The Kids Are Alright for The Man from Nowhere (a personal favorite of mine)

    2012 Ceremony
    Trade Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close for Bullhead (I still haven’t gotten a chance to see A Separation)

  • kel doucette

    The Queen was a lock for Best Picture for the start. It’s British, focused on a very strong cinematic character and felt like it could have been made in the 1930s. Good, old-fashioned filmmaking at its best.

    As far as Waltz with Bashir, there was no way in heck that was going to be nominated. Not only was it a foreign film, but it was also animated AND a documentary. I would include Baader Meinhof Complex instead, although my favorite of the 2008 group is Palm d’Or winner The Class, which many may deem boring due to its 2-hour running time, use of only one setting and the narrowing of its scope to a singular character.

  • Jeremy DC

    2006 was such a good year for foreign films with the likes of Apocalypto, The Lives of Others, Letters from Iwo Jima, Pan’s Labyrinth, Volver, Days of Glory, Curse of the Golden Flower, and I consider Babel to be a foreign language film. Tough choice but I’d go with:
    2007 ceremony
    Replace – The Queen with Pan’s Labyrinth

    2008 ceremony
    Replace – Can’t do it. This year represents why I think they should go back to five nominees for best picture. It’s just…perfect.

    2009 ceremony
    Replace – The Reader with Let the Right One In

    2010 ceremony
    Replace – The Blind Side with The White Ribbon

    2011 ceremony
    Replace – 127 Hours with I Saw the Devil

    2012 ceremony
    Replace – Extremely Loud and Incredible Close with A Separation

  • Joey Magidson

    2007- The Queen with The Lives of Others

    2008- Michael Clayton with [REC]

    2009- The Reader with Let the Right One In

    2010- Precious with A Prophet

    2011- Winter’s Bone with I Saw the Devil

    2012- The Help with A Separation

  • You don’t need to replace War Horse with A Separation. There are only 9 nominees. They’re clear they want only American films. But even then, how can the best edited film of the year, in the eyes of the academy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), not be worthy of Best Picture? Does that even make sense?

  • Penguin

    2007: “Babel” with “The Lives of the Others”
    2008: “Juno” with “Import/Export”
    2009: “Milk” with “Revanche”
    2010: “Up” with “I Killed my Mother”
    2011: “True Grit” with “Of Gods and Men”
    2012: “War Horse” & “Extremely Loud…” with “A Separation” & “Halt auf freier Strecke”
    (I just could not let any of the 2 remain in the lineup as I think that none of them deserves to be there at all)

  • Jo

    I loved Pan’s Labyrinth but in 2007 i would’ve picked my favorite thriller of all time Guillaume Canet “Tell no one”.