The Academy has confirmed to Deadline that this is the first time two international foreign-language movies have been nominated for Best Picture in the same year and the first time that two foreign-language movies have received five Oscar nominations apiece in the same year.
Justine Triet’s contemporary courtroom thriller Anatomy of a Fall and Jonathan Glazer’s innovative holocaust drama The Zone of Interest lead the international charge today. The former is a French-language French production, while the latter is a German-language international co-production (with some key U.S. backing).
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Both features, which debuted at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, nabbed five Oscar noms this morning, including showings in Best Director and their respective screenplay categories: adapted for Glazer and original for Triet and her co-writer Arthur Harari.
The films also are in the Best Picture race. When you factor in fellow contender Past Lives, which is in English and Korean, this year’s Best Picture category is the most international ever. Celine Song’s pic also got a Best Original Screenplay nom.
Other foreign-language films to score nominations today outside of the international category include Spanish-language Society of the Snow, which achieved multiple noms, Japanese pic Godzilla Minus One, Robot Dreams and The Boy And The Heron in Best Animated film, and Pablo Larrain’s El Conde, while four of this year’s five Best Documentary contenders are international films and all five films have international subjects.
The success of international movies this year speaks to the growing trend of foreign-language movies performing well at major U.S. awards ceremonies. Korean hit Parasite in 2020 became the first foreign-language movie to win the Best Picture Oscar, while movies such as All Quiet on the Western Front and Drive My Car also have had success in recent years.
Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall, Glazer’s The Zone of Interest and Song’s Past Lives also were made squarely outside the major studio system in a boon for independent cinema.
In 2006, there were Best Picture Oscar nominations for Babel and Letters from Iwo Jima. However, the former starred Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett and English was the main language, among others. Both were U.S. studio-backed projects.
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