It’s one of the Oscar categories handed out each year by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) and it is given to a feature-length motion picture produced outside the U.S. with a non-English dialogue track. Considered an award for the submitting country, this Oscar has primarily gone to European films in previous years and this year, eighty-seven countries have submitted films for consideration in the Foreign Language Film Oscar category for the 91st Academy Awards. While the total is less than last year’s record 92 entries, this is likely to be the most competitive race the category has seen in years.
Entries from Kenya, South Africa are received each year, but this marks the first time submissions have come in from the African countries of Malawi and Niger. Malawi’s “The Road to Sunrise,”directed by Shemu Joyah, released last, year follows two sex workers who find hope in each other as they search for the road to redemption and Niger’s entry “The Wedding Ring,” by director Rahmatou Keïta follows an expat who returns to her home village after completing her studies abroad.
Also competing is Dominican Republic’s “Cocote,” the Kenyan drama “Supa Modo,” and the South African period drama film “Sew the Winter to My Skin,” by award winning director Jahmil X.T. Qubeka, an established screenwriter and filmmaker who has directed numerous television programs and documentaries including the highly controversial film “Of Good Report,” which was initially banned in the filmmaker’s hometown of South Africa when it was released four years ago.
Official Academy screenings will begin on Oct. 15 and run through Dec. 10. At that stage, the six films that have received the highest average scores from the voters will advance to a nine-film shortlist, along with three additional films chosen by an executive committee.
Nominations for the 91st Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 22, 2019. The 91st Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 24, 2019, at the Dolby Theater at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscars also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.
By Samantha Ofole-Prince/Photos courtesy of A.M.P. A.S. and Royalty Images