Special Rules for the Best Foreign Language Film Award

A foreign language film is defined as a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States of America with a predominantly non-English dialogue track.

  • The motion picture must be first released in the country submitting it no earlier than October 1, 2009, and no later than September 30, 2010, and be first publicly exhibited for at least seven consecutive days in a commercial motion picture theater for the profit of the producer and exhibitor. It must be exhibited by means of 35mm or 70mm film or in a 24- or 48- frame progressive scan Digital Cinema format with a minimum projector resolution of 2048 by 1080 pixels, source image format conforming to SMPTE 428-1-2006 D-Cinema Distribution Master – Image Characteristics; image compression (if used) conforming to ISO/IEC 15444-1 (JPEG 2000), and image and sound file formats suitable for exhibition in commercial Digital Cinema sites. The audio in a typical Digital Cinema Package (DCP) is 5.1 channels of discrete audio, and that is the preferred audio configuration. The minimum for a non-mono configuration of the audio shall be three channels as Left, Center, Right (a Left/Right configuration is not acceptable in a theatrical environment). The audio data shall be formatted in conformance with SMPTE 428-2-2006 D-Cinema Distribution Master – Audio Characteristics and SMPTE 428-3-2006 D-Cinema Distribution Master – Audio Channel Mapping and Channel Labeling.

  • The picture must be advertised and exploited during its eligibility run in a manner considered normal and customary to the industry. The picture need not have been released in the United States.

  • No type of television or Internet transmission may occur at any time prior to the motion picture’s theatrical release.

  • The recording of the original dialogue track as well as the completed picture must be predominantly in a language or languages other than English. Accurate English subtitles are required.

  • The submitting country must certify that creative control of the motion picture was largely in the hands of citizens or residents of that country.

  • The Academy will make the final determination in all questions of eligibility.

  • Each country shall be invited to submit its best motion picture to the Academy. Selection of that picture shall be made by one organization, jury or committee that should include artists and/or craftspeople from the field of motion pictures. A list of the selection committee members must be submitted to the Academy no later than August 2, 2010.

  • Only one picture will be accepted from each country.

  • The Academy will provide official entry forms to the proper committee in each country so that the producer of the selected picture can supply full information for that picture.

  • The official entry forms, together with a cast and credits list, a brief English language synopsis of the film, a biography and photograph of the director, still photographs, a poster, and an original newspaper or magazine clipping advertising the picture’s run, must be received in the Academy office not later than 5 p.m. PT on Friday, October 1, 2010. Other fact sheets also may be sent to further document the submission.

  • Prints or DCPs should be shipped prepaid for award consideration to arrive at the Academy no later than 5 p.m. PT on Friday, October 1, 2010.

  • The print submitted for award consideration must be identical in form with the final version in general release in the country submitting the motion picture.

  • Countries whose motion pictures are shortlisted will be required to provide a second English-language subtitled print or DCP of the film to facilitate voting screenings. This second print or DCP is due at the Academy by 5 p.m. PT on Thursday, January 20, 2011.

  • Prints submitted will be retained by the Academy throughout the voting process.

  • “Every award shall be conditioned upon the delivery to the Academy of one print or one copy of every film nominated for final balloting for all Academy Awards. Such print or copy shall be in a format and of a quality equivalent to the film’s theatrical release; if a film exists in more than one format, then the version deposited shall be the film print. Such print or copy shall become the property of the Academy, with the proviso, however, that the Academy shall not use such print or copy for commercial gain. Such print or copy shall be deposited with the Academy and, subject to matters not within its control, shall be screened by the Academy for the membership in advance of distribution of final ballots” (Academy Bylaws, Article VIII, Section 6). The Academy will retain for its archives one print of every motion picture receiving a nomination for the Foreign Language Film award. Prints of those films receiving nominations will be returned to the sender at Academy expense.

  • All submissions sent to the Academy will be screened by the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Committee(s). After the screenings, the committee(s) will vote by secret ballot to nominate five foreign language motion pictures for this award.

  • Final voting for the Foreign Language Film award shall be restricted to active and life Academy members who have attended Academy screenings, or other exhibition, of all five motion pictures films nominated for the award.

  • Viewing Foreign Language Film entries on videocassette or DVD will NOT qualify a member for voting purposes in this category.

  • The Academy Statuette (Oscar) will be awarded to the motion picture and accepted by the director on behalf of the picture’s creative talents.


Only motion pictures that receive nominations or Academy Awards may refer to their Academy endorsements in advertising and publicity materials. A motion picture that is selected for inclusion in the semifinal round competition may not identify itself as an “Academy Award finalist,” “Academy Award shortlist film” or the like in its individual marketing or publicity.

  • Motion pictures submitted for Foreign Language Film award consideration may also qualify for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards in other categories, provided they comply with the rules governing those categories.

  • In order to qualify for other categories, the motion pictures must be publicly exhibited by means of 35mm or 70mm film or in the digital format specified in Paragraph II.A above for paid admission (previews excluded) in a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County, for a run of at least seven consecutive days, beginning between January 1, 2010, and midnight of December 31, 2010.

  • Motion pictures nominated for the Foreign Language Film award shall not be eligible for Academy Awards consideration in any category in any subsequent Awards year. Submitted pictures that are not nominated for the Foreign Language Film award are eligible for Awards consideration in other categories in the subsequent year, provided the pictures begin their seven-day qualifying run in Los Angeles County during that calendar year.