The first foreign-language Oscar was presented in 1957, not so much to its director Federico Fellini
as to the whole of Italy for his acclaimed “La Strada
,” which beat out competition from Japan, Germany, France and Denmark. That year, only eight countries submitted films, but the number has increased sharply in the decades since, reaching new heights this year when 92 countries submitted titles for consideration — a record for the category.
Entries from Haiti, Honduras, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mozambique, Senegal and Syria — countries torn by war, riven by natural disaster or simply lacking in any kind of industry infrastructure whatsoever — joined the race this year.
The nomination certainly came as a surprise for Mattie Do
, whose second feature “Dearest Sister” was chosen to represent Laos.
“One day I woke up and there was an email from the Luang Prabang Film Festival announcing that they had facilitated the means for Laos to create a selection committee qualified to submit