SonSaul 002

Son of Saul, winner 2015.

The Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film is one of the Academy Awards of Merit, popularly known as the Oscars, handed out annually by the U.S.-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences(AMPAS). It is given to a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States of America with a predominantly non-English dialogue track.

When the first Academy Awards ceremony was held on May 16, 1929 to honor films released in 1927/28, there was no separate category for foreign language films. Between 1947 and 1955, the Academy presented Special/Honorary Awards to the best foreign language films released in the United States. These Awards, however, were not handed out on a regular basis (no Award was given in 1953), and were not competitive since there were no nominees but simply one winning film per year. For the 1956 (29th) Academy Awards, a competitive Academy Award of Merit, known as the Best Foreign Language Film Award, was created for non-English speaking films, and has been given annually since then. Unlike other Academy Awards, the Best Foreign Language Film Award is not presented to a specific individual. It is accepted by the winning film's director, but is considered an award for the submitting country as a whole.

Over the years, the Best Foreign Language Film Award and its predecessors have been given almost exclusively to European films: out of the 64 Awards handed out by the Academy since 1947 to foreign language films, fifty one have gone to European films, five to Asian films, three to African films and three to films from the Americas. Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini directed four Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award–winning motion pictures during his lifetime, a record that remains unmatched as of 2012 (if Special Awards are taken into account, then Fellini's record is tied by his fellow countryman Vittorio De Sica). The most awarded foreign country is Italy, with 10 awards won, 3 Special Awards and 27 nominations, while Israel is the foreign country to have the most nominations, 10, without winning an award.

Special/Honorary Awards (1947–1955)

20th Academy Awards (1947)

Shoe-Shine from ItalyVittorio De Sica
"The high quality of this motion picture, brought to eloquent life in a country scarred by war, is proof to the world that the creative spirit can triumph over adversity."

21st Academy Awards (1948)

Monsieur Vincent from FranceMaurice Cloche
"Voted by the Academy Board of Governors as the most outstanding foreign language film released in the United States during 1948."

22nd Academy Awards (1949)

The Bicycle Thief from ItalyVittorio De Sica
"Voted by the Academy Board of Governors as the most outstanding foreign language film released in the United States during 1949."

23rd Academy Awards (1950)

The Walls of Malapaga from France and ItalyRené Clément
"Voted by the Board of Governors as the most outstanding foreign language film released in the United States in 1950."

24th Academy Awards (1951)

Rashomon from JapanAkira Kurosawa
"Voted by the Board of Governors as the most outstanding foreign language film released in the United States during 1951."

25th Academy Awards (1952)

Forbidden Games from FranceRené Clément
"Best Foreign Language Film first released in the United States during 1952."

27th Academy Awards (1954)

Gate of Hell from JapanTeinosuke Kinugasa
"Best Foreign Language Film first released in the United States during 1954."

28th Academy Awards (1955)

Samurai, The Legend of Musashi from JapanHiroshi Inagaki
"Best Foreign Language Film first released in the United States during 1955."

Nominations & winners (1956–present)

Best Foreign Language Film By Decade


29th Academy Awards (1956)

La Strada from ItalyFederico Fellini (Dino De Laurentiis and Carlo Ponti, Producers)[1]
The Captain of Kopenick from West GermanyHelmut Käutner (Gyula Trebitsch and Walter Koppel, Producers)[1]
Gervaise from FranceRené Clément (Annie Dorfmann, Producer)[1]
Harp of Burma from JapanKon Ichikawa (Masayuki Takagi, Producer)[1]
Qivitoq from DenmarkErik Balling (O. Dalsgaard-Olsen, Producer)[1]

30th Academy Awards (1957)

The Nights of Cabiria from ItalyFederico Fellini
The Devil Came at Night from West GermanyRobert Siodmak
Gates of Paris from FranceRené Clair
Mother India from IndiaMehboob Khan
Nine Lives from NorwayArne Skouen

31st Academy Awards (1958)

My Uncle from FranceJacques Tati
Arms and the Man from West GermanyFranz Peter Wirth
La Venganza from SpainJuan Antonio Bardem
The Road a Year Long from YugoslaviaGiuseppe De Santis
The Usual Unidentified Thieves from ItalyMario Monicelli

32nd Academy Awards (1959)

Black Orpheus from FranceMarcel Camus
The Bridge from West GermanyBernhard Wicki
The Great War from ItalyMario Monicelli
Paw from DenmarkAstrid Henning-Jensen
The Village on the River from The NetherlandsFons Rademakers


33rd Academy Awards (1960)

The Virgin Spring from SwedenIngmar Bergman
Kapo from ItalyGillo Pontecorvo
La Vérité from France — [[[Henri-Georges Clouzot]]
Macario from MexicoRoberto Galvaldón
The Ninth Circle from YugoslaviaFrance Štiglic

34th Academy Awards (1961)

Through a Glass Darkly from SwedenIngmar Bergman
Harry and the Butler from DenmarkBent Christensen
Immortal Love from JapanKeisuke Kinoshita
The Important Man from MexicoIsmael Rodríguez
Placido from SpainLuis García Berlanga

35th Academy Awards (1962)

Sundays and Cybele from FranceSerge Bourguignon
Electra from GreeceMichael Cacoyannis
The Four Days of Naples from ItalyNanni Loy
Keeper of Promises (The Given Word) from BrazilAnselmo Duarte
Tlayucan from MexicoLuis Alcoriza

36th Academy Awards (1963)

from ItalyFederico Fellini
Knife in the Water from PolandRoman Polanski
Los Tarantos from SpainFrancisco Rovira Beleta
The Red Lanterns from GreeceVasilis Georgiadis
Twin Sisters of Kyoto from JapanNoboru Nakamura

37th Academy Awards (1964)

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow from ItalyVittorio De Sica
Raven's End from SwedenBo Widerberg
Sallah from IsraelEphraim Kishon
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg from FranceJacques Demy
Woman in the Dunes from JapanNoboru Nakamura

38th Academy Awards (1965)

The Shop on Main Street from CzechoslovakiaJán Kadár and Elmar Klos
Blood on the Land from GreeceVasilis Georgiadis
Dear John from SwedenLars-Magnus Lindgren
Kwaidan from JapanMasaki Kobayashi
Marriage Italian Style from ItalyVittorio De Sica

39th Academy Awards (1966)

A Man and a Woman from FranceClaude Lelouch
The Battle of Algiers from ItalyGillo Pontecorvo
Loves of a Blonde from CzechoslovakiaMiloš Forman
Pharaoh from PolandJerzy Kawalerowicz
Three from YugoslaviaAleksandar Patrović

40th Academy Awards (1967)

Closely Watched Trains from CzechoslovakiaJiří Menzel
El Amor Brujo from SpainFrancisco Rovira Beleta
I Even Met Happy Gypsies from YugoslaviaAleksandar Patrović
Live for Life from FranceClaude Lelouch
Portrait of Chieko from JapanNoboru Nakamura

41st Academy Awards (1968)

War and Peace from Union of Soviet Socialist RepublicsSergei Bondarchuk
The Boys of Paul Street from HungaryZoltán Fábri
The Firemen's Ball from CzechoslovakiaMiloš Forman
The Girl with the Pistol from ItalyMario Monicelli
Stolen Kisses from FranceFrançois Truffaut

{{cr | year = 1969 | sequence = 42nd | nominee1 = Ådalen '31 from SwedenBo Winderberg | nominee2 = The Battle of Neretva from YugoslaviaValejko Bulajić | nominee3 = The Brothers Karamazov from Union of Soviet Socialist RepublicsKirill Lavrov, Ivan Pyryev, and Mikhail Ulyanov | nominee4 = My Night at Maud's from FranceEric Rohmer[2] | winner = Z from AlgeriaCosta-Gavras


43rd Academy Awards (1970)

Investigation of a Citizen above Suspicion from ItalyElio Petri
First Love from SwitzerlandMaximilian Schell
Hoa-Binh from FranceRaoul Coutard
Paix Sur Les Champs from BelgiumJacques Boigelot
Tristana from SpainLuis Buñuel

44th Academy Awards (1971)

The Garden of the Finzi Continis from ItalyVittorio De Sica
Dodes'ka-Den from JapanAkira Kurosawa
The Emigrants from SwedenJan Troell
The Policeman from IsraelEphraim Kishon
Tchaikovsky from Union of Soviet Socialist RepublicsIgor Talankin

45th Academy Awards (1972)

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie from FranceLuis Buñuel
The Dawns Here Are Quiet from Union of Soviet Socialist RepublicsStanislav Rostotsky
I Love You Rosa from IsraelMoshé Mizrahi
My Dearest Señorita from SpainJaime de Armiñán
The New Land from SwedenJan Troell

46th Academy Awards (1973)

Day for Night from FranceFrançois Truffaut
The House on Chelouche Street from IsraelMoshé Mizrahi
L'Invitation from SwitzerlandClaude Goretta
The Pedestrian from West GermanyMaximillian Schell
Turkish Delight from The NetherlandsPaul Verhoeven

47th Academy Awards (1974)

Amarcord from ItalyFederico Fellini
Cats' Play from HungaryKároly Makk
The Deluge from PolandJerzy Hoffman
Lacombe, Lucien from FranceLouis Malle
The Truce from ArgentinaSergio Renán

48th Academy Awards (1975)

Dersu Uzala from Union of Soviet Socialist RepublicsAkira Kurosawa
Letters from Marusia from MexicoMiguel Littín
The Promised Land from PolandAndrzej Wajda
Sandakan No. 8 from JapanKei Kumai
Scent of a Woman from ItalyDino Risi

49th Academy Awards (1976)

Black and White in Color from Ivory CoastJean-Jacques Annaud
Cousin, Cousine from FranceJean-Charles Tacchella
Jacob, the Liar from East GermanyFrank Beyer
Nights and Days from PolandJerzy Antczak
Seven Beauties from ItalyLina Wertmüller

50th Academy Awards (1977)

Madame Rosa from FranceMoshé Mizrahi
Iphigenia from GreeceMichael Cacoyannis
Operation Thunderbolt from IsraelMenahem Golan
A Special Day from ItalyEttore Scola
That Obscure Object of Desire from SpainLuis Buñuel

51st Academy Awards (1978)

Get Out Your Handkerchiefs from FranceBertrand Blier
The Glass Cell from West GermanyHans W. Geißendörfer
Hungarians from HungaryZoltán Fábri
Viva Italia! from ItalyMario Monicelli, Dino Risi, and Ettore Scola
White Bim Black Ear from Union of Soviet Socialist RepublicsStanislav Rostotsky

52nd Academy Awards (1979)

The Tin Drum from West GermanyVolker Sclöndorff
The Maids of Wilko from PolandAndrzej Wajda
Mama Turns a Hundred from SpainCarlos Saura
A Simple Story from FranceClaude Sautet
To Forget Venice from ItalyFranco Brusati


53rd Academy Awards (1980)

Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears from Union of Soviet Socialist RepublicsVladimir Menshov
Confidence from HungaryIstván Szabó
Kagemusha (The Shadow Warrior) from JapanAkira Kurosawa
The Last Metro from FranceFrançois Truffaut
The Nest from SpainJaime de Armiñán

54th Academy Awards (1981)

Mephisto from HungaryIstván Szabó
The Boat Is Full from SwitzerlandMarkus Imhoof
Man of Iron from PolandAndrzej Wajda
Muddy River from JapanKôhei Oguri
Three Brothers from ItalyFrancesco Rosi

55th Academy Awards (1982)

Volver a Empezar ('To Begin Again') from SpainJosé Luis Garci
Alsino and the Condor from NicaraguaMiguel Littin
Coup de Torchon ('Clean Slate') from FranceBertrand Tavernier
The Flight of the Eagle from SwedenJan Troell
Private Life from Union of Soviet Socialist RepublicsYuli Raizman

56th Academy Awards (1983)

Fanny & Alexander from SwedenIngmar Bergman
Carmen from SpainCarlos Saura
Entre Nous from FranceDiane Kurys
Job's Revolt from HungaryImre Gyöngyössy and Barna Kabay
Le Bal from AlgeriaEttore Scola

57th Academy Awards (1984)

Dangerous Moves from SwitzerlandRichard Dembo
Beyond the Walls from IsraelUri Barbash
Camila from ArgentinaMaría Luisa Bemberg
Double Feature from SpainJosé Luis Garci
Wartime Romance from Union of Soviet Socialist RepublicsPyotr Todorovsky

58th Academy Awards (1985)

The Official Story from ArgentinaLuis Puenzo
Angry Harvest from West GermanyAgnieszka Holland
Colonel Redl from HungaryIstván Szabó
Three Men and a Cradle from FranceColine Serreau
When Father Was Away on Business from YugoslaviaEmir Kusturica

59th Academy Awards (1986)

The Assault from The NetherlandsFons Rademakers
Betty Blue from FranceJean-Jacques Beineix
The Decline of the American Empire from CanadaDenys Arcand
My Sweet Little Village from CzechoslovakiaJiří Menzel
'38' from AustriaWolfgang Glück

60th Academy Awards (1987)

Babette's Feast from DenmarkGabriel Axel
Au Revoir Les Enfants (Goodbye, Children) from FranceLouis Malle
Course Completed from SpainJosé Luis Garci
The Family from ItalyEttore Scola
Pathfinder from NorwayNils Gaup

61st Academy Awards (1988)

Pelle the Conqueror from DenmarkBille August
Hanussen from HungaryIstván Szabó
The Music Teacher from BelgiumGérard Corbiau
Salaam Bombay! from IndiaMira Nair
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown from SpainPedro Almodóvar

62nd Academy Awards (1989)

Cinema Paradiso from ItalyGiuseppe Tornatore
Camille Claudel from FranceBruno Nuytten
Jesus of Montreal from CanadaDenys Arcand
Waltzing Regitze from DenmarkKaspar Rostrup
What Happened to Santiago from Puerto RicoJacobo Morales


63rd Academy Awards (1990)

Journey of Hope from SwitzerlandXavier Koller
Cyrano de Bergerac from FranceJean-Paul Rappeneau
Ju Dou from People's Republic of ChinaZhang Yimou and Yang Fengliang
The Nasty Girl from GermanyMichael Verhoeven
Open Doors from ItalyGianni Amelio

64th Academy Awards (1991)

Mediterraneo from ItalyGabriele Salvatores
Children of Nature from IcelandFriðrik Þór Friðriksson
The Elementary School from CzechoslovakiaJan Svěrák
The Ox from SwedenSven Nykvist
Raise the Red Lantern from Hong KongZhang Yimou

65th Academy Awards (1992)

Indochine from FranceRégis Wargnier
Close to Eden from RussiaNikita Mikhalkov
Daens from BelgiumStijn Coninx
A Place in the World from UruguayAdolfo Aristarain[3]
Schtonk! from GermanyHelmut Dietl

66th Academy Awards (1993)

Belle Epoque from SpainFernando Trueba
Farewell My Concubine from Hong KongChen Kaige
Hedd Wyn from United KingdomPaul Turner
The Scent of Green Papaya from VietnamTrần Anh Hùng
The Wedding Banquet from TaiwanAng Lee

67th Academy Awards (1994)

Burnt by the Sun from RussiaNikita Mikhalkov
Before the Rain from MacedoniaMilčo Mančevski
Eat Drink Man Woman from TaiwanAng Lee
Farinelli: Il Castrato from BelgiumGérard Corbiau
Strawberry and Chocolate from CubaTomás Gutiérrez Alea and Juan Carlos Tabío

68th Academy Awards (1995)

Antonia's Line from The Netherlands Marleen Gorris
All Things Fair from SwedenBo Winderberg
Dust of Life from AlgeriaRachid Bouchareb
O Quatrilho from BrazilFábio Barreto
The Star Maker from ItalyGiuseppe Tornatore

69th Academy Awards (1996)

Kolya from Czech RepublicJan Svěrák
A Chef in Love from GeorgiaNana Dzhordzhadze
The Other Side of Sunday from NorwayBerit Nesheim
Prisoner of the Mountains from RussiaSergei Bodrov
Ridicule from FrancePatrice Leconte

70th Academy Awards (1997)

Character from The NetherlandsMike van Diem
Beyond Silence from GermanyCaroline Link
Four Days in September from BrazilBruno Barreto
Secrets of the Heart from SpainMontxo Armendáriz
The Thief from RussiaPavel Chukhraj

71st Academy Awards (1998)

Life Is Beautiful from ItalyRoberto Benigni
Central Station from BrazilWalter Salles
Children of Heaven from IranMajid Majidi
The Grandfather from SpainJosé Luis Garci
Tango from ArgentinaCarlos Saura

72nd Academy Awards (1999)

All about My Mother from SpainPedro Almodóvar
Caravan from NepalEric Valli
East-West from FranceRégis Wargnier
Solomon and Gaenor from United KingdomPaul Morrison
Under the Sun from SwedenColin Nutley


73rd Academy Awards (2000)

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon from TaiwanAng Lee
Amores Perros from MexicoAlejandro González Iñárritu
Divided We Fall from Czech RepublicJan Hřebejk
Everybody Famous! from BelgiumDominique Deruddere
The Taste of Others from FranceAgnès Jaoui

74th Academy Awards (2001)

No Man's Land from Bosnia & HerzegovinaDanis Tanović
Amélie from FranceJean-Pierre Jeunet
Elling from NorwayPetter Næss
Lagaan from IndiaAshutosh Gowariker
Son of the Bride from ArgentinaJuan J. Campanella

75th Academy Awards (2002)

Nowhere in Africa from GermanyCaroline Link
El Crimen del Padre Amaro from MexicoCarlos Carrera
Hero from People's Republic of ChinaZhang Yimou
The Man without a Past from FinlandAki Kaurismäki
Zus & Zo from The NetherlandsPaula van der Oest

76th Academy Awards (2003)

The Barbarian Invasions from CanadaDenys Arcand
Evil from SwedenMikael Håfström
The Twilight Samurai from JapanYoji Yamada
Twin Sisters from The NetherlandsBen Sombogaart
Zelary from Czech RepublicOndřej Trojan

77th Academy Awards (2004)

The Sea Inside from SpainAlejandro Amenábar
As It Is in Heaven from SwedenKay Pollak
The Chorus (Les Choristes) from FranceChristophe Barratier
Downfall from GermanyOliver Hirschbiegel
Yesterday from South AfricaDarrell Roodt

78th Academy Awards (2005)

Tsotsi from South AfricaGavin Hood
Don't Tell from ItalyChristina Comencini
Joyeux Noël from FranceChristian Carion
Paradise Now from The Palestinian TerritoriesHany Abu-Assad
Sophie Scholl - The Final Days from GermanyMarc Rothemund

79th Academy Awards (2006)

The Lives of Others from GermanyFlorian Henckel von Donnersmarck
After the Wedding from DenmarkSusanne Bier
Days of Glory (Indigènes) from AlgeriaRachid Bouchareb
Pan's Labyrinth from MexicoGuillermo del Toro
Water from CanadaDeepa Mehta

80th Academy Awards (2007)

The Counterfeiters from AustriaStefan Ruzowitzky
12 from RussiaNikita Mikhalkov
Beaufort from IsraelJoseph Cedar
Katyn from PolandAndrzej Wajda
Mongol from KazakhstanSergei Bodrov

81st Academy Awards (2008)

Departures from JapanYojiro Takita
The Baader Meinhof Complex from GermanyUri Edel
The Class from FranceLaurent Cantet
Revanche from AustriaGötz Spielmann
Waltz With Bashir from IsraelAri Folman

82nd Academy Awards (2009)

The Secret in Their Eyes from ArgentinaJuan José Campanella
Ajami from IsraelScandar Copti and Yaron Shani
The Milk of Sorrow from PeruClaudia Llosa
A Prophet from FranceJacques Audiard
The White Ribbon from GermanyMichael Haneke


83rd Academy Awards (2010)

In a Better World from DenmarkSusanne Bier
Biutiful from MexicoAlejandro González Iñárritu
Dogtooth from GreeceYorgos Lanthimos
Incendies from CanadaDenis Villeneuve
Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi) from AlgeriaRachid Bouchareb

84th Academy Awards (2011)

A Separation from IranAsghar Farhadi
Bullhead from BelgiumMichael R. Roskam
Footnote from IsraelJoseph Cedar
In Darkness from PolandAgnieszka Holland
Monsieur Lazhar from CanadaPhilippe Falardeau

85th Academy Awards (2012)

Amour from AustriaMichael Haneke
Kon-Tiki from NorwayJoachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg
No from ChilePablo Larraín
A Royal Affair from DenmarkNikolaj Arcel
War Witch from CanadaKim Nguyen

86th Academy Awards (2013)

The Great Beauty from ItalyPaolo Sorrentino
The Broken Circle Breakdown from BelgiumFelix Van Groeningen
The Hunt from DenmarkThomas Vinterberg
The Missing Picture from CambodiaRithy Panh
Omar from PalestineHany Abu-Assad

87th Academy Awards (2014)

Ida from PolandPawel Pawlikowski
Leviathan from RussiaAndrey Zvyagintsev
Tangerines from EstoniaZaza Urushadze
Timbuktu from MauritaniaAbderrahmane Sissako
Wild Tales from ArgentinaDamian Szifron

88th Academy Awards (2015)

Son of Saul from HungaryLászló Nemes
Embrace of the Serpent from ColombiaCiro Guerra
Mustang from FranceDeniz Gamze Ergüven
Theeb from JordanNaji Abu Nowar
A War from DenmarkTobias Lindholm


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 For the 29th Academy Awards, the name(s) of the producer(s) were included in the nomination for the Foreign Language Film category.
  2. This film received its 1969 nomination under the title My Night with Maud. It had no US distributor at the time.
  3. THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL NOMINATION. After nominations were announced, information came to light that showed that this film was wholly produced in Argentina, and had insufficient Uruguayan artistic control. The film was declared ineligible and removed from the final ballot.