Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film

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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.[1]

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 62 Awards handed out by the Academy since 1947 to foreign language films, fifty one have gone to European films,[2] five to Asian films,[3] 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 2007 (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.

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