Oscar cliffhanger: How the nine Foreign Language Film semi-finalists are determined

On Thursday (Dec. 15), the academy will announce the nine semi-finalists in the Foreign-Language Film race at the Oscars. This year saw a record 85 countries submitted entries. That is up by four from last year and break’s the benchmark of 83 set in 2014. The nations represented ranged from A (Albania) to Y (Yemen). Three other submissions — Afghanistan (“Parting”), Armenia (“Earthquake”) and Tunisia (“As I Open My Eyes”) — were not deemed eligible by the academy. And five countries that entered last year — Ethiopia, Guatemala, Ireland, Ivory Coast and Paraguay — are not part of this year’s roster.

The eventual five Oscar nominees are determined by a two-step process.

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First, the several hundred academy members who volunteered to be on the Foreign-Language Film screening committee were divided into four groups and required to watch 21 or so submissions over a two-month period that ended in early December. All those who attended at least two-thirds of their assigned screenings were entitled to cast ballots on which they rated the films they had seen on a scale from 6 to 10.

Their top six vote getters will number among the nine semi-finalists. The 20 members of the executive committee, chaired by academy governor and Oscar-winning producer Mark Johnson (“Rain Man,” 1988), will add three more films to the roster.

These nine semi-finalists will be screened three per day beginning in early January by select academy members in New York, Los Angeles and London who will then vote for the final five which will be revealed, along with the other Oscar nominations, on Jan. 24.

The entire academy membership will get screeners of these five films and vote for the winner, which will be revealed on the Oscars on Feb. 26.

Below: The entries in alphabetical order by country name, with those nations that did not submit last year but are doing so this year noted in bold.

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Albania, “Chromium,” Bujar Alimani, director;

Algeria, “The Well ,” Lofti Bouchouchi, director;

Argentina, “The Distinguished Citizen,” Mariano Cohn, Gastón Duprat, directors;

Armenia, “Earthquake,” Sarik Andreasyan, director;

Australia, “Tanna,” Martin Butler & Bentley Dean,  directors;

Austria, “Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe ,” Maria Schrader, director;

Bangladesh, “The Unnamed,” Tauquir Ahmed, director;

Belgium, “The Ardennes,” Robin Pront, director;

Bolivia, “Sealed Cargo,” Julia Vargas-Weise, director;

Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Death in Sarajevo,” Danis Tanovic, director;

Brazil, “Little Secret,” Daniel Schumann, director;

Bulgaria, “Losers,” Ivarlo Hristov, director;

Cambodia, “Before the Fall,” Ian White, director;

Canada, “It’s Only the End of the World,”  Xavier Dolan, director;

Chile, “Neruda,” Pablo Larraín, director;

China, “Xuan Zang,” Huo Jianqi, director;

Colombia, “Alias Maria,” José Luis Rugeles Gracia, director;

Costa Rica, “About Us,” Hernán Jiménez, director;

Croatia, “On the Other Side,” Zrinko Ogresta, director;

Cuba, “The Companion,” Pavel Giroud, director;

Czech Republic, “Lost in Munich,” Petr Zelenka, director;

Denmark, “Land of Mine,” Martin Zandvliet, director;

Dominican Republic, “Flor de Azucara,” Fernando Baez Mella, director;

Ecuador, “Such Is Life in the Tropics,” Sebastián Cordero, director;

Egypt, “Clash,” Mohamed Diab, director;

Estonia, “Mother,” Kadri Kõusaare, director;

Finland, “The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki,” Juho Kuosmanen, director;

France, “Elle,” Paul Verhoeven, director;

Georgia, “Land of Others,” Rusudan Glurdjidze, director;

Germany, “Toni Erdmann,” Maren Ade, director;

Greece, “Chevalier,” Athina Rachel Tsangari, director;

Hong Kong, “Port of Call,”  Philip Yung, director;

Hungary, “Kill on Wheels,” Attila Till, director;

Iceland, “Sparrows,”  Rúnar Rúnarsson, director;

India, “Interroagation,” Vetrimaaran, director;

Indonesia, “Letters from Prague,”  Angga Dwimas Sasongko, director;

Iran, “The Salesman,”  Asghar Farhadi, director;

Iraq, “El Clasico,” Halkawt Mustafa, director;

Israel, “Sand Storm,”  Elite Zexer, director;

Italy, “Fire at Sea,” , Gianfranco Rosi, director;

Japan, “Living with My Mother,” Yoji Yamada, director;

Jordan, “3000 Nights,”  Mai Masri, director;

Kazakhstan,, “Amanat,” Satybaldy Narymbetov, director;

Kosovo, “Home Sweet Home,” Faton Bajraktari, director;

Kyrgyzstan, ” A Father’s Will,” Bakyt Mukul, Dastan Japar Uulu, directors;

Latvia,  “Dawn,” Laila Pakalniņa, director;

Lebanon, “A Very Big Shot,” Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya, director;

Lithuania, “Seneca’s Day,” Kristijonas Vildziunas, director;

Luxembourg, “Voices from Chernobyl,” Pol Cruchten, director;

Macedonia, The Liberation of Skopje,” Rade Sherbedzija, Danilo Sherbedzija, directors;

Malaysia, “Beautiful Pain,” Tunku Mona Riza, director;

Mexico, ” Desierto,” Jonás Cuarón, director;

Montenegro, “The Black Pin,” Ivan Marinovic, director;

Morocco, “A Mile in My Shoes,” Said Khallaf, director;

Nepal, “The Black Hen,” Min Bahadur Bham, director;

Netherlands, “Tonio,” Paula van der Oest, director;

New Zealand, “A Flickering Truth,” Pietra Brettkelly, director;

Norway, “The King’s Choice,” Eric Poppe, director;

Pakistan, ‘Mah e Mir,” Anjum Shahzad, director;

Palestine, “The Idol,” Hany Abu-Assad, director;

Panama, “Salsipuedes,” Ricardo Aguilar Navarro, Manuel Rodríguez, directors;

Peru, “Videophilia (and Other Viral Syndromes),”  Juan Daniel Fernández, director;

Philippines, “Ma’Rosa,” Brillante Mendoza, director;

Poland, “Afterimage,” Andrzej Wajda, director;

Portugal, “Letters from War,” Ivo Ferreira, director;

Romania, “Sieranevada,” Cristi Puiu, director;

Russia, “Paradise,” Andrei Konchalovsky, director;

Saudi Arabia, “Barakah Meets Barakah,” Mahmoud Sabbagh, director;

Serbia, “Train Driver’s Diary,” Milosa Radovica, director;

Singapore, “Apprentice,” Boo Junfeng, director;

Slovakia, “Eva Nova,”  Marko Škop, director;

Slovenia, “Houston, We Have A Problem!,” Ziga Virc, director;

South Africa, “Call Me Thief,” Daryne Joshua, director;

South Korea, “The Age of Shadows,” Kim Jee-woon, director;

Spain, “Julieta,” Pedro Almodovar, director;

Sweden, “A Man Called Ove,” Hannes Holm, director;

Switzerland, “My Life as a Courgette,” Claude Barras, director;

Taiwan, “Hang in There, Kids!,”  Laha Mebow, director;

Thailand, “Karma,” Kanittha Kwanyu, director;

Turkey, ” Cold of Kalandar,”  Mustafa Kara, director;

Ukraine, “Ukrainian Sheriffs,” Roman Bondarchuk, director;

United Kingdom, “Under the Shadow,”  Babak Anvari, director;

Uruguay, “Breadcrumbs,”  Manane Rodriguez, director;

Venezuela, “From Afar,” Lorenzo Vigas, director;

Vietnam, “Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass,”  Victor Vu, director; and

Yemen, “I Am Nojoom, Age 10 and Divorced,” Khadija Al-Salami, director.

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