67 foreign films in the running for Oscars

LOS ANGELES: A record 67-strong field has lined up for the Oscars’ Foreign Language Film award, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said on October 17, with Jordan entering the race for the first time.

Academy Awards organisers announced the list of entries for the coveted prize roughly three months ahead of the formal announcement of nominations for other main categories at next year’s 81st Oscars.

The 67 entries will eventually be whittled down to five nominees who will all jostle for the most famous statuette in showbusiness at the 2009 Academy Awards, which take place in Hollywood on February 22 next year.

Only one country will be making a debut in this year’s list of entrants, with Jordan choosing Amin Matalqa’s Captain Abu Raed as its representative.

The early favourite for the top honor is Italy’s entrant Gomorrah, a hard-hitting expose about the mafia. The film by Matteo Garrone, based on a best-selling book by journalist Roberto Saviano, won the second prize at this year’s Cannes film festival, the Grand Prix. Other notable entrants in this year’s race include a rare appearance from Britain, where Welsh director Karl Francis’s Hope Eternal is entered.