On Friday, the Academy revealed that a record 93 films will be competing in the Best International Feature Film category. The first round of voting is set to begin Feb. 1. Due to the relaxed, COVID-19-inspired rules, the number of films topped the record of 92 set in 2017. 34 of the features were directed by women, seven more than the previous record of 27 from last year’s Oscars. It’s unlikely that any films will be deemed ineligible, but last year two films were disqualified after the contenders were announced.
Three films that were submitted for competition this year were already turned down by the Academy, including Canada’s Funny Boy, Portugal’s Listen and Belarus’ Persian Lessons. The first two films were rejected for containing too much English dialogue, and Persian Lessons was turned down for not having enough creative input from that country.
Films that were accepted include Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round from Denmark, Fernando Frias’ I’m No Longer Here from Mexico and Andrei Konchalovsky’s Dear Comrades from Russia. For the first time ever, first-round balloting is open to all Academy members. In order for votes to count, members must watch at least 12 films from their required-viewing list, which consists of either 23 or 24 films depending on which of the four groups the member is in.