Magazine article Variety

Revisit: Why Not World's Best Picture?

Magazine article Variety

Revisit: Why Not World's Best Picture?

Article excerpt

When the Oscars modified the best picture category in 2009 and instituted an annual list of up to 10 nominees, the intention may have been to make sure that critically acclaimed blockbusters like the Oscar-overlooked "The Dark Knight" would bulk up the viewing audiences for the telecast. It may have helped the blockbuster "Avatar" make the cut that year, but in the following years it appears to have boosted the fortunes of smaller films such as "Winter's Bone" and, even more excitingly, foreign-language films like "Amour."

The marginalization of foreign-language cinema in the best picture category is one of Oscar's unspoken shortcomings: it's like the so-called World Series in baseball. The truth is, with a tiny number of few exceptions, only American teams play the Oscar game. Key exception: "The Artist" became the first foreign film to win best picture. So it can happen here. Just not 98% of the time.

Over the decades, no matter how monumental the contributions of foreign-language directors who changed the vocabulary of cinema, helmers like Fellini, Resnais, Bergman, Godard, et al were lucky to get their foreignlanguage film recognitions and the occasional writing or directing nod. …

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