Pre-1956 Best Foreign Language Film Oscars

Discuss films and filmmakers of the 20th century (and even a little of the 19th century). Threads may contain spoilers.
Post Reply
Message
Author
jmj713
Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2005 10:47 pm

Pre-1956 Best Foreign Language Film Oscars

#1 Post by jmj713 » Sun Sep 06, 2015 11:14 am

So of course the real competition between countries for the Oscar began in 1956, and there was an Honorary award handed out between 1947 and 1955, but I was wondering if some educated speculation may yield what would be the nominations in these years preceding 1956. Maybe there have already been such exercises. I'm curious still, what would have been the nominations (and winners) if there was the same process for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar from, say, its inception to 1955?

Jakamarak
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:46 am

Re: Pre-1956 Best Foreign Language Film Oscars

#2 Post by Jakamarak » Sun Sep 06, 2015 12:22 pm

I'm not really a fan of these exercises, however, the National Board of Review began in 1930. In most years they have several selections for "Top Foreign Films", some years they select a winner, and in other years they have a winner and selections. This might be a good clue as to what films were released and well regarded in any given year.

http://www.imdb.com/event/ev0000464/1930

User avatar
zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: Pre-1956 Best Foreign Language Film Oscars

#3 Post by zedz » Sun Sep 06, 2015 4:00 pm

This exercise just seems pointless to me: the Best Foreign Film has traditionally been one of the wonkiest categories in a grand tradition of wonkiness, with the nominees bearing next to no resemblance to any reasonable 'best of the year' selection and, with almost as much regularity, next to no resemblance to which foreign films were most popular in the US. Unless you were going to project an arbitrary, convoluted and inefficient process back into the past and wildly speculate about which obscure official in every (film-making) country in the world might have been tasked with selecting their country's submission (not forgetting to research these individuals' biographies to see whether they ever demonstrated any film preferences), then how would this be a 'Best Foreign Film Oscar' exercise? If you're just going to make a list of which films you reckon Americans today would consider the best of any given year, you can do that anyway, but it would be completely anachronistic and inauthentic to assume that's what pre-56 Oscar selections would have looked like. Never in a million years would The Rules of the Game in 1939 or Late Spring in 1949 have been nominees, for instance.

(I suppose you could perform this exercise satirically and try to select a mediocre, middlebrow, head-scratching selection for every year, in order to stay true to the Foreign Language Oscar spirit, but that seems like a hell of a lot of effort for a very weak joke.)

User avatar
Lemmy Caution
Joined: Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:26 am
Location: East of Shanghai

National Board of Review

#4 Post by Lemmy Caution » Mon Sep 07, 2015 2:34 am

Jakamarak wrote:the National Board of Review began in 1930. In most years they have several selections for "Top Foreign Films", some years they select a winner, and in other years they have a winner and selections.
http://www.imdb.com/event/ev0000464/1930
That's an interesting link. Thanks.
(Note all other years can be selected over on the right side).

jmj713
Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2005 10:47 pm

Re: Pre-1956 Best Foreign Language Film Oscars

#5 Post by jmj713 » Mon Sep 07, 2015 1:10 pm

zedz, I can appreciate your skepticism regarding the Best Foreign Film Oscar. I still find it fascinating which films are submitted by what country and was just wondering what could have been in the 1930s and '40s. Maybe it wouldn't have been the great classics of today, we'll never know unfortunately. But some educated guessing could prove fun. For instance, while the submitted film is not that country's best film every time as deemed by them (some do send their Best Picture), it would be possible to a degree to figure out what the countries might have sent at that time.

Post Reply