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Tuesday, 20 November, 2001, 10:27 GMT
Amelie leads record Oscars chase
Amelie: Tipped for Academy Award success
Amelie: Tipped for Academy Award success
Next year's Oscar for best foreign language film will be contested by a record 51 countries.

French hit Amelie is among the early favourites, while countries including Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Tanzania and Uruguay have submitted films for the first time.

The total of 51 entries has increased from last year's tally of 46.

Crouching Tiger won four Oscars in 2001
Crouching Tiger won four Oscars in 2001
Each country can submit one film, and the 51 entrants will be whittled down to five that will be nominated for the award.

Other tips for the prize, to be handed out at the Academy Awards ceremony in March, include Indian epic Lagaan and Dark Blue World by Czech director Jan Sverak.

The United Kingdom entry is Welsh-language film Oed Yr Addewid - or Do Not Go Gentle - which is described as a tragicomedy about an old man whose odd behaviour begins to affect his family.

Judges will start watching the films at the end of November before deciding which five productions will be formally nominated for the Oscar.

Rush

"I'm always glad to see new countries coming in," awards co-ordinator Patrick Stockstill told the Hollywood Reporter.

"But it does create that LA freeway, rush-hour block of trying to get screenings scheduled.

Recent winners
2001 - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Taiwan)
2000 - All About My Mother (Spain)
1999 - Life Is Beautiful (Italy)
1998 - Character (Netherlands)
1997 - Kolya (Czech Republic)
"That's my biggest problem - but it's a happy problem."

Nominees in the foreign language section are also eligible for other awards.

In 1999, Roberto Benigni's La Vita Bella, or Life Is Beautiful, won the foreign prize and was also nominated for Best Picture.

Last year, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon added the foreign statuette to three other Oscars.

Offbeat comedy Amelie, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, has been mentioned as another foreign language film that could also enjoy wider Oscar success.

Rain Man and Galaxy Quest producer Mark Johnson will head the Foreign Language Film Award Committee that will choose the five nominees, to be unveiled on 12 February.

The Academy Award winners will be announced at the most prestigious ceremony of the film industry's year, in Los Angeles, on 24 March.

See also:

05 Oct 01 | Reviews
Spellbinding Amelie
03 Nov 01 | South Asia
India enters Lagaan for Oscars
21 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Crouching Tiger leads Oscars assault
22 Aug 01 | Film
Oscar hopes for Thai movie
26 Mar 01 | Film
Crowe leads Gladiator to glory
17 Sep 01 | Film
Amelie wins at low-key Toronto
26 Jun 01 | South Asia
Bollywood breaks the mould
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