As the title state, what is the criteria for selecting a foreign movie (i.e. not made in Hollywood like in Asia or Australia or Europe) for the main category of Oscar awards (i.e. other than foreign language category)?

A little context here. I was watching an Indian movie Ship Of Theseus which was so damn good in both its story and screenplay. But I wondered why it was never considered for the Oscars. The movie, unlike other Indian movies is certified Hinglish (Hindi+English) with 75% of the dialogues in English language.

Is there a criteria as such related to language that makes some movie eligible for Oscars. For example, I've seen several movies from Middle-East and Korean-Japanese movies being nominated.

There is also a category of foreign language film but SOT wasn't selected from India because obviously it was in English majorly and the theme of the movie was a global one and not necessarily represented India alone

(P.S. You can (should and must) watch this film. It's free official HD version is available here.)

  • 2
    I don't understand why you are asking the question. You state yourself that the film you reference is 75% English. Feb 9, 2014 at 22:53

1 Answer 1


These are the relevant rules from the submission guidelines, especially Rule Two: Eligibility:

Paragraph 2 explains the physical characteristics of the film itself:

A. feature length (defined as over 40 minutes),

B. publicly exhibited by means of 35mm or 70mm film, or [...].

C. for paid admission in a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County,

D. for a qualifying run of at least seven consecutive days,

E. advertised and exploited during their Los Angeles County qualifying run customary to industry practice, and

F. within the Awards year deadlines specified in Rule Three.

Paragraph 3 explains the disqualifying rules:

Films that, in any version, receive their first public exhibition or distribution in any manner other than as a theatrical motion picture release will not be eligible for Academy Awards in any category. This includes broadcast and cable television as well as home video and Internet transmission. Motion pictures released in such non-theatrical media on or after the first day of their Los Angeles County qualifying run remain eligible. Also, ten minutes or ten percent of the running time of a film, whichever is shorter, may be shown in a nontheatrical medium prior to the film’s qualifying run.

Paragraph 4 explains the submission requirements:

Eligibility is contingent on the receipt by the Academy of the following information on Official Screen Credits forms, available on the Academy’s website, to be signed by the film’s producer or distributor (unless waived by the Academy), which shall include: [...].

Paragraph 5 concerns certifying the submitted film credits.

Paragraph 6 concerns disputed film credits.

Paragraph 7 concerns disqualification possibility concerning film alterations post-submission.

Paragraph 8 states all films are eligible except if the film is submitted for consideration in any subsequent rule.


Rule Thirteen concerns rules for films submitted for the Foreign Language Film Award. A primary rule there (Rule B) states that "Only one picture will be accepted from each country."

So the conclusion is easy to make. The glory is in the winning, not the fact that you are submitted. Films have the best chance of winning within groups of limiting criteria - Be the "big fish in a little pond."

  • 5
    And while there are guidelines for selections, I have become quite jaded when it come to the Oscars. It seems so self indulged and political that it seems they do not always look for "the best" of anything, but rather try to promote different movies to hype a film for some reason rather than to actually look for what might be the best. It seems they are a bunch of self aggrandizing fools. If it doesn't come from Hollywood, it is looked down upon. There are a lot of great movies, whether in story, in cinematography, acting or directing. Just wish those at the Academy would realize this. Feb 9, 2014 at 20:15

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