By John H. Foote
In a move I applaud and have challenged for years the Academy has renamed their Best Foreign Language Film, altered the criteria slightly to include English language films from English speaking countries such as Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland and wherever English might be spoken.
The Foreign Language Oscar has been renamed Best International Feature Film.
In the past, great films from other countries have not been included among the nominees because a foreign language was not used. Thus brilliant films from Canada such as Away from Her (2007), The Apprenticeship Of Duddy Kravitz (1974), The Sweet Hereafter (1997), Last Night (1998), and The Red Violin (1998) were snubbed. The brilliant Scottish film Trainspotting (1996) was ignored, as well as fine British cinema such as The Third Man (1949) and countless others.
Though many French, Inuit, and Hindi speaking films from Canada have been nominated for Foreign Language Film, no English speaking film, however deserved, has earned the honour. Great move Academy.
Seriously! Smart, inclusive move.
One of Canada’s best-known film critics, he spent 10 years on TV as co-host of Reel to Real, and another 10 in education (still writing as a critic) as Director of the Toronto Film School, where he created the curriculum for three programs and taught film history. Film has always been his passion. He has written for magazines such as Toronto Life, Fashion and Hollywood North, been quoted in the Los Angeles and New York Times, as well as the major Toronto dailies. Online he has written for such sites as The Wrap, In Contention, Awards Circuit and The Cinemaholic. His first book Clint Eastwood – Evolution of a Filmmaker, was published in 2010. His second Steven Spielberg: American Film Visionary, a massive volume, has just found a publisher and he’s working on American Film Renaissance – 1967-2018 with Nick Maylor. As a critic, he has had the good fortune to interview directors and stars such as Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Robert Duvall, Emma Stone, Jane Fonda, and countless others. As he quips, “Everyone but Jack Nicholson!”