This is great because it means that AMPAS didn't disqualify any of the 68 previously announced films...Some national submissions were definitely borderline, so I applaud them for showing some flexibility!
You can see the official list here:
KENYA was accepted to the competition for the first time (though their press release indicates they previously tried to send "Heart of Fire" a German co-production filmed in Kenya by an Italian director, about the civil war in Eritrea...) while CAMBODIA, GREENLAND and MALAYSIA all submitted for the second time.
I find it interesting that every year, we see some common themes crossing across international boundaries. As always, we see a lot of historical themes revolving about World War II (Australia, Macedonia, Russia, Serbia), Communism (Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Poland, Ukraine) and Latin American dictatorships in the 1970s (Argentina, Chile, Peru) plus cute kids coming of age (Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Netherlands, Palestine).....
However, this year we're also seeing movies about "reality TV and the new media" (China, Dominican Republic, Georgia), "young women crossing borders to seek a better life" (Kyrgyzstan, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia), as well as "eldercare/convalescent care" (Afghanistan, Austria, France, Uruguay) reflecting a number of global trends.
We also have one documentary short, one silent movie, a remake of a telenovela and a kickboxing movie! And with eleven films directed by women, I think that's a new record as well.....
Over the next few months, I'll be doing an analysis of the 71 films from the front-runners (probably Australia and Austria) to the longest of long-shots (probably Greece and Lithuania) and everyone in-between. I've seen five of the nominees and hope to see a lot more in the coming months.
PS- For those of you living in the United States, two of the nominees are already available on Netflix (Hong Kong and Thailand)