The Academy has not yet unveiled the official list of contenders for this year's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar race (expect a press release some time this week), but keeping track of the entries as the various countries have submitted, we can go ahead and report that we've already broken last year's record of 76.
Countries like Kyrgyzstan, Ireland and Cuba declared this week, pushing the number up to 77. Three countries – Mauritania, Panama and Kosovo – have submitted for the first time ever. Others that have submitted multiple times in the past but haven't yet spoken up this year, if indeed they will, include Albania, Algeria, Indonesia and Kazakhstan. So it's entirely possible the record number ends up even higher.
It's worth pointing out, though, that there could always be disqualifications for one reason or the other. The submissions list to date isn't official quite yet, after all.
We've seen very little intrigue so far in the race. There was a little bit of controversy around the submissions from Bulgaria and Ukraine, as well as France's decision to steer clear of last year's Palme d'Or winner, “Blue is the Warmest Color,” but that's about it. Everyone expected Russia to stir up controversy by picking anything other than the politically critical “Leviathan,” but the country went with the Cannes prize winner at the end of the day, as it happened. China interestingly opted out of submitting yet another Zhang Yimou film (“Coming Home”) in favor of the French-Chinese co-production “The Nightingale,” but that's really it.
Me? I'll be pulling for Hungary's “White God” and Argentina's “Wild Tales” (pictured above) the whole way. They would bring a lot of flavor and diversity to the list should they make the cut.
We'll reassess when the final list is unveiled. From there, a list of nine finalists will be reveled in the coming months, with the five eventual nominees announced alongside all other Oscar nominations on Jan. 15, 2015.
You can check out the full list of submissions so far right here.