If you haven’t spent much time exploring the world of foreign films, you’ve seriously been missing out. Yes, Hollywood is the most famous and culturally significant film factory on earth, but there’s literally a whole world of other movies out there, starring some truly amazing actors and actresses who have been honored with Academy Award nominations for their performances.
It seems as if every movie that’s released by a major Hollywood studio these days is a big-budget sequel, reboot, or superhero adventure. For those of us who are looking for something slightly more, shall we say, cerebral, we suggest exploring acclaimed films produced by foreign studios. Most streaming services offer a wide variety, most cities have an “art house” movie theater or two that showcase them, and the films and actors and actresses that have been nominated for Oscars are always worth watching. (Here’s where to stream 50 great movies you’ve probably never seen.)
Over the years, some films that have won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film (the category was renamed to Best International Feature Film in 2020) have become true classics. “Rashomon” (1951), “8½” (1963), “Amarcord” (1974), “Cinema Paradiso” (1989), and “All About My Mother” (1999) are considered essential viewing for film buffs, and 2019’s winner “Parasite,” was one of the year’s biggest sleeper hits. (These are the 100 best movies of the last 100 years, according to critics.)
Just as many foreign language films have gone on to become classics, many foreign-born actors and actresses who got their start acting in non-English language films have become Oscar-nominated Hollywood stars in their own right, including Sophia Loren, Ingrid Bergman, Javier Bardem, and Penélope Cruz. These are the greatest love stories in movie history.
Click here to see actors who have received Oscar nominations for foreign films
To determine the actors who have received Oscar nominations for foreign films, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Oscar website. We included only performers who received a nomination for best actor or actress or best supporting actor or actress in a foreign language film as categorized by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Data on career Oscars nominations and wins, including performances in both foreign- and English-language films, also came from The Academy. Film titles are given in their English versions if one exists.
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