The top four countries with the most number of best foreign language film trophies from the Oscar Awards are Italy, France. Japan and Spain. Among themselves, they accounted for 33 of the 65 Oscar trophies already given out in this category.
Interestingly, four of the five directors with the most number of wins in this category came from Italy (Federico Fellini and Vittorio de Sica with 4 trophies each), Japan (Akira Kurosawa with 2 trophies) and France (Rene Clement with 2 trophies). Director Ingmar Bergman accounted for all three best foreign language films for Sweden.
Japan is the only Asian country in the top four garnering Oscars in 1951 for Rashomon by Akira Kurosawa, in 1954 for Gate of Hell by Teinosuke Kinugasa, in 1955 for Samurai, The Legend of Musashi by Hiroshi Inagaki and in 2008 for Departures by Yojiro Takita. But Japan went through a long drought of 53 years before it won its fourth trophy. Twelve Japanese films had been nominated.
Spain’s four trophies were for: 1982’s Begin the Beguine by Jose Luis Garcia, 1993’s Belle Epoque by Fernando Trueba, 1997’s All About My Mother by Pedro Almodovar, and 2004’s The Sea Inside by Alejandro Amenabar. Spain also accounted for 19 nominations
France won 12 Oscar best foreign language film trophies in the 48 times it was nominated, actually the highest number of nominations ever. The country garnered its first Oscar in 1948 for Monsieur Vincent by Maurice Cloche. Its last win was in 1992 for Indochine by Regis Warquier. It has been without an Oscar for the last 20 years.
The other winning French films were 1950’s The Walls of Malapaga by Rene Clement (actually a co-production with Italy); 1952’s Forbidden Games by Rene Clement; 1958’s My Uncle by Jacques Tati; 1959’s Black Orpheus by Marcel Camus; 1962’s Sundays and Cybele by Serge Bourguignon;
1966’s A Man and a Woman by Claude Lelouch; 1972’s The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie by Luis Bunuel; 1973’s Day for Night by Francois Truffaut; 1977’s Madame Rosa by Moshe Mizrahi; and 1978’s Get Out Your Handkerchiefs by Bertrand Blier.
The winningest nation in this Oscar category is Italy which bested France with just a single trophy, having chalked up 13 awards so far. But it trails France in the number of nominated films with 27.
Italy’s first trophy was for 1947’s Shoeshine by Vittorio de Sica and the last was for 1998’s Life is Beautiful by Roberto Benigni.
The other 11 winning films were: 1949’s The Bicycle Thief by Vittorio de Sica; 1950’s The Walls of Malapaga by Rene Clement; 1956’s La Strada by Federico Fellini; 1957’s Nights of Cabria by Federico Fellini; 1963’s 81/2 by Federico Fellini; 1964’s Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow by Vittorio de Sica;
1970’s Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion by Elio Petri; 1971’s The Garden of Finzi-Continis by Vittorio de Sica; 1974’s Amarcord by Federico Fellini; 1989’s Cinema Paradiso by Giuseppe Tomatore; and 1991’s Mediterranean by Gabriele Salvatores.
The Top Directors
According to Oscar facts and figures, the following directors notched at least two best foreign language film trophies for their films:
Winners of Two trophies
Rene Clement, France (Mar. 18, 1913—Mar. 17, 1996) for The Walls of Malapaga (1950) and Forbidden Games (1952)
Akira Kurosawa, Japan (Mar. 23, 1910—Sept. 6, 1998) for Rashomon (1951) and Dersu Uzala (a 1975 Soviet Union film)
Winner of Three Trophies
Ingmar Bergman, Sweden (July 14, 1918—July 30, 2007) for The Virgin Spring (1960), Through a Glass Darkly (1961) and Fanny and Alexander (1983)
Winners of Four Trophies
Vittorio de Sica, Italy (July 7, 1901—Nov. 13, 1974) for Shoeshine (1947), The Bicycle Thief (1949), Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1964) and The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1971)
Federico Fellini, Italy (Jan. 20, 1920—Oct. 31, 1993) for La Strada (1956), Nights of Cabiria (1957), 8 1/2 (1963) and
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