I'm surprised it's taken this long for me to have to write one of these posts -- international submissions for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar usually start trickling through in July or so. So expect a lot more of these announcements before the October 1 deadline for submissions. We'll be keeping track of them -- or doing our best to, as they begin flooding in in the thick of festival season -- on our Contenders page for the category.
Anyway, Morocco is first out of the gate this year, having selected Faouzi Bensaidi's socially-minded thriller "Death for Sale" as their best hope for awards glory. Perhaps the country's selectors are feeling a little more confident, having unexpectedly cracked the nine-film longlist for the first time back in January with the under-the-radar prison drama "Omar Killed Me," and therefore having come tantalizingly close to their first Oscar nomination. Not a prolific film industry by any means, Morocco has only entered the race eight times since 1977.