Dozens of countries submit one film each for the foreign-language Oscar category. Those entries will be whittled down into a nine-film shortlist, and eventually, five Academy Award nominees.
New York-based Latvian filmmaker Baumane chose an unconventional route for premiering her film, which has paid off. Instead of unveiling the feature at a major animation festival, she premiered it earlier this summer at the prestigious Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic. In the festival’s 68-year history, Rocks was the first animated feature to compete in the official selection, and it ended up winning the festival’s International Film Critics (FIPRESCI) Prize.
Zeitgeist Films began distributing Rocks in My Pockets in the United States earlier this month. The film will be distributed online by YEKRA.
At least twelve countries have submitted animated features for foreign-language Oscar consideration in the past, but only one animated film has ever been nominated in the category: Israel’s Waltz with Bashir. Below is Cartoon Brew’s list of countries that have submitted animated films in the category prior to Rocks in My Pockets.
1953: France, Johnny the Giant Killer
1975: Belgium, Tarzoon Shame of the Jungle
1982: Romania, Quo Vadis Homo Sapiens?
1986: Hungary, Cat City
1994: Japan, Pom Poko
1997: Croatia, Lapitch the Little Shoemaker
1997: Japan, Princess Mononoke
1999: Argentina, Manuelita
2002: Chile, Ogu and Mampato on Easter Island
2005: Luxembourg, Renart the Fox
2007: France, Persepolis
2008: Israel, Waltz with Bashir (nominated)
2011: Singapore, Tatsumi
2013: Uruguay, Anina
And if you’re wondering, being selected as a country’s entry in the foreign-language category of the Academy Awards doesn’t disqualify a film from also competing in the animated feature category.