With the Oscar nomination for Ciro Guerra’s El abrazo de la serpiente / Embrace of the Serpent, Colombia has become the ninth Latin American country to receive a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards, for a total of 25 Latin American nominations in its 88-year history. Argentina remains the only country to have ever won an Oscar in that category, and it has done it twice.
Mexico is the country with the most Oscar nominations with eight: Macario (Roberto Gavaldón, 1961), which became the first Latin American to be nominated for Best Foreign Language Film; The Important Man / Ánimas Trujano (Ismael Rodríguez, 1961); The Pearl of Tlayucan / Tlayucan (Luis Alcoriza, 1962); Letters from Marusia / Actas de Marusia (Miguel Littín, 1975); Amores Perros (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2000); The Crime of Father Amaro / El crimen del Padre Amaro (Carlos Carrera, 2002); Pan’s Labyrinth / El laberinto del fauno (Guillermo del Toro, 2006); and Biutiful (Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2010).
Argentina has received seven nominations total, having won in 1986 with Luis Puenzo’s The Official Story / La history oficial (pictured above left) and in 2010 with The Secret in Their Eyes / El secreto de sus ojos by Juan José Campanella (pictured above right). The other five Argentinean nominees are The Truce / La tregua (Sergio Renán, 1974); Camila (María Luis Bemberg, 1984), the first nomination for Best Foreign Language Film to a film directed by a Latin American woman director; Tango / Tango, no me dejes nunca (Carlos Saura, 1988); El hijo de la novia / Son of the Bride (Juan José Campanella, 2001); and more recently, Wild Tales / Relatos salvajes (Damián Szifron, 2014).
Brazil has been nominated four times with Keeper of Promises / O Pagador de Promessas (Anselmo Duarte, 1962); O Quatrilho (Fábio Barreto, 1995); Four Days in September / O Que É Isso Companheiro? (Bruno Barreto, 1997). French-Brazilian co-production Black Orpheus / Orfeu Negro by Marcel Camus won the Academy Award in 1959 representing France.
Cuba, Chile, Nicaragua, Peru and Puerto Rico, have earned a nomination each. Cuba earned its nomination with Strawberry and Chocolate / Fresa y chocolate by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea in 1995; Pablo Larraín’s No (pictured left) from Chile was nominated in 2013; Miguel Littín’s Alsino and the Condor / Alsino y el cóndor was Nicaragua’s Oscar nomination in 1963; Milk of Sorrow / La teta asustada (2009) by Claudia Llosa earned Peru’s nomination in 2010; and What Happened to Santiago / Lo que le pasó a Santiago by Jacobo Morales earned the nomination for Puerto Rico in 1990 -it’s important to mention that under new guidelines, Puerto Rico is no longer able to submit candidates to the Oscars.
Uruguay was nominated in 1993 for Adolfo Aristarain’s A Place in the World / Un lugar en el mundo, however the film was declared ineligible and was disqualified after the Academy deemed that the production was largely Argentinean.