Oscar Impact: Foreign Language Film

Winning an Oscar for the Best Foreign-Language Picture is also commercially beneficial, though with considerably less impact. The 1959's winning French film, Black Orpehus, benefited in several ways: at least a 50 percent increase in bookings, particularly in cities seldom showing foreign fare, and a double in its gross at the box office. Pedro Almodovar's serio comedy-melodrama, All About My Mother, also added two to three million dollars to its box office after grabbing the 1999 Best ForeignLanguage Picture Oscar.

For the Best Foreign-Language films even a nomination makes their directors instantly and internationally marketable. Polish director Agnieszka Holland, whose Angry Harvest was nominated for the 1985 Oscar, found it much easier to get funding for her future work.

Similarly, nominated director Mike Figgis refused to view the omission of Leaving Las Vegas from the 1995 Best Picture nominees as a snub, claiming: “Everything is a bonus. The awards will provide the film with an exposure to audiences it would not have otherwise had.”

In 1995, aside from Leaving Las Vegas, the movies that gained overseas were Sense and Sensibility, Dead Man Walking, and Nixon. The foreign distributors of these pictures held off on their theatrical release until Oscar time. Industry recognition, by way of Oscar nominations and awards, increased the films' commercial prospects abroad.