Oscar Records: Acting–Nominated or Winning for Foreign Language Films

Actors: Foreign Languages

First actress nominated for performing in a language other than English

Melina Mercouri was nominated for Best Actress for Never on Sunday (1960), performing in Greek

First actor nominated for performing in a language other than English

Marcello Mastroianni was nominated for Best Actor for Divorce, Italian Style (1962), performing in Italian
First actress to win for performing in a language other than English
Sophia Loren won Best Actress for Two Women (1961), performing in Italian
First actor to win for performing in a language other than English
Robert De Niro won Best Supporting Actor for The Godfather Part II (1974), performing in Italian

First actress to win for performing in a sign language
Marlee Matlin won Best Actress for Children of a Lesser God (1986), performing in American Sign Language
First French actress to be nominated for performing in the French language
Anouk Aimée was nominated for Best Actress for A Man and a Woman (1966)
First French actress to win for performing in the French language
Marion Cotillard won Best Actress for La Vie en rose (2007). She is the only actress to date to have won it.
First Nordic actress to be nominated for acting
Greta Garbo (from Sweden) was nominated for Best Actress for Anna Christie (1930)
First Nordic actor to be nominated for acting
Max von Sydow (from Sweden) was nominated for Best Actor for Pelle the Conqueror (1988)
First Nordic actress to win for acting
Ingrid Bergman (from Sweden) won Best Actress for Gaslight (1944)
First actor from Africa to be nominated for acting
Basil Rathbone (from South Africa), nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Romeo and Juliet (1936)
First actress from Africa to win for acting
Charlize Theron (from South Africa), won Best Actress for Monster (2003)
First actress from Asia to win for acting
Miyoshi Umeki (from Japan), won Best Supporting Actress for Sayonara (1957)

First Asian (and non-Caucasian) to win Best Director
Ang Lee (from Taiwan) for Brokeback Mountain (2005)
First Australian actress to win Best Actress
Nicole Kidman for The Hours (2002) – Born in the U.S.
First Australian actor to win Best Actor
Peter Finch for Network (1976)

First French actress to win Best Actress
Claudette Colbert for It Happened One Night (1934)
First French actor to win Best Actor
Jean Dujardin for The Artist (2011)
First Italian actress to win Best Actress
Anna Magnani for The Rose Tattoo (1955)
First Italian actor to win Best Actor
Roberto Benigni for Life Is Beautiful (1998)
First German actress to win Best Actress
Luise Rainer for The Great Ziegfeld (1937)
First German actor to win Best Actor
Emil Jannings (born in Switzerland) for The Way of All Flesh (1927) and The Last Command (1928)
First Austrian actor to win twice for acting
Christoph Waltz won Best Supporting Actor for Inglorious Basterds (2009) and Django Unchained (2012)
First Canadian to win in any category
Mary Pickford in the Best Actress category for Coquette in 1928/9
First Canadian actor to win in an acting category
Harold Russell for The Best Years of Our Lives in 1946
First Canadian director to win Best Director
James Cameron for Titanic in 1998
First persons from India to win in any music category
A. R. Rahman won Best Original Score and Best Original Song (“Jai Ho”) for Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Gulzar also won Best Original Song (“Jai Ho”) for Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
First Middle Eastern/North African actor to be nominated for acting
Omar Sharif, nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
First Middle Eastern movie to win Best Foreign Language Film
A Separation (2011), representing Iran
First foreign actress to be nominated twice for Best Actress for foreign-language films without the films receiving a Best Foreign Language Film nomination
Marion Cotillard (from France) won Best Actress for La Vie en Rose (2007) and was nominated for Two Days, One Night (2014)