The Golden Globes just announced a new rule change that would've permitted "Letters from Iwo Jima" to compete in the top best picture race, as it did at the Oscars, instead of being relegated to best foreign-language film. This year "The Kite Runner" and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" would've been able to make the cut, but, alas, they must stay put in the foreign slot because the rule change doesn't kick in till next.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association elected to change the Best Foreign Language Film rules so that foreign language films that have the United States as their country of origin will qualify in the Best Motion Picture category instead of the Best Foreign Language Film category, it was announced today by Jorge Camara, President.
The new rules for Best Foreign Language Film stipulate:
"Only feature length films with a basically non-English dialogue track first released in their country of origin during the 14-months period from November 1 to December 31, prior to the Awards, are eligible for consideration. The film need not have been released in the United States, but each film can only qualify once for consideration. There is no limit to the number of films that can be submitted from a specific country. Only films with at least fifty one percent non-English language dialogue track, which originated outside the United States, will be considered in this category. If the country of origin is the United States, but the feature film has at least fifty one percent of non-English dialogue, the film will qualify in the Best Motion Picture category."
"Since US-based directors and producers are now making films in a foreign language with increasing frequency, the membership felt it was more equitable that these movies should compete in the Best Motion Picture categories," said Camara. "These new guidelines will commence with The 2009 Golden Globe Awards since the members agreed that it is too late to change the rules just a few months before this year's nominations are announced. This way everyone knows ahead of time that there are new rules and that they will take effect with the 2008 releases. The HFPA will continue to evaluate each film's qualification on a picture by picture basis."
Films that qualify for the best foreign language film award consideration also qualify for Golden Globe Awards in all other categories except Best Motion Picture (Drama) and Best Motion Picture (Comedy or Musical), Camara added.The deadline for submission of Golden Globe entry forms is Friday, November 9.