Foreign Films at the Oscars

The 85th Academy Awards are upon us! Sure, the glitz and glam of red carpet coverage is fun to watch, but behind the designer bags and gowns are actors, directors, casts, and crews of people who've worked hard to create the sort of films they hope will become embedded in our memories as truly great. While the Oscars are thought of as a Hollywood institution, a rich history of foreign films exists within the tradition.

 Jerry Lewis with Dino De Laurentiis & Federico Fellini (1957)
When the first Academy Awards ceremony was held in 1929, there was no separate category to recognize foreign language films. The Academy did issue honorary Oscars to foreign language films between 1947 and 1955, but they weren't given out every year, and they weren't competitive (only one film was honored). It wasn't until the 29th Academy Awards in 1957 that a competitive, annual category, Best Foreign Language Film, was created to honor non-English speaking films. Since 1947, there have been 64 Oscars presented to honor foreign films, 51 of which that have gone to European films (Italy holds the record with 10 awards, 3 special awards, and 27 nominations).

Outside the Best Foreign Language Film category, many foreign films have risen to critical acclaim, including last year's winner for Best Picture, The Artistwhich was financed by France. But while that may be true, non-English speaking films aren't often considered for Best Picture - only nine have been nominated to date. In fact, one of the nine, Austria's French language film Amour, was nominated this year and won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film. Additionally, only twelve films financed outside the U.S. have won Best Picture, eleven of which were funded at least in part by the United Kingdom.
Day-Lewis, Cotillard, Swinton, & Bardem pose with their Oscars (2008).
Films aside, many award-nominated and winning actors and actresses hail from countries outside the U.S. The 80th Academy Awards ceremony was a big one for foreign acting - all four of the major acting awards went to foreign actors and actresses.  Marion Cotillard of France won Best Actress for her portrayal of Édith Piaf in La Vie en Rose; English actor Daniel Day-Lewis won Best Actor for his work in There Will Be Blood; Javier Bardem of Spain was awarded Best Supporting Actor for his role in No Country for Old Men; and British actress Tilda Swinton snagged the Best Supporting Actress award for her performance in Michael Clayton

Emmanuelle Riva in Amour
Foreign language performances have also been recognized in the Academy Awards since 1961. Up to this year's awards, 28 actors and actresses have been nominated for Oscars for foreign language performances. Eight of them have won, and five have received multiple nominations. Recent winners include Christoph Waltz and Penélope Cruz for supporting roles, and the aforementioned Marion Cotillard for Best Actress. This year, Emmanuelle Riva is nominated for Best Actress for her performance in Best Picture-nominated Amour, so the upcoming ceremony could be another big year for foreign films and actors!

What's your favorite foreign film?

Announcing…The Abbey Road 2013 eBrochure!

The Abbey Road 2013 eBrochure is now available! Download one today as we have made a few exciting changes to our summer programs. Here are a couple of 2013 summer highlights…In Italy, Florence now includes five-day travel excursion to Rome and in Spain, Barcelona now begins with an exciting week in Madrid! For all of the 2013 program updates, check out the new Abbey Road eBrochure! Visit the Abbey Road Website and download one today. 

2012 Alumni Photo Contest Winners!

A huge THANK YOU to all of the students who participated in this year's Abbey Road Alumni Photo Contest! Congratulations to our winners and a big thanks to everyone who voted for their favorite finalists! The votes have been tallied and this year's photo contest winners are....

Best of Italy
Italian Pride, Submitted by Rachel M.

Best of Spain
Cadiz Alley, Submitted by Mads K.

Best of France
Les Gorge du Verdon, France Submitted bu Elsa A.

Best of Other Destinations
View from Mycenae, Submitted by Addie T.

Best Artistic
Clock at Musee d' Orsay, Submitted by Addie T.

Karaoke, Submitted by Aubrey G.

Best Activities
Isola, Submitted by Vicky V.

Best Overall
Cinque Terre, Submitted by Rachel M.

Time to Rock the Vote!

The 2012 Abbey Road Summer Alumni Photo Contest has come to an end. A huge thank you to all who participated! After careful review we have selected four finalists for each category. Now it is your turn to the rock the vote and select a winner. To cast your vote, simply look to the right and click on the name and number of the photo in each category that you think should win!  It's that easy! The polls will be open for 1 week and will officially close Tuesday, November 27th at 3pm. So don’t delay and make sure to be heard! Good luck to our finalists!

Best of Italy
1. Cinque Terre

2. Colosseum

3. Firenze

4. Italian Pride
Best of Spain

1. Cadiz Alley

2. Cathedral

3. Beach

4. La Caleta

Best of France

1. Les Gorges du Verdon, France

2. Marseille

3. St. Jean Cap Ferrat

4. Waterfall, Nice

Best of Other Destinations

1. Charles Bridge, Prague

2. John Lennon Wall

3. Sound of Music Tour

4. View from Mycenae

Best Artistic

1. Juan-les-Pins, France

2. Pantheon Fountain

3. Clock at Musee d'Orsay

4. Fountain Fun


1. Eze

2. Karaoke

3. What's that smell?
4. Beach Time Fun

Best Activities
1. Swings, Cadiz

2. Isola

3. Water Fight!

4. Parasailing

Best Overall:
The Spirit of Abbey Road

1. Sunset in Nice

2. Piazza Navona by Night

3. Cinque Terre

4. Cassis, France

5. Leading the Pack, Saint-Paul-de-Vence

6. Sunny Day in St.Tropez

7. Memories!

8. Music of Barcelona

9. Arles

That's a Wrap!

That’s a wrap, Abbey Roaders! After a farewell BBQ last night at Stanford University, all of our programs are now complete and this summer was a HUGE success!

We hope you have learned new skills, gained a greater sense of respomsibility, and immersed yourselves in different cultures. 

As always, thanks so much for your support. We’ll keep posting throughout the year, and we hope to see you next summer! Good luck with the upcoming school year. — at Stanford University.