49 countrieshave submitted films to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences forconsideration in the foreign language category, the Academy announced yesterday(21).

That's down fromthe record number of 55 last year and 54 in 2002. It's also a bad year for theAcademy in that some of the year's most acclaimed foreign-language films areineligible for the award - from Pedro Almodovar's Bad Education which was beaten to the Spanishsubmission by The Sea Inside to Agnes Jaoui's Look At Me which beaten to the French by Les Choristes.

Walter Salles'pan-Latin co-production The Motorcycle Diaries failed to register sufficient elementsfrom any one country to qualify, while Wong Kar-wai's 2046 from Hong Kong/China and Jean-PierreJeunet's A Very Long Engagement from France were both released in their home territories afterthe Academy's new Sept 30 deadline.

Indeed Hong Kongis a notable omission from the list. Johnnie To's Running On Karma was originally submitted to the Academybut might have been ruled ineligible since it opened in Hong Kong before Oct 1,2003.

Popularfrontrunners at this stage, certainly if festival audiences are to be countedforerunners of the Academy's foreign-language film committee, are The SeaInside, Les Choristesand House Of Flying Daggers from China, although other festival favourites like NobodyKnows, Downfall, Innocent Voices, The House Keys and Turtles Can Fly are also contenders.

The submissionsfor 2004 are:

Afghanistan: EarthAnd Ashes (Atiq Rahimi)

Argentina: ALost Embrace (DanielBurman)

Austria: Antares (Gotz Spielmann)

Belgium: The Alzheimer Case (Erik Van Looy)

Bosnia-Herzegovina:Days And Hours (PjerZalica)

Brazil: Olga (Jayme Monjardim)

Bulgaria: MilaFrom Mars (ZornitsaSophia)

Canada: Far Side Of The Moon (Robert Lapage)

Chile: Machuca (Andres Wood)

China: HouseOf Flying Daggers (ZhangYimou)

Croatia: LongDark Night (AntunVrdoljak)

Czech Republic: UpAnd Down (Jan Hfiebejk)

Denmark: TheFive Obstructions(Jorgen Leth and Lars von Trier)

Ecuador: Cronicas (Sebastian Cordero)

Egypt: I LoveCinema (Osama Fawzy)

Estonia: RevolutionOf Pigs (Jaak Kilmi and Rene Reinumaegi))

Finland: Producing Adults (Aleksi Salmenpera)

France: LesChoristes (ChristopheBarratier)

Germany: Downfall (Oliver Hirschbiegel)

Greece: ATouch Of Spice (TassosBoulmetis)

Hungary: Kontroll (Nimrod Antal)

Iceland: Cold Light (HilmarOddsson)

India: Shwaas (Sandeep Sawant)

Iran: Turtles Can Fly (BahmanGhobadi)

Israel: Campfire (Joseph Cedar)

Italy: The House Keys(Gianni Amelio)

Japan: NobodyKnows (HirokazuKore-eda)

Korea: TaeGuk Gi (Kang Je-gyu)

Macedonia: TheGreat Water (IvoTrajikov)

Malaysia: ALegendary Love (SawTeong Hin)

Mexico: InnocentVoices (Luis Mandoki)

The Netherlands:Simon (Eddy Terstall)

Norway: Hawaii,Oslo (Erik Poppe)

Palestine: TheOlive Harvest (HannaElias)

Philippines: CryingLadies (Mark Meily)

Poland: TheWelts (MagdalenaPiekorz)

Portugal: TheMiracle According To Salome (Mario Barroso)

Romania: Orient-Express (Sergiu Nicolaescu)

Russia: NightWatch (TimolirBekmambetov)

Serbia andMontenegro: Goose Feather (Ljubisa Samardzic)

Slovenia: BeneathHer Window (Metod Pevec)

South Africa: Yesterday (Darrell Roodt)

Spain: TheSea Inside (AlejandroAmenabar)

Sweden: As InHeaven (Kay Pollak)

Switzerland: MeinName Ist Bach (Dominiquede Rivaz)

Taiwan: 20:30:40 (Sylvia Chang)

Thailand; TheOverture (ItthisoontornVichailak)

Uruguay: Whisky (Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll)

Venezuela: PuntoY Raya (Elia Schneider)

The 77th Academy Awardnominations will be announced at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater on Jan25, 2005.