A record 92 countries have entered the race hoping to snag an Oscar for best foreign language film at next year's awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced on Thursday.
Among the contenders that have created a buzz this year is Angelina Jolie's "First They Killed My Father" from Cambodia, Robin Camillo's "BPM (Beats Per Minute)" from France, Ziad Doueiri's "The Insult" from Lebanon and Joachim Trier's "Thelma" from Norway.
Swedish art world satire "The Square," directed by Ruben Ostlund, was the shock winner at the Cannes Film Festival this year and is also among the contenders.
First-time entrants include Haiti ("Ayiti Mon Amour"), Lao People's Democratic Republic ("Dearest Sister") and Syria ("Little Gandhi").
Last year's Oscar for best foreign language film went to Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's "The Salesman."
Farhadi boycotted the ceremony over US President Donald Trump's visa ban barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, from entering the United States.
Nominations for the 90th Academy Awards will be announced on January 23 and the glitzy ceremony will be held on March 4 in Hollywood.