The Bagger (a.k.a., N.Y. Times Oscar guy David Carr) is is looking at language wrinkles regarding Babel‘s eligibility for the Golden Globes Best Picture Drama (which it won), and also the Academy’s for Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Feature.
A Paramount Vantage spokesperson tells Carr that 45 minutes of Babel is spoken in English, 33 minutes in Japanese, 24 in Arabic, 23 in Spanish and 10 seconds in French — a total of 80 minutes spoken in foreign tongues, or nearly double the time spoken in English. Carr reportss that the Academy rules state that “a foreign language film is defined as a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States of America with a predominantly non-English dialogue track.” The rule, however, is only used for deciding what movies can be nominated in the best foreign film category. For best picture, any movie, in any language, or languages, is eligible for The Win.
The Babel eligibility issue “never came up,” says Hollywood Foreign Press Assocation president Philip Burke. “It was submitted as an English language film by the studio and it never occurred to anyone that this was a foreign language film. The predominant language is English. The film begins with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, who are obviously tourists speaking English in a foreign country.”