“After the wonderfully imaginative Mexican movie Pan’s Labyrinth chalked up three quick victories — for art direction, makeup and cinematography — it must have looked to most people like a major upset when it lost best foreign-language film to the German The Lives of Others,” writes Newsweek‘s David Ansen.

“But the entire Academy doesn’t vote in this category, only those members who have seen all five nominated films. Which means that closer to 500 people, rather than 5,800 (the membership of the Academy), choose the winner, and anyone with his ear to the ground could hear the enthusiasm that Florian Henckel von Donnersmark‘s tale of the East German Stasi generated in Hollywood screening rooms.

“Had The Lives of Others gotten a wider release in ’06 (it only played a one-week qualifying run in Los Angeles) it would probably have received nominations in other categories as well, such as original screenplay and perhaps even direction.”