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I was just glancing through Martin Knelman's book HOME MOVIES: TALES FROM
THE CANADIAN FILM WORLD when I came across this description of the Academy
process (at least as it was in 1988): "In order to vote for best foreign
film, an academy member must have seen all five nominated films... It tends
to be the older, retired members who have time to go to the screenings of
all the nominated films. This means the voting tends to be done by the most
conservative wing of an organization that tends to be conservative in
general."

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Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite
http://www.tcf.ua.edu/ScreenSite