The foreign-language Oscar race is heating up, as a good deal of high-profile names are being added to the list of contenders. Earlier Kevin reported that Guillermo Del Toro's Pan's Labrynth is Mexico's submission, and Kim has pointed out that other familiar names like Deepa Mehta and Ari Kuarismaki plus the much buzzed-about The Lives of Others are all up for nominations, as well. The best odds of a guaranteed spot in the noms, however, has to be Volver, which has just been announced as Spain's official entry. This was a bit of a surprise considering Pedro Almodóvar's past couple films were not submitted by Spain (Talk to Her ended up being nominated for ,and winning, the Best Original Screenplay award), but seeing as the Academy loves him (he also won the foreign-language Oscar for All About My Mother), the country must have realized it is in their favor to let the filmmaker represent them.

Not only will Volver certainly be nominated, I figure it also has the best chance to win. Of course, the Academy could also give another director a shot this time around. No matter who gets the prize, this category is going to be a lot more interesting (and better filled) in 2007 than it was in 2006.