The good news is that “All Quiet on the Western Front” is in fairly distinguished company in this regard. The first film to ever be nominated for both Best International Feature Film and Best Picture was the Algerian film “Z” from 1969, which provided a dramatized account of the assassination of Greek politician Grigoris Lambrakis. It took another 29 years for another non-English-language film to be cross-nominated with the Italian Holocaust dramedy “Life is Beautiful.”
Thankfully, it didn’t take nearly as long for another entry to make this list. Ang Lee’s seminal wuxia film “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” would do exactly that just a few years later, although it took more than a decade for another film, Michael Haneke’s “Amour,” to follow suit. The last two entries in this club prior to “Western Front” arrived back-to-back. “Roma” received both nominations during the 92nd Academy Awards ceremony, while “Parasite” broke the nomination-only curse and won both awards the following year. Arguably, the latter movie’s victory was the best thing to happen to us right before the pandemic came a-knocking. (It was also “Parasite” director Bong Joon-ho who famously said, “The Oscars are not an international film festival. They’re very local,” prior to the film’s victory.)
It’s not exactly clear if “All Quiet on the Western Front” will be able to win either or even both awards at the upcoming 95th Academy Awards. However, what is clear is that it serves as a devastating reminder for the ceremony. The chances of it nominating any non-English-language movies for the top prize are slim, despite it claiming to be an awards show for movies of all origins.