"Amour," "Letters from Iwo Jima," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Life Is Beautiful," and "The Postman" are five of only nine foreign films to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. In 1938, "Grand Illusion" became the first foreign film to be nominated for Best Picture, followed by "Z," "The Emigrants," and "Cries and Whispers." However, none of the nominees were awarded the Oscar.
Foreign films are not the same as foreign language films. Foreign films are made in countries other than the United States, regardless of whether or not the characters speak English. Foreign language films are primarily non-English speaking, with no regards as to the location in which it was filmed. A primarily Spanish-speaking cast in a film produced in the United States is still considered a foreign language film.
While most foreign language films are, in fact, foreign, American, non-English speaking films have been nominated for Oscars. "The Passion of the Christ" and "Letters from Iwo Jima" (remake, 2006), received nominations in other categories, but American films are not eligible for the Best Foreign Language Oscar, even if no English is spoken. However, English-dialogued foreign films can be nominated.
The Best Picture Oscar is the most sought-after in the academy, as every component of production is taken into consideration when scoring nominees.