Chinese drama "Back to 1942" lead a pack of films submitted by 76 countries and regions to compete in the Foreign Language Film category of the 86th Academy Awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said on Monday.
The Chinese film, which was directed by Feng Xiaogang, joined Hong Kong drama "The Grandmaster" which was helmed by Wong Kar-wai, and its Taiwanese counterpart "Soul" from Chung Mong-Hong as major players from East Asian regions.
South Korean director Kang Yi-Kwan's "Juvenile Offender" and Japanese director Ishii Yuya's drama "The Great Passage" were also listed as eligible entries in contention for the major honor.
The total number of countries or regions which submitted the films represented a record high, the Academy said. The previous record was set last year, when 71 films were eligible.
Moldova and Saudi Arabia submitted films for the first time, and Montenegro did so for the first time as an independent country, according to the Academy.
Iran, which has been a formidable force in the contention, ended a one-year boycott of the Oscars to enter Asghar Farhadi's " The Past."
The Academy will unveil five nominees for the honor on Jan. 16 and award the recipient March 2 at the Dolby Theater at Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles.