It’s that time of year when the Academy announces its various shortlists prior to the holiday season. And perhaps the most eagerly anticipated of them all is the shortlist for Best Foreign Language Film. This year is truly shaping up to be one of the most nail-bitingly competitive years ever for this contentious category. And if 2016’s shocking lineup is an indication, there will be more surprises in store when the 9 lucky films are announced next week. Indeed, predicting this category can be a fool’s errand. But Awards Circuit embraces the challenge. Here is my rundown of the current state of the Oscar race for Best Foreign Language Film.