The 1996 Oscar race has officially begun with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announcing the 39 entries being considered as nominees for best foreign film.

A committee will screen all entries beginning Dec. 4, before nominating five pictures, which will be announced Feb. 11.

The number of foreign submissions has fallen yearly since the 1994 high-water mark of 45. Last year there were 41 official entries.

Historically, France and Italy are tied for the most foreign film Oscars with nine each. Last year, Dutch entry "Antonia's Line" took the international prize.

Each nation is invited to submit its best film of the year, as determined by a jury of filmmakers from the submitting country.

Submitted films may also qualify for Academy Awards in most other categories, provided they meet requirements governing those categories.

Films not selected to represent countries in the foreign category can qualify for Oscars in all other narrative feature categories with a seven-day run in any Los Angeles County theater during 1996.

The 69th Academy Awards presentation will be televised live by ABC from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on March 24. A complete list of submissions and directors:

ALBANIA: "Colonel Bunker," Kujtim Cashku.

ALGERIA: "Hey Cousin!," Merzak Allouache.

ARGENTINA: "Eva Peron," Juan Carlos Desanzo.

AUSTRALIA: "Floating Life," Clara Law.

AUSTRIA: "Hannah," Reihard Schhwabenitzky.

BELARUS: "From Hell to Hell," Dmitri Astrachan.

BELGIUM: "The Eighth Day," Jaco Van Dormael.

BRAZIL: "Tieta of Agreste," Carlos Diegues.

CANADA: "Not Me!," Pierre Gang.

COLOMBIA: "Oedipus Mayor," Jorge Ali Triana.

CROATIA: "Nausikaya," Vicko Ruic.

CUBA: "Think of Me," Arturo Sotto.

CZECH REPUBLIC: "Kolya," Jan Sverak.

DENMARK: "Hamsun," Jan Troell.

FINLAND: "Drifting Clouds," Aki Kaurismaki.

FRANCE: "Ridicule," Patrice Leconte.

GEORGIA: "The Cook in Love," Nana Djordjadze.

GERMANY: "Deathmaker," Romuald Karmakar.

HONG KONG: "Hu-Du-Men," Shu Kei.

HUNGARY: "Vaska Easoff," Peter Gothar.

ICELAND: "Devil's Island," Fridrik Thor Fridriksson.

INDIA: "Indian," S. Shankar.

ISRAEL: "Saint Clara," Ari Folman and Ori Sivan.

ITALY: "My Generation," Wilma Labate.

JAPAN: "A Class to Remember 2," Yoji Yamada.

MEXICO: "Between Pancho Villa and a Naked Woman," Sabrina Berman and Isabelle Tardan.

THE NETHERLANDS: "Long Live the Queen," Esme Lammers.

NORWAY: "The Other Side of Sunday," Berit Otto Nesheim.

THE PHILIPPINES: "Dead Sure," Tikoy Aguiluz.

POLAND: "In Full Gallop," Krzysztof Zanussi.

ROMANIA: "State of Things," Stere Gulea.

RUSSIA: "Prisoner of the Mountains," Sergei Bodrov.

SLOVENIA: "Felix," Bozo Sprajc.

SPAIN: "Bwana," Imanol Uribe.

SWEDEN: "Jerusalem," Bille August.

SWITZERLAND: "Les Agneaux," Marcel Schupbach.

TAIWAN: "Tonight Nobody Goes Home," Sylvia Chang.

VIETNAM: "Gone, Gone, Forever Gone," Ho Quang Minh.

YUGOSLAVIA: "Pretty Village, Pretty Flame," Srdjan Dragojevic.