The National Society of Film Critics was founded in 1966 in order to promote the mutual interests of film-making and film criticism. Its membership is by election, and includes the critics of most major American newspapers and prominent online websites as well as critics from smaller/regional newspapers, free weeklies, major weekly magazines, specialized film journals, and freelance journalists.
The NSFC holds an annual meeting in early January to award the the best film-making of the previous year. There is no nomination process prior to the vote; every film which had a theatrical release in the U.S. in the previous year is eligible. There is no division of voting by trade (actors, screenwriters, directors, etc.). The meeting is not televised or otherwise “prettied up” with awards ceremonies, presenters, etc. The results are disseminated to the press and publicists immediately after the meeting.
[UPDATE, JAN. 7, 2017: “Toni Erdmann” announced as 2016 Best Foreign Film Winner]
I am compiling this list both for my own benefit (to have one easy place to refer to the NSFC Best Foreign Language Films) and for your benefit (especially if you’re not aware of the NSFC or its award winners). I will write my reviews for each film as I see it (I have seen some of these films previously; I will see them again before I review them).
NOTE: The NSFC began voting for “Best Foreign Language Film” in 1990, and so this lists starts with 1990. Prior to 1990 foreign language films could (and often did) win the NSFC award for Best Picture (see my other list: National Society of Film Critics: Best Picture Winners 1966-2016). Since 1990, however, when a foreign language film wins Best Picture, there is no separate award for “Best Foreign Language Film” for that year. This has happened five times:
2000: Yi Yi
2006: Pan’s Labyrinth
2008: Waltz with Bashir
2014: Goodbye to Language
Since these films are in my NFSC Best Picture list, and since they technically did not win a separate award for Best Foreign Language Film, they are not listed here in this list for purposes of clarity.
For more information about the NSFC: https://nationalsocietyoffilmcritics.com/
For a list of members: https://nationalsocietyoffilmcritics.com/members/