Paddy was up against his fellow Americans and two European films - France's Cousin cousin, and Italy's Seven Beauties. A different time indeed - from 1945-1980, a 35-year period, 38 foreign language films were nominated for Best Original Screenplay! That's at least one a year, and then some. After that, though, it starts to get more scarce - a Life is Beautiful here, a Barbarian Invasions there - until A Separation becomes the most recent foreign language nominee in this category...and that was already five years ago.
(It should be noted - 2006 was an unusual year, with the multilingual Babel, the Japanese-language Letters from Iwo Jima, and the Spanish-language Pan's Labyrinth all in competition. Another outlier, considering recent history, is 2002, where Y Tu Mamá También was nominated, and Talk to Her won.)
What will the future bring? Maybe more like this year's Oscars, where foreign writers are nominated for English-language works, such as The Lobster's Greek filmmakers Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou. But I do hope that, eventually, we can get back to an international lineup.
And now, the nominees of 1976.