- Ajami (Israel)
- Kelin (Kazakhstan)
- The Milk of Sorrow (Peru)
- A Prophet (France)- winner of the Grand Prix (second place) at Cannes 2009
- Samson & Delilah (Australia)
- El Secreto de Sus Ojos (Argentina)
- The White Ribbon (Germany)- winner of the Palme D'Or at Cannes; Golden Globe winner
- Winter in Wartime (The Netherlands)
- The World is Big & Salvation Lurks Around the Corner (Bulgaria)
The Academy shortlist usually takes quite a beating, and usually it's fairly apt. For instance the strange and unfortunate snubbing of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days in 2007, a film that won the top award at Cannes and was considered to be one of the strongest international films that year. Other examples are the shameful snubbings of Pedro Almodovar's work-- although the guy has two Oscars so maybe we shan't feel to badly for the guy.
Of 2009 foreign slate, I've hear of about half this list, and need to see The White Ribbon. Of the bigger submissions not selected a few notables: I Killed My Mother, from Canada and Mother, from South Korea. Of foreign films released in the United States this year not included are Broken Embraces, The Maid, and Coco Before Chanel.