The 90th Academy Awards may prove to be the most contentious in years. It is, admittedly, early to speculate. However, there are plenty of films coming out of the festival circuit and a surprising number of mainstream Hollywood films that could hold a seat at the Oscar's table.

Most Oscar races end up coming down to two or three nominees. Last year, Best Picture came down to "La La Land" and "Moonlight," Best Actor to Denzel Washington and Casey Affleck, Best Actress to Natalie Portman and Emma Stone, etc.

Selecting the Best Foreign Language Film nominees

In 2018, one category in particular may be a difficult nut to crack from a predicting standpoint.

The Best Foreign Language Film Oscar is, by its very nature, a broad field. The nomination process begins with each country that wants to compete submitting a single film entry. The only stipulation for a Best Foreign Language Film award entrant is just that: that the dialogue of the film is predominately non-English. Beyond that, it is up to the country to determine which film they think has the highest likelihood of success.

Because of this process, the pool of Best Foreign Language Film competitors is often large. In 2017, the long-list for the award contained 85 films.

As of this writing, the field of 2018 competitors is currently 57 films, but this will likely continue to expand as the October 5th deadline emerges.

Films to keep an eye on

Out of these 57 films, there are a handful that have already received a fair amount of buzz. While anything can happen between now and the nomination vote by the Academy, these are the films to watch as we move into award season.

The biggest film on the current long-list is "The Square" from Sweden. Directed by Ruben Ostlund, "The Square" had a very strong run on the festival circuit. The film won one of the most coveted festival awards on the circuit: the Palm d'Or.

Based on its history, this award is no guarantee that a film will receive an Oscar nomination.

The last film to win the Palm d'Or and be nominated for an Oscar was Michael Haneke's 2012 film "Amour," which went on to win the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

Speaking of Haneke, his latest film "Happy End" is Austria's entrant into the race. The film was recently screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, a festival known for being the first push toward award season.

France's "120 Beats per Minute" also held its North American premiere in Toronto. Previously, it won four awards at the Cannes Film Festival, including the Grand Jury Prize.

Another film that has received attention is Israel's entry: "Foxtrot." The film won three major awards at the 2017 Venice Film Festival, and currently holds an astounding 92 on Metacritic (albeit with only seven reviews logged).

Then there is the recent Netflix release from director Angelina Jolie, "First They Killed My Father." A story about a girl's journey through the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the film is told primarily in Khmer despite having a Hollywood A-Lister behind the camera. Given Jolie's name and Netflix distribution, "First They Killed My Father" could easily become a front-runner in this category as it will likely be more widely seen by Academy voters than any other entry.

Could these five films be the Best Foreign Language Film nominees come January? It is entirely possible, although anything can happen during award season.

The nominees for the 90th Academy Awards will be announced on January 23rd, 2018.