Eighty-three films had originally been considered for the race. Five will eventually be nominated for the Oscar.
The nine films on the short list, named in alphabetical order by country, are:
Argentina, Wild Tales, Damián Szifrón, director
Estonia, Tangerines, Zaza Urushadze, director
Georgia, Corn Island, George Ovashvili, director
Mauritania, Timbuktu, Abderrahmane Sissako, director
Netherlands, Accused, Paula van der Oest, director
Poland, Ida, Paweł Pawlikowski, director
Russia, Leviathan, Andrey Zvyagintsev, director
Sweden, Force Majeure, Ruben Östlund, director
Venezuela, The Liberator, Alberto Arvelo, director
Oscar nominations in all categories will be announced Jan.15 in the academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater.
Winners will be revealed Feb. 22 at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live on ABC. Neil Patrick Harris is to host the ceremony.
"Idris should be the next bond," the email from Pascal to Elizabeth Cantillon, the former executive vice president of production for Columbia Pictures, says.
Daniel Craig only has one more Bond movie on his contract after the upcoming Spectre, according to The Daily Beast, and he told Rolling Stone in 2012 that he's been trying to get out of the role since he started it.
"I've been trying to get out of this from the very moment I got into it," Craig said. "But they won't let me go."
Elba has expressed interest in the role and seems likely to take it if offered.
North Korea has been blamed for the Sony hacks by the FBI, and the nation recently denied those claims and announced it wants to cooperate with the United States for a joint investigation.