Robert M. W. Vogel, 96, MGM publicist who helped establish the Academy Award category for best foreign language film. A native New Yorker who was educated in Europe and at Columbia University, Vogel moved to Los Angeles and MGM in 1930. From international publicist, he rose to head the studio's international production and publicity department and was MGM's production code liaison for 20 years. A veteran member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, he chaired the Foreign Language Film Award Committee from its inception. Current academy Executive Director Bruce Davis said the category owes its existence to Vogel, who saw a new kind of movie emerging from postwar Europe and wanted to recognize that progress with an annual Oscar. The award was an honorary one for its first eight years and became a formal Academy Award category in 1956. Vogel worked with the committee until last year. He also worked with academy committees on documentaries, scholarships and student awards. On Dec. 22 in Woodland Hills.