Oscar selections for international feature films from France: “Titane” and “Happening”
France has been a supreme force in the international Oscar feature film race for decades. This year, three acclaimed films by directors – CÃ©line Sciamma, Audrey Diwan and Julia Ducournau – would top the list to represent the country at the 94th ceremony on March 27. the most nominated country in the history of the category, it hasn’t won the award for almost 30 years. Can that change this year?
The French candidacy is decided annually by the National Center of Cinema. The committee will hold its first meeting on Thursday to shortlist a shortlist of films, with producers being “auditioned” by the committee on October 12, before the final choice is made. Sciamma’s “Petite Maman”, Ducournau’s “Titane” and Diwan’s “Happening” are considered favorites. “Happening” has just been acquired by IFC Films and Film Nation while “Petite Maman” and “Titane” are distributed by Neon. In addition, “Titane” won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The award was also given to Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” in 2019, before that film became the first foreign language film to win the Best Picture award. IFC also released âBlue is the Hottest Colorâ (2013), which was not selected as an Oscar submission from France in its respective year, despite winning the Palme d’Or at Cannes. .
This year, the French committee added four new members to its roster – Oscar winner Florian Zeller (âLe PÃ¨reâ), Oscar nominee Julie Delpy, Ãmilie Georges (CEO of Memento International) and GrÃ©gory Chambet (co -founder at the head of WTFilms). They join institutional Thierry FrÃ©maux (director of the Cannes Film Festival), Serge Toubiana (president of Unifrance) and VÃ©ronique Cayla (co-president of the AcadÃ©mie des CÃ©sar).
In recent memory, I can’t recall that three film projects led by women were the pioneers in representing the country, especially in three radically different genres.
âHappeningâ had its world premiere at this year’s Venice Film Festival, winning the Golden Lion, one of five women to have won since 1949. âThe second feature film by Audrey Diwan is the latest in a series of harsh and emotionally intelligent art films frankly dealing with the subject of access to abortion, âGuy Lodge wrote in his Variety review.
Ducournau also made history by becoming the second director to win the Palme d’Or (after Jane Campion met Chen Kaige for “The Piano” in 1993). How could France not want such a historic achievement to represent its mother tongue? “Happening” and “Titane” enter the awards circuit with solid accolades. However, an awards strategist shares that Diwan’s film “is the safest choice for France.”
“Titane”, which features two exceptional tours by Agathe Rousselle and Vincent Lindon, is a genre piece with Neon’s Tom Quinn calling its screenwriter and director “the future of cinema”. Disturbing imagery can be difficult for the more laid-back, conservative members of the Academy who choose to participate in the process, but they may be open to bold new voices.
The truth is, the French haven’t particularly accepted female-led projects in the rewards space. Deniz Gamze ErgÃ¼ven’s âMustangâ (2015) is the latest film directed by a woman to represent France. France is the only country to have submitted a film each year since the creation of the category, with 65 films submitted, with 38 nominations and nine award-winning feature films (âMon uncleâ in 1958, âBlack Orpheusâ in 1959, âSundays and CybÃ¨le âin 1962,â A man and a woman âin 1966,â The discreet charm of the bourgeoisie âin 1972,â Le jour pour la nuit âfor 1973,â Madame Rosa âin 1977,â Take out your handkerchiefs âin 1978 and âIndochineâ in 1992). The cinephile country also received three honorary awards before the introduction of the category in 1956 for “Forbidden Games” (1952), “The Walls of Malapaga” (1950) and “Monsieur Vincent” (1948).
In the history of the international feature film category, only nine female directors have represented France:
- Deniz Gamze ErgÃ¼ven
“Mustang” (2015) – nominated
- Valerie Donzelli
“Declaration of War” (2011) – not nominated
- Marjane Satrapi (co-directed with Vincent Paronnaud)
“Persepolis” (2007) – not nominated
- Danielle Thompson
“Avenue Montaigne” (2006) – made the shortlist
- Agnes Jaoui
“The taste of others” (2000) – nominated
- Josiane Balasko
“French Twist” (1995) – not nominated
- Coline Serreau
“Three men and a cradle” (1985) – nominated
- Diane kurys
“Between Us” (1983) – nominated
- Marguerite Duras
“India Song” (1975) – not nominated
No woman has ever won the international feature film for France, so how did it go? Sciamma’s latest film, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (2019), garnered critical and public acclaim and won the Queer Palm at Cannes, in addition to several other notable names including the Golden Globes and BAFTA . But the committee chose instead “Les MisÃ©rables” by Ladj Ly, which received an Oscar nomination.
Several sources have shared that Sciamma has not been appreciated in her homeland throughout her career, as evidenced by her other acclaimed works that have not been chosen before, such as “My Zucchini Life” (2016) and âGirlhoodâ (2014). So, are they keen to catch up after the snub for âPortraitâ, or is the savvy activist’s speculation true, and there is no chance for âLittle Mumâ to find ground?
Countries can often shock the rewards landscape. Spain, who recently decided to submit Fernando LeÃ³n de Aranoa’s âThe Good Bossâ in place of Pedro AlmodÃ³var’s âParallel Mothersâ, has been quite impressive.
Other preselection rumors include Jacques Audiard’s dramatic comedy “Paris, 13th arrondissement”, Xavier Giannoli’s “Lost Illusions”, based on HonorÃ© de Balzac, premiered in competition in Venice, and the graphic drama of Lesbian Nuns by Paul Verhoeven. , “Benedetta”. Verhoeven represented the country with âElleâ (2016) but failed to be nominated, although its lead actress Isabelle Huppert was recognized. Others should be considered, notably the documentary “We” by Alice Diop and the drama “Everything Went Fine” by FranÃ§ois Ozon.
Members of the Academy choose to watch and vote for the international candidacy, which saw its highest class of consideration from 93 countries last year, which saw Denmark’s âAnother Roundâ for Best Director nominee Thomas Vinterberg to win the statuette. Preliminary voting for the list of international feature films begins December 10-15, with the remaining 15 films announced on December 21.