At the Oscars, France also shines (and especially) in short films

The Oscars ceremony will take place next Sunday in Los Angeles. If the Franco-British film “The Father” by Florian Zeller, nominated in the best film category, attracts attention, two French productions are still in competition … and these are short films, an area where France stands out.

Extracts from the films “Logorama”, “Omnibus”, “Le Poulet” and “Genius Loci” © Screenshots

The Oscars ceremony will take place later this year, due to the health crisis: usually scheduled for March, it will take place this Sunday, April 25 in Los Angeles, exceptionally in two places, to ensure social distancing. In France, all eyes will be on the film by playwright and director Florian Zeller, The Father, adaptation of his play The father, nominated in the Best Film category – Anthony Hopkins, who stars in the film, is in the running for the trophy for best actor.

But at the same time, another film directed by the French is in competition, without making much noise: “Genius Loci“Adrien Mérigeau. Its particularity? It lasts 16 minutes. This short film competes in the” Animated short “category.

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The young director from Creuse made an animated film from paper and watercolor, which mixes several visual styles and took five years of work. The soundtrack is composed and performed by his parents. Awarded in Berlin and presented in several festivals, the film tells the story of a young character, Reine, who lets herself be carried by the chaos of the city as a guide.

We can add “Colette“, documentary short by Anthony Giacchino, American production but part of the team is French, and shot in France (it is also the first production of a video game studio nominated for the Oscars) .

Prestigious winners

The format of the short film would be wrong to be neglected: at the Oscars, France shows better performances in short than in feature films. If we exclude the category “best foreign film” (where, all the same, 17 feature films produced or co-produced in France were awarded), there are only eight French films which were nominated in the category “best. film “since the inception of the ceremony in 1929. And only one award-winning,”The Artist“by Michel Hazanavicius. As well as three French people awarded the statuette for best director, Roman Polanski, Michel Hazanavicius and Damien Chazelle.

In the sphere of short films, there are 18 nominations for France in the category of best short fiction film and 8 statuettes won, with prestigious names: in 1950, while the category is still called “fiction in two reels “, it is a certain Alain Resnais who wins the prize for”Van Gogh“, film made from fragments of the artist’s canvases. He was never nominated at the Oscars thereafter for his feature films.

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In 1963, Pierre Étaix won the prize for “Happy Birthday“, and in 1966, Claude Berri was rewarded for the very first film he made, a short film entitled”The chicken“, long before the success of”Tchao Pantin“or”Jean de Florette“.

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And in 1993, a year before becoming the cult Émile de “City of fear“, Sam Karmann, who is also a director, is awarded for”Omnibus“, a short film which tells the story of a person whose daily life is turned upside down when his omnibus train becomes a direct. The film obtains, that same year, the Palme d’or for the short film and the BAFTA for the best short film in UK.

France shines in animation

For the past ten years or so, French productions have shone in another category: animation. In 2010, “Logorama “, produced by the H5 collective, is the first French animated short to win the Oscar in this category. For 16 minutes, spectators are immersed in a universe in which all graphic elements are company logos. An award-winning technical feat in several festivals, and also at the César the following year.

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France repeated the feat in 2014 with “Mr Hublot“by Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares, also rewarded … in front a Disney short film, “On horseback, which was the first part of “Snow Queen“with Mickey and his friends in the spotlight.

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Last year, “Memorable“Bruno Collet was nominated in the category, did not get the Oscar. But this year,”Genius Loci“, already crowned with a special mention from the jury at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival last year, could well allow France to obtain a third statuette in this discipline.

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At the Oscars, France also shines (and especially) in short films