Titane, L’Événement and Bac nord shortlisted to represent French cinema at the Oscars

Palme d’Or, golden lion or public darling? The choice will be difficult. The American distributors and producers of each title are heard on October 12 by the CNC. The lucky winner will remain to pass the dams once sent to Los Angeles.

From Cannes to the Venice Film Festival, 2021 saw the consecration of two French directors: the palm of gold crowned Titanium by Julia Ducournau, the golden lion went to The event by Audrey Diwan. This historic double (Ducournau is the second director to be awarded at Cannes, Diwan the fifth to prevail on the lagoon) did not escape the CNC which retained these two dramas in its shortlist for the Oscars. Added to this is the thriller North Bac which accomplishes a real heist at the box office with more than two million spectators. Cédric Jimenez’s film about rogue Marseille cops also counts Audrey Diwan among its screenwriters!

North Bac pushed by netflix

The film that will represent the French cinema at the Oscars must be chosen by November 1, the deadline for sending the file to the Academy of Oscars. To decide between the candidates, the CNC commission hears French producers and American distributors on October 12 to determine their campaign strategy and the means they are ready to implement to woo the Oscar committee in charge of viewing the hundreds. films offered each year around the world.

The selection of Titanium and of The event was little doubt. Some Hollywood press experts even relied on an unprecedented trio of female directors with the presence of Little mom by Céline Sciamma. But the filmmaker in vogue in the United States since Portrait of the girl on fire is not very popular in France among its peers. Other specialists believed that The Olympics by Jacques Audiard and The Lost Illusions by Xavier Giannoli, presented in Cannes and Venice respectively, had their chance. But according to Variety, none of his feature films would have been pushed by their producers instead of North Bac acquired internationally by Netflix which put it online under the title The Stronghold.

To see also – Discover the trailer for the film “Bac nord”

The impressive start of Titanium in the USA

Carried by Neon, the American distributor of Parasite who knew how to bring the thriller of Bong Joon-Ho to the firmament of the Oscars 2020, Titanium is in good hands. The genre film blending woman-machine hybridization, love for cars and the quest for fatherhood got off to an impressive start in the United States with $ 530,000 in revenue for 562 screens during its first weekend of operation in early October. In France, Titanium exceeds 300,000 admissions. Neon will probably try to push the movie, like Parasite, beyond the category best international film and to campaign for a nomination in the sections best director for Julia Ducournau and actress for her revelation Agathe Rousselle.

Adapted from Annie Ernaux’s autobiographical account of her clandestine abortion in the 1960s, The event greatly shook Venice and unanimously won the adhesion of the jury, chaired by Bong Joon-ho. There too a new talent bursts the screen: Anamaria Vartolomei (The exchange of princesses). The film finds a current echo in the American political debates of the moment, at a time when the right to abortion was restricted in Texas.

Bringing together the trio of actors Gilles Lellouche, Karim Leklou and François Civil, North Bac sparked an intense debate on the representation of the northern districts of Marseille and more broadly popular areas on the screen, which also took hold of politicians, on the right and on the far right.

Julie Delpy and Florian Zeller as referees

The commission that chooses the candidate film to represent France at the 94th Oscars ceremony, on March 27, 2022 in Los Angeles, brings together, under the aegis of the National Center for Cinematography (CNC), several professionals of the 7th tricolor art, including the artistic director of the Cannes Film Festival Thierry Frémaux, the director of the César Véronique Cayla and the directors and newcomers Julie Delpy (nominated for the Oscars for Before Sunset) and Florian Zeller (Oscar winner for The Father This year).

Once the lucky winner is announced, the hardest part remains to be done: to slip into the list of nine films eligible for an Oscar nomination. It is among these nine titles that the five feature films that can claim a statuette will be chosen next March. Last year, Of them by Filippo Meneghetti had been presented by France but had not passed this bar of preselections of the Academy of Oscars. The last time France won the Oscar for best foreign film, it was‘Indochina in 1992. If ever Audrey Diwan or Julia Ducournau won, this will be another first for a French director! And one more asset for their films at a time when Hollywood and festivals are working for a better visibility of female talents.

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Titane, L’Événement and Bac nord shortlisted to represent French cinema at the Oscars

Hank Gilbert