OSCARS: 'Amour' Wins But Misses Chance To Play Spoiler

Considered by many a foregone conclusion coming into tonight, the Academy showed its love for Michael Haneke’s Amour with the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. The film was nominated in five categories total, including the rare double bill of a Best Picture and a Best Foreign Language nod (only the fifth film in history to achieve such a feat). Lead actress Emmanuelle Riva, who turned 86 today, was the oldest woman ever to be nominated in the category and would have made further history had she won tonight. Earlier this season, she won the César, the BAFTA and several critics group prizes.

Amour‘s heartrending love story about an aging couple had already won scores of awards before this evening, beginning with the Cannes Palme d’Or when it debuted on the Riviera last May — supporting Haneke in the audience tonight and seated next to Amour producer Margaret Ménégoz was Cannes Film Festival honcho Thierry Frémaux. (Had Amour won Best Picture, it would have been the first film to earn that honor and Cannes’ top prize since 1955’s Marty.) After Cannes, the pic went on to take Best Picture honors from the National Society of Film Critics, the Los Angeles Film Critics, the European Film Awards and France’s Césars plus Foreign Language props from the Broadcast Film Critics, the New York Film Critics, the National Board of Review, the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs and the Indie Spirits, among many others.

Although it’s in French, has a French cast and was largely financed by France, the film was the entry from Austria based on director Haneke’s nationality. Its road to the Oscars made it hard to imagine things could have gone another way in the Foreign Language category. That’s not to say this wasn’t a rich field. The other nominees — Kon-Tiki, War Witch, A Royal Affair and No — served up some of the best of a particularly strong 2012 for international cinema.

An intimate acting tour-de-force from a respected director, Amour clearly struck a chord with the Academy. The story of a couple facing the end of life depicts a struggle that Haneke has said is a universal tragedy. In his acceptance speech tonight, he thanked Sony Pictures Classics’ Michael Barker and Tom Bernard who acquired the film ahead of Cannes last year. It has so far taken in about $5.25M in 10 weeks of U.S. release. Haneke also thanked his producers, his “great crew” and his wife, about whom he said, “She was a member of the crew. She has been supporting me since 30 years. You are the center of my life.” He gave a further shout-out to Riva and co-star Jean-Louis Trintignant.

Haneke had been to the Oscar party before, with 2009’s The White Ribbon which was nominated in the Foreign Language and Cinematography categories. It had already taken the Palme d’Or in Cannes and had been widely predicted to win the foreign Oscar that year but lost to Argentina’s The Secret In Their Eyes.

  1. Easily the best film of the year. If the Academy had a creative sack it would have won and so would Riva. But it doesn’t and there we are. Jen Lawrence — laughable.

    1. Hey they wanted to go with the flavor of the month. If JL had won for WINTER’S BONE, I’d be OK with that. But she was SOOOOOOOO miscast in SLP. Read the book and tell me I’m wrong. So, instead of gonig with a classy French lady, they went with “Juliette Lewis with raccoon eyes (stop it with that stuff, honey) and HUGE forehead.”

    2. The Academy, collectively, hasn’t possessed an ounce of creativity, originality or, even, imagination in decades.

      The ONLY reason Jennifer Lawrence won this year is because the awful Natalie Portman undeservedly stole her award two years ago.

      That’s how the Academy makes up more embarrassing losses – give the award to the actor for a mediocre performance the following year.

  2. Riva should have won by far. But hollywood loves making new stars
    It reminds me of when gwyneth Paltrow (shakespeare in love) beat fernamda Montenegro, ( central station). Another travesty but predictable.

  3. Thank you for the wonderful information, it was
    my favorite movie. I’m not a big fan of death by violence or cruelty in movies when society shuns and cultivates us to ignore the reality of the elderly.

    1. Have they ever had any? It was always a popularity contest. They don’t care who’s the best. They only care who brings or brought more money for business. Jennifer is young and hot at the moment. Riva is old and foreign. Of course Riva gave performance one in the ages but they didn’t even watch her movie. Just look at their reaction when they showed her clip. They were stunned. Riva’s performance will be remembered in many years and will be studied in acting classes. Lawrence will be forgotten soon because it was nothing at all.

      1. I had exactly the same reaction to that gasp…it was clear that a significant part of the audience voted for Best Actress without having even seen Amour.

        Riva should have won.

  4. The Academy lost its credibility a long time ago. The Riva loss was wrong. Lawrence did not deserve the award.

  5. Not only was the Riva loss wrong, they didn’t even do a gracious shout out from the stage. It was her birthday, they could have shown a 30 second clip of her movies, and acknowledged her. She would have gotten a lovely ovation from the crowd. Lawrence was miscast and loud in a typical gum-chewing role.

  6. The whole of SILVER LININGS was just ludicrous. You put it against AMOUR and it’s just a different class of filmmaking. Emmanuelle Riva — you won in my eyes. The Oscars is grossly populist without much quality control. Hence why it’s an American show and it awards American filmmaking 95% of the time. Onward and upward!

  7. In all fairness, apart from being in a foreign movie, Riva’s role was much more the oscar-bait kind compared to Lawrence’s. But Lawrence is a natural talent and did a wonderful job with the material she was given. Oscar fully deserved IMO.

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