France Selects 'Renoir' As Foreign Language Oscar Entry

With Abdellatif Kechiche’s Palme d’Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Color ineligible for submission as France’s entry for the Foreign Language Film Oscar race, the local committee has turned to a decidedly different type of film. Gilles Bourdos’ Renoir debuted in Cannes in 2012 in the Un Certain Regard sidebar. Samuel Goldwyn Films acquired it at the time and released it in the U.S. in March to about $2.2M in box office. Although the film has been around for a while, it fits within the necessary criteria of a release between October 1st, 2012 and September 30th, 2013. Its French theatrical release was on January 2nd this year. Conversely, Blue‘s is not until October 9th, meaning it will miss the September 30th cutoff. Renoir is set on the Côte d’Azur in 1915 and centers on Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jean Renoir and the woman who becomes the painter’s model and the filmmaker’s lover. Veteran French actor Michel Bouquet stars with Vincent Rottiers and Christa Theret. Fidélité Films produced the movie that was sold internationally by Wild Bunch — incidentally also the sales company on Blue. French film body the CNC rounds up a committee each year to select the Oscar entry. It’s made up of two permanent judges — Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux and the CNC’s Paul Otchakovsky-Laurens — and this year also included actress Isabelle Adjani, screenwriter Sylvette Baudrot, director Laurent Cantet, producer Estelle Fialon and César Academy president Alain Terzian.

    1. Renoir is a great choice for France. Everything about that movie is French. It got rave reviews from New York Times, NPR, LA Times, Boston Globe, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal and many many more. Renoir obviously resonated with people because the box office numbers are there and cannot be denied. It’s a beautiful little French film that found a large American audience for its category, pure and simple. Renoir’s nomination stands on it’s own merits and is a smart choice from the committee for this category.

      I’m sure Le Passe is prob a good film – its director won the Oscar for “A Separation” for the country of Iran in 2012. I really don’t see how his latest film, which represented Iran again at the Cannes film festival this year, should expect to get THE French Oscar nom in the same year. Why did it not represent France at Cannes?

      In principle, films shouldn’t be able to SWITCH their nationalities just when it’s convenient for awards, not at the expense of that country’s own talents. Just sayin’

  1. ………And France tosses in the towel for any chance of winning this year.

    Why the hell was the distributor of BLUE so pig-headed to not release the film for a week before the deadline as is so often done in the U.S.? Makes no sense to take yourself out of competition for the world’s most public prize (not saying the Oscar is the be all and end all, but, it gets the most attention, rightly or wrongly).

    1. It’s even worse than you think. France could’ve selected another major Cannes title: The Past directed by Academy Award winner Asghar Farhadi and starring Academy Award Nominee Berenice Bejo, but for whatever reason it went head to head with Renoir and they selected the latter in the final round…

    1. BLUE will be eligible for EVERY OTHER award that any other feature film is eligible for as long as it gets a one week run in L.A. and NYC before the end of the year.

      I’ve long advocated for, and continue to do so, that there be an ‘At Large’ nomination or two for films that similarly slip through the cracks in the Foreign Film category. (if Best Picture can have up to 10 nominees, why not Foreign Films? After all, they only represent EVERY film made in the ENTIRE world!)

    2. no it won’t. to be eligible for the foreign language film category, a French film must be released in France between jan 1 and september 31. for whatever reason, the last 3 months of the year are off limit. but Blue will be eligible for all the other feature film categories (picture, acting, screenplay,…).

      1. Well, now I’ve read the rules, and Blue will indeed be eligible for the 2015 Academy Awards: “The motion picture must be first released in the country submitting it no earlier than October 1, 2012, and no later than September 30, 2013”.

        It would actually make sense if Blue were to be released in the USA next year, but in the current situation, it means the film could contend for best picture in 2014 and Best Foreign Film in 2015, sounds ridiculous…

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