Anatomy of France's failure at the Oscars

Anatomy of France's failure at the Oscars


What happened on September 21 at the National Cinema Center (CNC)? What should have been just a formality – sending the Palme d’Or Anatomy of a Fall to the Oscars – turned into a fiasco. The film chosen by the CNC to represent France in the category of best foreign film, The Passion of Dodin Bouffant, was ultimately not selected by the American Academy while that of Justine Triet is in the running in five categories and was has already won the European Cinema Prize, two Golden Globes and three Lumière prizes.

After a first round, on September 14, the seven members of the commission, designated by the CNC, the producers Charles Gillibert and Patrick Wachsberger (the latter was by video), the filmmakers Olivier Assayas and Mounia Meddour, the exporters Sabine Chemaly and Tanja Meissner and composer Alexandre Desplats meet on September 21 for a second vote. Dominique Boutonnat (president of the CNC) and Gilles Pélisson (president of Unifrance, the organization responsible for promoting French cinema abroad) are also present but as simple “observers”.

That morning, Charles Gillibert, Patrick Wachsberger and Olivier Assayas were amazed. They voted for Justine Triet’s film, but ultimately it was The Passion of Dodin Bouffant, by Tran Anh Hung, which won by one vote. Charles Gillibert, producer of Mustang who represented France at the Oscars in 2016, and expert on the American market tries to understand the choice of others. “There was no debate. On the other hand, no one tried to convince me. » Olivier Assayas he also battled, step by step, in favor of Anatomy of a Fall : “I personally experienced it very badly. And I immediately made it known to the CNC officials who were there. » While specifying: “I am sorry that the film by Tran Anh Hung, who is a filmmaker that I respect and for whom I have friendship, was disrupted, in a quarrel that was not his. »

Audiard, Philibert and Sciamma not selected

The four other members who chose La Passion de Dodin Bouffant would have been convinced by the “French side” of the film, a gastronomic costume romance whose English title was almost Pot-au-feu . This strategy of eternal France, and its meat-wine-cheese trinity, was dictated by an “outdated vision” of the American market, regretted the magazine Variety in one of its numerous articles devoted to the “dysfunctional committee” of the CNC , who describes French cinema as a “small village where a few talented agents and studios pull all the strings” .

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