France submits The Intouchables for Best Foreign Language Film

With three prestigious French language films in play this year, how did a crowd-pleasing international box-office phenomenon backed by Hervey Weinstein prevail? (That’s a rhetorical question). Scott Feinberg broke down the possibilities at THR shortly before France settled on The Intouchables earlier today.

(1) The Intouchables, an $11.5 million dramedy, based on a true story, that was co-written and co-directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano and has become the second highest-grossing French film of all-time in France and grossed more than $355 million internationally (more than any other French film and, for that matter, any non-English-language film, save for The Passion of the Christ); and (2) Rust and Bone, a fictional drama that was co-written and directed by Jacques Audiard, a best foreign language film Oscar nominee three years ago for France’s Un Prophet, and features tour-de-force performances from Marion Cotillard, the best actress Oscar winner five years ago, and Matthias Schonaerts, the star of last year’s Belgian nominee Bullhead.

The third film is Michael Haneke’s Amour, which would not have been an option for France even if it had been released in the country prior to the Oct. 1 deadline; it is scheduled to open Oct. 24. The drama about the last chapter of a long marriage, which stars two veteran French actors (Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva) and premiered at May’s Cannes Film Festival (where it won the Palme d’Or), was claimed by Austria because the Academy’s rules dictate that a film’s nationality is dependent not on the language that is primarily spoken in the film or the origins of the stars, but rather on the origins of the majority of the film’s principal behind-the-scenes talent — the writer, director, and producer. Consequently, Amour was always going to be claimed by one of the two countries in which Haneke holds citizenship, Germany or Austria.

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16 Comments

  1. September 18, 2012

    Of the two they could have chosen I’ve only seen Intouchables, and I didn’t love it. I suspect, based solely on post-Cannes reports, that Rust and Bone is more in line with the kinds of movies that win that award.

    The submission by my home country Australia struck me as a little odd. Lore is in German, and set entirely in Germany. It’s pretty good, though.

  2. September 18, 2012

    I don’t want to watch this movie.

  3. phantom
    September 18, 2012

    I guess it’s down to Austria (Amour) and Denmark (A Royal Affair) then…that is, if latter officially picks the festival darling that won Best Screenplay and Best Actor at the Berlinale and most recently received a rare standing ovation at the Toronto Film Festival.

    I’ve seen ‘The Intouchables’, it was a good movie, very calculated, very manipulative, a textbook crowdpleaser, but I would be very disappointed if it won Best Foreign Language Film. Frankly, I’m shocked they didn’t go with the universally praised ‘Rust & Bone’, anyway, let’s hope the Academy won’t ignore Marion Cotillard’s bravura performance.

  4. Rod
    September 18, 2012

    I also saw The Intouchables and it’s definitely a crowdpleaser.

    The Vancouver Film Festival is playing all the best foreign films this year, so I’ll be watching Amour, Rust & Bone, A Royal Affair, The Hunt, Our Children, Lore and a few others in two weeks. Can’t wait!!

  5. September 18, 2012

    It’ll win now. Mark my words.

  6. The Dude
    September 18, 2012

    Probably the next winner, unless Amour manages to get a BP nomination.

  7. Tero Heikkinen
    September 18, 2012

    France has not done well recently (other than last year’s BP, haha). Their last FLF win is from 20 years back (Indochine) and since then they have been nominated 8 times. Even Amélie was considered a sure-winner almost.

    I think this is Austria’s to lose. Sure, they just won 5 years ago (The Counterfeiters), but anyway.

  8. Mattoc
    September 18, 2012

    I would have submitted Holy Motors. This is a safe choice.

  9. g
    September 18, 2012

    I really liked the Intouchables, Omar Sy just gave everything to his role, he had so much screen magnetism it was amazing. I would of been happy for Rust and Bone if it had been submitted as well, I saw it at TIFF, wow it was fantastic and Marion Coittard killed her role…I’m thinking best actress for sure maybe best picture.

  10. Wncbest
    September 18, 2012
  11. September 18, 2012

    Holy Motors might have made it, Mattoc. The special committee they formed in order to allow more unusual fare to be nominated could have voted it in, like they did with Dogtooth. Dogtooth reportedly enraged many AMPAS members during a screening, and this committee responded by nominating it.

  12. Mattoc
    September 18, 2012

    And what better reason for nominating it that enraging AMPAS members?
    Let’s make them watch it, A Clockwork Orange style…

  13. Tero Heikkinen
    September 18, 2012

    http://www.indiewire.com/article/complete-list-of-announced-2012-foreign-language-academy-award-submissions#

    I think this is very much up to date. I have not seen The Hypnotist, but something tells me that Academy can’t resist nominating Lasse Hallström. So, my “Nordic spot’s” prediction goes to Sweden this time. The lead character is a Finnish-Swedish detective, but the film is all Swedish. Anyway, it gets a lot of publicity here, so I think I can easily go behind this. For international audiences, Lena Olin’s presence doesn’t hurt either.

    Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNUDOKQ03yw

  14. Tero Heikkinen
    September 19, 2012

    Finnish submission is also interesting. It’s a very bleak film called Purge. Based on a best-selling novel, it’s about Soviet Union’s occupation in Estonia, includes scenes of rape, sex trafficking and violence – enough to make this too difficult for Academy. Most likely.

  15. KatieG
    September 25, 2012

    I didnt care about The Intouchables at all!
    Both Amour(Austria) and Blood of My Blood(Portugal) are masterpieces!! I hope they both get nominated!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nK95hC54hEs

  16. CraigA
    October 17, 2012

    YES! Amour is great! Rust and Bone is great! Blood of My Blood is great! The Intouchables is terrible!

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