No Oscar slot for Blue is the Warmest Color?

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Deadline is reporting that Palme d’Or winner Blue is the the Warmest Color will miss the window of opportunity to be eligible as France’s Oscar submission.

The Oscar rep selection committee at French film body the CNC requires that a film go out nationally in France before September 30 and Wild Bunch has set an October release. Wild Bunch’s Vincent Maraval calls the rule “stupid” but tells me they believe October is best for the picture. Sundance Selects will release Blue unrated later this year in the U.S. Blue is expected to get a French rating that bars only kids under 12 because, Maraval says, “There are only positive values and love in the film, no violence or drugs.” When I asked him if he thought drugs were regarded more damaging than sex by the ratings board at the CNC, he said “Well, I hope sex is less serious than drugs, no?”

33 Comments on this Post

  1. Bob Burns

    seems like they don’t care that much whether it has an Oscar run.

  2. The Past (France)
    La Jaula de Oro (Mexico)
    Like Father, Like Son (Japan)

    We have three nominees already.

  3. Aaron B

    So it will be released this year in the US but is ineligible because it’s being released in France in October? Seems confusing.

  4. I suspect they’ve already estimated the number of votes it wouldn’t get and decided to give something more Academy-cuddly a chance.

  5. steve50

    Blessing in disguise. Why drag a film like this thru the mud (and you can bet it would be) in a futile attempt for a trophy? Obviously not a goal of the filmmaker.

  6. Bryce Forestieri

    With regard to LA JAULA DE ORO: Been curious about it since I saw the trailer, and granted they submit it plus the potential political developments of later this year; it could very well make it –should it generate any buzz. You know that zeitgeist thing about wanting to be relevant and important. I know this is grossly simple-minded, but how does it compare to SIN NOMBRE and/or EL NORTE?

  7. Guy Lodge thinks it’s excellent.
    That means something, right?

  8. Bryce Forestieri

    Ha *shrugs* I guess. He scored some cred points a few days back by ranking Anthony Hopkins performance in Oliver Stone’s NIXON as the 2nd greatest portrayal of a U.S. president of the cinema.

  9. If Guy thinks it’s excellent then it’s probably excellent. But what does excellence have to do with the Oscars?

    Let’s look at Guy’s Top 10 of 2012 to see how his taste overlaps with the Oscars.

    1. Tabu
    2. The Master
    3. In the House
    4. Berberian Sound Studio
    5. Magic Mike
    6. Sister
    7. Our Children
    8. Take This Waltz
    9. Lore
    10. Mirror Mirror

    Excellence? 10 for 10.
    Oscars? Zero.

  10. I sniff an Academy rule-change heading our way…

    It’s got a Palme d’Or. Bitch don’t need no Oscar shit.

  11. Guest

    It’s ineligible for foreign language film. For the rest … Actually, it’s not a french rule but an AMPAS rule as some noted. And the french release date was set before the end of the Cannes film festival. It’s just the ideal slot for a box office success in its primary market. The Artist had the same slot in 2011 (and was thus ineligible too). Intouchables was released barely 3 weeks later and had to wait for 2013. It would make no economical sense for Wild Bunch to go for an earlier release date.

  12. Well you certainly know how to sound authoritative.

    But Wild Bunch is releasing Blue is the Warmest Color on Oct 9 — 9 days past the eligibility deadline.

    The precision of ‘Economic Sense’ must be a fragile thing indeed.

  13. Bob Burns

    US’ers mostly don’t care who wins Cesar, why should they care about Oscar? They have Cannes, what would Oscar add?

    Blue will find its audience, which, in the US, might be larger than the usual French film, but still not that big, Oscar or not.

    and as Ryan was, perhaps, suggesting, Oscar campaigns are demeaning.

  14. Aaron B

    I have to imagine an Oscar Nom generates at least a little bit more interest in your film as well as looking good on a resume I’m sure.
    I know I generally check out the Oscar nominated foreign films. Of course thanks to Cannes I’m already interested in this particular film.

  15. Guest

    “Blue is the warmest color” is ineligible for foreign language film (released on Oct 9th 2013). The Artist was too (released on Oct 12th 2011). The Oscar career of a french movie is internal to AMPAS and the Oscar circuit. That’s not what french distributors (who are also producers or co-producers) care about at first. First thing is to get the maximum of money back. And that starts at home.

    The release dates of the big french movies are gathered around the school holidays. Nothing meant to go beyond the million viewers is released from July to September (except some mindless comedies, one or two art movies or some daring move for a commercial movie, in case they can surprise). Too many american blockbusters in the way. The streak of french big movies starts on the 2nd wednesday of October (a week before the All-Saints holidays start) until Christmas (actually it will at least go on until February this year). A Cannes movie with box office potential either opens in May or waits for the end of the year. So does “Blue is the Warmest Colour”.

  16. “The release dates of the big french movies are gathered around the school holidays. Nothing meant to go beyond the million viewers is released from July to September (except some mindless comedies, one or two art movies or some daring move for a commercial movie, in case they can surprise). Too many american blockbusters in the way. The streak of french big movies starts on the 2nd wednesday of October”

    Un prophète, French release date, August 29, 2009.
    The Class, French release date, September 24, 2008.

    …except for one or two art movies or some daring move for a commercial movie, in case they can surprise.

    So why cannot Blue is the Warmest Color be one of those art movies that makes a ‘daring’ 9-day move?

    9 days. Are you telling me that a movie that opens on Sept 30 will be of no interest to anybody in France a week later? I’m not buying that.

    The Artist is irrelevant. It wasn’t designed to be a French language film and was never intended to be France’s FLF submission — because it would be opening in America in 2011 in time to be eligible in all categories.

  17. Guest

    Yes. 9 days.
    Hollidays start on October 19.
    With a release on Oct 9, the movie will be on its own for a week and a half, then will find a strong relay for 2 super powerful weeks. By this time, it will have done most of its course. With a release on Sept 25, the movie will be 3 weeks and a half on its own. New strong movies will have opened, it will be exhausted before the begining of the holidays and won’t benefit from them.

    “The Artist is irrelevant. It wasn’t in French and was never intended to be France’s FLF submission” That’s speculation. It just wasn’t at the right date and it stayed that way. Another big french movie of 2011 (beside Intouchables) had also won a prize in Cannes. It was Polisse. Big box office success. Released on Oct 19th. Ineligible. It didn’t move either. And Intouchables was released on November 2th. Everyone battled for the slots around the same dates. October 25th was already taken by Tintin because the US studios do know when to release their movies in France. So yes, 9 days.

  18. The doesn’t explain how A Prophet and The Class managed not to be financially destroyed by opening in the dead zone of September that you claim exists.

    In fact, it doesn’t explain how France ever manages to have any Oscar nominees at all if an important movie can never be released in time to meet the Sept 30 Oscar deadline.

    France is able to submit important films ever year, and somehow none of them are ruined by opening before Sept 30. I cannot believe Blue is the Warmest Color is such a delicate exception that all the interest in such a red-hot film will be exhausted in the span of 2 weeks.

    Here are the movies opening in France between Sept 25 and Oct 9. Tell me which one would stomp Blue is the Warmest Color to death.

    The Purge (2013)
    Blue Jasmine (2013)
    Rush (2013)
    Runner Runner (2013)
    A Letter to Momo (2011)
    Winter Rose (2013)
    Sur le chemin de l’école (2013 Documentary)
    Diana (2013)
    Eyjafjallojökull (2013)
    Brotherhood of Tears (2013)
    Tenderness (2013)

  19. julian the emperor

    France should go with The Past (because Farhadi and Bejo are already academy darlings), they would have a good shot with that one: melodramas tend to do good in this bastard of a category.

    Japan’s Like Father, Like Son looks like a strong (i.e. sentimental) candidate.

    A really strong candidate is Denmark’s The Hunt, which soon premieres stateside and has garnered a strong reception everywhere (BAFTA nomination for best foreign movie last year, the Cannes win for Mikkelsen etc.). Mads Mikkelsen is a pretty sure bet these days and Vinterberg’s is a nice comeback story (in addition, the thematic core that links Festen and Jagten together are painfully obvious). The Danish hostage thriller A Hijacking (or “Captain Phillips-as-low-budget-European-arthouse-project”) would have been a great candidate as well, but not as likely to tug at the heartstrings as Jagten.

  20. Guest

    “Un prophète, French release date, August 29, 2009.
    The Class, French release date, September 24, 2008.”

    Those movies crossing the million line (viewers) was not a sure thing at all. They had no french stars, dry subjects and their directors were not box office machines (Audiard started to become one with A Prophet). They were not meant to be commercial successes. Even if they became ones.
    .
    “Blue is the warmest colour” is first a best selling comic book and Léa Seydoux is already a big name. With the Palme d’or effect and the press and industry worshipping Kechiche, the effect should be demultiplied. Plus the movie has gone over-budget with 5 months shooting instead of 3 and Wild Bunch probably want to maximize their chance to get their money back if they think the movie can do well (and I think it may).

  21. France should go with The Past (because Farhadi and Bejo are already academy darlings), they would have a good shot with that one: melodramas tend to do good in this bastard of a category.

    Bingo.

    I’m not lobbying for Blue is the Warmest Color to move its release ahead 9 days.

    I’m saying that Wild Bunch can read the tea leaves. They know France will submit The Past so Wild Bunch might as well stick with their original release plans and give up on the Oscars altogether. There is very little chance Blue is the Warmest Color would win Best FLF — and a good chance the Academy’s antiquated selection process would snub it for nomination anyway. Why set yourself up for that ridiculous humiliation?

  22. “They were not meant to be commercial successes. Even if they became ones.”

    Even if they weirdly became commercial successes after an Oscar nomination. Strange how that happened. Almost as if an Oscar nomination has some effect on worldwide box-office.

  23. Bryce Forestieri

    Still more excited about THE PAST. Just seems way more like my cup of tea than WARMEST COLOR. I really hope they go for it.

  24. Guest and I should not even be arguing. We’re both happy with the Oct 9 release date.

    I’m happy for the same reasons Paddy, Steve50, Bryce and julian the emperor are happy:

    – “Blessing in disguise. Why drag a film like this thru the mud”
    – “It’s got a Palme d’Or. Bitch don’t need no Oscar shit.”
    – “Still more excited about THE PAST.”
    – “France should go with The Past (because Farhadi and Bejo are already academy darlings), they would have a good shot with that one.”

    Guest is happy because waiting 9 days means Blue is the Warmest Color earns $5 million more in France — and doesn’t need an Oscar nomination to generate worldwide interest.

  25. I am a little troubled by the attitude that it’s OK for 13 year olds to see a very sexually explicit movie, and that the rationale given is that drugs are worse than sex. Voila — moral relativism.

  26. Yes. Worrisome.

    Thanks to American teenagers being shielded from exposure to sexual topics, France has a teen pregnancy rate 3 times higher than the U.S. Oh wait, I have that backwards. America’s teen pregnancy rate is 3 times higher than teen pregnancy in France.

    ok, but in France the rate of teenage births is 6 times higher than in America, right? Nope. It’s the other way around. America has 6 times the rate of teenage moms than the rate of teen moms in France.

    At least the teen HIV rate in America is half the teen HIV rate in France. What? Sonuvabitch. America has twice the rate of teen HIV infections than France. By allowing French 13-year-olds to see movies than American kids are forbidden to see until they’re 17, somehow France has half the rate of teen HIV infection.

    Yes, apparently since French 13-year-olds are encouraged to have a healthy attitude about sex it enables French teenagers to make mature decisions about sex at a younger age than American teenagers. Imagine that.

    Well, at least America is great at teaching teenagers how to shoot each other.

  27. Guest

    “The doesn’t explain how A Prophet and The Class managed not to be financially destroyed by opening in the dead zone of September that you claim exists.”
    I don’t have to claim that it exists. It does.
    Anyone who knows the french box office knows that there are 50 to 60 millionnaire movies a year (approx equivalent in scale to a $50 millions movie at the US box office), ie an average of 4 to 5 millionnaire movies a month. And September has ever only 1. 2 at best. Because people are going back from summer hollidays, and that with the start of the school year and the arrival of many tax bills, people have other things than cinema to think at / pay for.
    So that’s not the moment for box office building and ambitious movies. Unless they really are exceptionnal and able to sustain a long career with fabulous word of mouth, movies will never go far.

    “Here are the movies opening in France between Sept 25 and Oct 9. Tell me which one would stomp Blue is the Warmest Color to death.”

    The Purge (2013)
    Blue Jasmine (2013)
    Rush (2013)
    Runner Runner (2013)
    A Letter to Momo (2011)
    Winter Rose (2013)
    Sur le chemin de l’école (2013 Documentary)
    Diana (2013)
    Eyjafjallojökull (2013)
    Brotherhood of Tears (2013)
    Tenderness (2013) ”

    Easy : Blue Jasmine which will be multi-millionnaire (Woody Allen is pretty much blockbuster in France) and Eyjafjallajokull which is meant to be a box office bulldozer. Winter Rose and Brotherhood of The Tears should aim at the million viewers, Rush could as well and A Letter To Momo could surprise (Ghibli often goes for the million, it is not Ghibli though). Actually that’s a pretty busy September schedule which announces an overstuffed October-February schedule.

    “France is able to submit important films ever year, and somehow none of them are ruined by opening before Sept 30. I cannot believe Blue is the Warmest Color is such a delicate exception that all the interest in such a red-hot film will be exhausted in the span of 2 weeks.”
    France is able to submit important films every year because every year several ones are scheduled before Sept 30. So there is no need to move movies around to propose a worthy contender, even with letting one or two foreign countries claim some of them (sometimes even a winner like last year). Wild Bunch cares very much that Blue earns them 10 or 20 millions € in the market they are working on. That Sundance Selects may win 5 millions $ and an Oscar nomination with it in the US would be flattering but that’s not their main concern.

    Anyway, have a nice day.

  28. Chris L.

    I nominate Vincent Maraval for MPAA chairman in an ideal and just world.

  29. Guest

    “Even if they weirdly became commercial successes after an Oscar nomination. Strange how that happened. Almost as if an Oscar nomination has some effect on worldwide box-office. ”
    Their commercial success was actually achieved BEFORE their Oscar nomination. Oscar nominations usually happen late if not very late in those movies’ career. A Prophet, Amour, Kon Tiki made more than 3/4 of their world-wide box office before their Oscar nom. Amour had almost finished its european career when the nomination came. Same for The Class. The rest were countries where releases were simply planned after the Oscar nom. A Royal Affair did almost the totality of its international career before the Oscars nom. Lots of oscar nominated movies simply don’t have a career other than festivals. A Prophet with an Oscar nom did less internationally than Rust and Bone without a nom. And those movies are usually sold internationally long before Oscar noms, ie in Cannes, Toronto … So basically the importance of an Oscar nomination on the world wide box office of a foreign language movie is at best very marginal, outside of the US.

    And checking old posts, I actually said on this website the day after the end of the Cannes Festival that “Blue is the Warmest Colour” would be ineligible for Oscars, that the release date was already set (a few weeks before the Palme d’Or) and that it was unlikely to move : http://www.awardsdaily.com/blog/comparing-cannes-winners-to-oscar-vive-la-difference/ .

  30. lenka73

    maybe better luck next year, if BLUE opens stateside it could be taken in consideration for the other categories

  31. Bill_the_Bear

    Or France could go for “Dans la maison,” the François Ozon film which opened on 10 October 2012 (inside the AMPAS guideline dates), and which is also an amazingly good film.

    Julian, I agree with you about “The Hunt.” If it’s Denmark’s candidate, I could easily see it being nominated.

    And…as for Sweden, they could always go with “Dom över död man,” the latest Jan Troell film, which opened in Sweden in January. I saw it at the Montréal World Film Festival last August (where it had its world première), and it’s very good. (A biopic of a strongly anti-Nazi Swedish journalist in the Thirties and Forties…catnip for AMPAS.)

  32. Michael

    Thank you!!!! It really pisses me off that in this country movies like shame are given an NC-17 rating for showing penis, something that a little less than half the world possesses, but movies displaying excessive violence are given a PG-13 rating. Everyone on this planet, with a few exceptions, was conceived through some form of sex, we come from sex, and the majority of the people on this planet have had sex so why do we demonize it? Sex is a very normal and very natural thing; it relieves stress, brings couples closer together, lengthens life, and keeps a person healthy. Violence is damaging, it hurts people both mentally and physically, increases stress, ruins relationships, and ends life…so again, why would our culture rather expose our children to violence but shelter them from sex?

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