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Foreign Oscar Updates. Will France Finally Win Again?

With France's official announcement that the blockbuster The Intouchables will be their Official Oscar submission for Best Foreign Film, is the race already over? Its global tally currently rests at an astounding $364 million dollars, most of that from overseas bank. The film hasn't been ignored in American arthouse theaters exactly but it's $9 million gross and mainstream appeal (it's even in the IMDb top 100) qualifies it as a major arthouse hit but no crossover slam dunk; roughly speaking it's a hit the way last year's foreign film winner, the instant classic A Separation, was or the way Beasts of the Southern Wild is.

French cinema has had a complex intermittently passionate long-distance relationship with Hollywood since cinema began and that is reflected in their Oscar success over the years both in this category and others. France leads all countries in most Foreign Film nominations by a wide margin (36 nominees to Italy's 26) but surprisingly they have not won since the Catherine Deneuve drama Indochine rocked US arthouses twenty years ago. Will this Gallic sort-of variation on Driving Miss Daisy (is that too dismissive?) be a lock for Oscar love or will last year's swerve towards critically prestigious international cinema signal a sea change to new glory days for the category? (Yes, I still have impromptu ecstatic flashbacks to A Separation's win)

OFFICIAL SUBMISSION CHARTS 2012 -- everything in one place as we do: posters, trailers, info. Pass it on.

Current Predictions - Australia, Austria, Denmark, France and Romania 
Albania through Iran - 15 official submissions (thus far... updates in progress)
Italy through Venezuala - 16 official submissions (thus far... updates in progress)

Amelie netflix illustration by Tim Hodge (click for original source)A collection of France's biggest Oscar hits if you'd like to catch up with a movie marathon at home... after the jump

LA VIE EN ROSE (2007) - 3 noms/2 wins - Marion Cotillard, won the only acting Oscar given to a French language performance... unless you count Christoph Waltz's multi-lingual showoff work in Inglourious Basterds which consists of English, French, German and Italian moments 
A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT (2004) - 2 noms / 0 wins *not submitted for foreign film
THE CHORUS (2004) - 2 noms / 0 wins
AMELIE (2001) - 5 noms / 0 wins *surprise loser of foreign film but AMPAS did love it
INDOCHINE (1992) - 2 noms / 1 win 
CYRANO DE BERGERAC (1990) - 5 noms  / 1 win
CAMILLE CLAUDEL (1988) - 2 noms / 0 wins (Isabelle Adjani of The Story of Adele H fame is the only actor twice nominated for French language acting but her earlier breakthrough was not submitted by France for Foreign Film and only received a Best Actress nomination)
AU REVOIR, LES ENFANTS (1987) - 2 noms / 0 wins
GET OUT YOUR HANDKERCHIEFS (1978) - 1 nom / 1 win
MADAME ROSA (1977) - 1 nom / 1 win
COUSIN, COUSINE (1976) - 3 noms / 0 wins

one of the greatest movies ever made

DAY FOR NIGHT (1973) - 4 noms / 1 win
A MAN AND A WOMAN (1966) -4 noms / 2 wins
THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG (1964) - 5 noms / 0 wins in total from two different years afterwards they had to change the rules about foreign releases and Oscar eligibility. This movie has been certified 100% magnificent by Nathaniel.
SUNDAYS AND CYBELE (1962) - 3 noms / 1 win - the total from two different years
BLACK ORPHEUS (1959) -1 nom / 1 win
MY UNCLE (1958) - 1 nom / 1 win
FORBIDDEN GAMES (1952) - 1 nom and 1 honorary award before the category existed
MONSIEUR VINCENT (1947) - honorary award before the category existed 

*the only French Oscar winner that Netflix doesn't offer is THE WALLS OF MALAPAGA (1948) which won an honorary Oscar

OFFICIAL SUBMISSION CHARTS 2012 -- everything in one place, pass it on!

Current Predictions - Australia, Austria, Denmark, France and Romania 
Albania through Iran - 14 official submissions (thus far... updates in progress)
Italy through Venezuala - 16 official submissions (thus far... updates in progress)

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Reader Comments (18)

La vie en rose won 2 Oscars from 3 nominations. The Iron Lady victory in Best Actress was set the moment it took Best Makeup—no different from Jessica Tandy in Driving Miss Daisy and Cotillard for Rose. Its 3rd nomination was for Costume Design.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter4rtful

La vie en rose won 2 Oscars from 3 nominations. The Iron Lady victory in Best Actress was set the moment it took Best Makeup—no different from Jessica Tandy in Driving Miss Daisy and Cotillard for Rose. Its 3rd nomination was for Costume Design.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter4rtful

I was going to say the same thing as 4rtful :-D

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

i can always count on all of you to correct me when I'm too speedy about these things.

September 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

God, I hope not. I saw this at a festival before any of the hype had really reached me, and I thought it was ... Fine. They keep talking about trying to get all of these terrific actresses to play the female lead in the remake, which is bizarre unless they've dramatically retooled the story. That character basically exists for a third act punch line.

I sort of get the feeling that Amour, like A Separation, will be so unanimously praised that once it gets nominated (and it will with the committee system), it basically won't be allowed to lose.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWill h

I actually wouldn't mind, I thought the movie was a treat. It may not be great cinema and it may not be as deep as you want it to be, but there's something really admirable about a movie that avoids sinking into melodrama when the premise of the movie is practically built for it. Intouchables is a movie about enjoying life no matter what situation you're in. I was happy the movie didn't go into a third act Death scare, or some shootout at Driss' neighborhood or any type of melodramatic twist that any number of Hollywood movies has gone for. That's pretty admirable if you ask me. Let's see what the year has to offer, but I think there are worse films for the Academy to take notice of......

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

I loved the movie, as almost everyone else. But I'm not sure whether it's Oscar-winning-material.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMette

This is apropos of nothing, but I still can't help but blame Day For Night's Cortese for stealing Jennifer Jones' nod for The Towering Inferno. Scurvy thief!

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

It might get the nomination, but honestly, if the Academy didn't vote for Amélie I'm not sure they will do it this time.

Anyway, don't listen to me: I'm immune to its charms. I'm clearly a minority. The day I saw it with a regular crowd, there was this extremely loud ovation at the end.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

It's official: Canada has chosen "Rebelle" ("War Witch" is the English title) as its candidate.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBill_the_Bear

"Is the Foreign Language race over?" Absolutely not! If The Intouchables gets the win, I'll eat Francois Cluzet's beret. Remember, though it may have as much money as A Separation, it has faaaaar less critical support (RT Top Critics score of 69%). It's also a semi-comedy in a very serious branch (see also, Le Havre last year). And to beat, the FL branch has showed particular tendency in snubbing popular French films.

If anything, Amour has this race wrapped up (assuming that it's not controversial... or DQ'ed because of nationality rules). My shortlist predictions, guessing on a couple of national selections):

Australia, Lore; Austria, Amour; Chile, No; Denmark, A Royal Affair; France, The Intouchables; Germany, Barbara; Mexico, After Lucia; Romania, Beyond the Hills; South Korea, Pieta

I think France could very well be left out of the nominations. And I even enjoyed the film.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Wait, I hate to sound like a dum-dum, but I had always thought Amour was French but now I see it is from Austria. Is it in German then? I don't see how Amour can lose if it's any good and I hear it's great. In fact, I predict both stars will be nominated as well. Why not? It's early enough to be crazy.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

Dave -- Amour is in French but it's from Michael Haneke who is Austrian. They're looser about the nationality rules these days.

September 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Despite its popularity, I can't see "The Intouchables" winning the foreign Oscar. Previous winners have been some of the most depressing and heavy films I've ever seen. Even the most recent "light" winner (Life is Beautiful) had me bawling my eyes out. I'm sticking with Amour.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSquasher88

Am I the only one that confuses Les Intouchables and Les Indidèles? At some point, I'm gonna see one of them, and IT HAD BETTER have Jean Dujardin sexytimes in it.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

No, the race is far from over. I don't think it's really ever been the case that the Foreign Language committee automatically goes for the populist choice. It certainly wasn't the case when Pan's Labyrinth lost, or when Amelie lost. Amour is still very much the frontrunner in my opinion.

September 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEdwin

You may add the 3 movies preselected for SPAIN in Foreing Language. We will know the final decision on September 27th. Meanwhile the finalists are:

*Blancanieves (Pablo Berger): Silent movie, B&W, amazing Maribel Verdu leading the cast.

*El artista y la modelo - The artist and the model (Fernando Trueba): B&W. Claudia cardinale and Jean Rochefort in the cast. Trueba won Oscar in 1994 with Belle Epoque.

*Grupo 7 - Group 7 (Alberto Rodríguez): Thriller. This is the weakest option.

I think the chosen one will be Blancanieves. It will be nice to see that beautiful film in the Oscars Race. And why not Maribel nominated as supporting actress? :)

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDani

I saw "The Intouchables" a few months ago and I hated it... I think the performances are fine but the screenplay is a sucession of clichés...everything seemed so schematic and by the book.

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercca
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