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Sony Pictures Classics Sets December 19 Date for Cannes Winner “Amour,” Signals Oscar Chase

Sony Pictures Classics Sets December 19 Date for Cannes Winner "Amour," Signals Oscar Chase

The big question coming out of Cannes is whether Sony Pictures Classics can push Michael’s Haneke’s somber end-of-life Palme d’Or winner “Amour” all the way to major category Oscar nominations beyond best foreign film. While the film was shot in France with veteran stars Jean Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva and Isabelle Huppert, SPC says that Haneke’s home country Austria will submit the film for Oscar consideration.

SPC has set an Oscar-friendly date of December 19 for the film’s release, signaling that it is going for the whole enchilada–foreign films don’t have to be released stateside in the calendar year to be eligible, just in their country of origin, and SPC often waits to release their foreign films in the more visible post-nominations corridor.

We can expect the film to turn up at fall film festivals, and for well-known Trintignant and Riva, while they are somewhat fragile, to do some promo touring in support of acting nominations. Trintignant and Riva play a loving, cultivated retired couple who are in their eighties; when the woman has a stroke, her husband must care for his partner. Haneke could also be a candidate for best director.  

“Amour” is the third go-round for Haneke and SPC, who released “Cache” and 2009 Palme d”Or winner “The White Ribbon,” which earned two Oscar nominations, for foreign film and cinematography. This is only the second time a director has won back-to-back Cannes prizes; the other was Bille August, for “Best Intentions” after “Pelle the Conqueror.”

SPC also acquired before the festival Jacques Audiard’s “Rust and Bone,” which came away empty-handed; Marion Cotillard was expected to have a shot at the Best Actress prize, which did not go to Riva either but to the two young non-pro stars of Cristian Mungiu’s “Beyond the Hills.” And during the Fest SPC scooped up likely Chile submission, “No,” a Director’s Fortnight entry about the ad campaign that cost Chilean dictator Pinochet the 1988 election, directed by Pablo Larrain and starring Gael Garcia Bernal.

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Il Postino was no fluke. But why not watch it and see?


There is no way Amour is getting a best picture nomination, foreign films just don't get nominated for best picture. Obviously this has nothing to do with the merit of foreign films since many of the best films aren't English-language. If you take a look at recent nominees – Letters from Iwo Jima basically doesn't count because it was directed by Clint Eastwood. Ang Lee had already established himself as an English-language director with Sense & Sensibility and Crouching Tiger was basically a more sophisticated action picture, not a quiet drama like Amour, and so U.S. audiences were naturally more receptive. Life is Beautiful is a Holocaust movie, which guarantees at least some Oscar play, it was somewhat surprising it was a best picture nominee – but it was a Holocaust movie. Il Postino (though I haven't seen it) looks like a bit of a fluke, I can't see why it would overcome the foreign bias, unlike the other films. Michael Radford is an English-language director, but I don't think he's a well-established name in film. So, Il Postino seems like a fluke. Amour doesn't have any of the necessary conditions (established English-language director, Holocaust, or epic genre film like action or war). Amour does not have much of a chance of being a best picture nominee. I don't think it's even clear it will be nominated for best foreign language film, a lot of times the best foreign films aren't even nominated.

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