In a change of direction, a markedly younger seven-member film commission including Cannes director Thierry Fremaux has chosen heart-tugging crowdpleaser "The Intouchables" as their official Oscar submission, their first comedy.
This is great news for the Weinstein Co., which took France's "The Artist" all the way to best picture earlier this year. TWC opened "The Untouchables" stateside in May and deliberately released it over the summer to a strong $8.9 million domestic gross. They had reason to invest; the company plans a remake with Colin Firth reportedly attached and Paul Feig at the helm.
But it didn't hurt to prove to the French that the movie played well here. The loser in the Oscar submission derby is respected French auteur Jacques Audiard's hardboiled Cannes drama "Rust & Bone," which Sony Pictures Classics will still support for a Marion Cotillard best actress nomination. France's last Oscar nominated film, Audiard's "A Prophet," lost to Japan's "Departures" in 2009.
"The Intouchables" has grossed $364.5 million worldwide, and ranks as France's third biggest hit ever. The French haven't won a foreign film Oscar since Regis Wargnier's "Indochine" in 1993. The Tomatometer puts "The Intouchables" at 74% Fresh. Here's more on the growing list of Foreign Oscar contenders. The official Oscar submission deadline looms: October 1.
Directed by Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache, the movie stars Francois Cluzet as a wealthy paraplegic and Omar Sy as his rowdy caretaker. Sy beat "The Artist" Oscar-winner Jean Dujardin for the best actor Cesar.
Check out the trailer below: