Only American Films Should Win the Best Picture Oscar, Says Cannes Head Thierry Frémaux

"The Oscar for best film must go to an American film, like the César for the best film goes to a French film and the Goya goes to a Spanish film," Frémaux said.

Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux is all for global cinema, with a caveat.

The festival president addressed the recent 2023 Academy Awards ahead of the 76th annual Cannes Film Festival.

“I thought the ceremony was very good and I was happy to see Michelle Yeoh rewarded. And disappointed that Steven Spielberg wasn’t, because his film is a love letter to cinema,” Frémaux told Variety. “I don’t understand either why [2022 Cannes Palme d’Or winner] ‘Triangle of Sadness’ can’t vie for a best international film Oscar, even if it’s in English. How can a non-American film win the Oscar for best film since it’s a ceremony in honor of American cinema? ‘Parasite’ won, it’s great, but it’s a Korean film.”

Academy rules state that an International Feature submission must “be predominantly (more than 50%) in a language or languages other than English,” while much of “Triangle of Sadness” (despite being an EU/UK co-production) unfolds in English. (Sweden submitted “Boy from Heaven.”)

Frémaux added, “The Oscar for best film must go to an American film, like the Cesar for the best film goes to a French film and the Goya goes to a Spanish film.”

The Cannes president shared similar sentiment with IndieWire at the 2020 Oscars, when “Parasite” ruled the night. “Maybe it would be good,” he said, “for America to celebrate its own cinema.”

Frémaux also cited “Babylon” and “The Fabelmans” specifically as recent examples of American auteur filmmaking.

“Cinema is an elusive object and we must respect its uncertainty, fragility and magic. Pouring tons of money has never made movies better. To make movies exist, we need artists and professionals first and foremost,” he said. “Even the Hollywood studios, whose vocation is to generate profit, have always respected this immutable rule. Let’s hope that the movies from the great American auteurs will find back their audiences in the U.S., that the public will once again enjoy the great and beautiful stories for grown-ups. We’re happy to see that these films are working well in France. I think our country was the best international territory for Damien Chazelle’s ‘Babylon’ and Steven Spielberg’s wonderful film ‘The Fabelmans’ is thriving over here.”

Frémaux continued, “When it comes to American auteur films, they prefer to be released at the end of the year to be closer to the Oscars season. But I must say it again: We can be born in May at Cannes and still be alive in March at the Dolby Theater! We prove it each year.”

With Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” and “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” expected to premiere at 2023 Cannes, the star-studded festival will officially announce its award season buzzy lineup in mid-April.

Frémaux additionally revealed that controversial filmmakers Roman Polanski and Woody Allen could still be supported by the festival. “I don’t think Roman Polanski’s film is ready for Cannes. Maybe Woody Allen’s film will be,” he said of the 2023 lineup. “We will position ourselves depending on the situation.”

Daily Headlines
Daily Headlines covering Film, TV and more.

By subscribing, I agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

PMC Logo
IndieWire is a part of Penske Media Corporation. © 2023 IndieWire Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved.