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César Awards: ‘Les Garçons Et Guillaume, A Table!’ Wins Best Film, Actor & Other Key Prizes; ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Nearly Shut Out In Surprising Ceremony

Cesar Award WinnersUPDATE, 3:00 PM PT: This was a big night for Guillaume Gallienne’s Les Garçons Et Guillaume, A Table! The Gaumont-backed comedy led the night with 10 nominations coming in and picked up five key prizes: Best Film, Best Debut Feature, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editing. It was heavily favored, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a bunch of surprises in the mix. Blue Is The Warmest Color walked away nearly empty-handed, taking only the Best Female Newcomer prize for Adèle Exarchopoulos. On accepting, she thanked director Abdellatif Kechiche, who was not present at the ceremony. She also called co-star Léa Seydoux, “My most beautiful love story… on film.” Seydoux ultimately lost out on the Best Actress trophy to 9 Mois Ferme‘s Sandrine Kiberlain. That film won one other prize, for director and co-star Albert Dupontel’s original screenplay. Also notable is Roman Polanski‘s win as Best Director for Venus In Fur. The helmer was visibly surprised, “I really, really didn’t expect this,” he said in his very concise thank yous.

les-garcons-et-guillaume-a-table-guillaume-gallienneGallienne’s Les Garçons is a virtual one-man show that also stars and is written by the director. In the autobiographical coming-of-age tale, he plays the two lead roles — himself and his mother, a woman for whom his love is boundless and by whom he has always … Read More »

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France’s Cesar Nominations: ‘Les Garçons Et Guillaume’ Lead Way; ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’, ‘Stranger By The Lake’ Tie For 2nd

les garconsUPDATE, 3:48 AM, PST: Gaumont’s local comedy Les Garçons Et Guillaume, A Table!, which enjoyed a strong run at the French box office in 2013, bested all comers to lead the nominations for France’s César Awards this morning in Paris. The debut feature by Guillaume Gallienne is a virtual one-man show that also stars and is written by the helmer. In the autobiographical coming-of-age tale, he plays the two lead roles — himself and his mother, a woman for whom his love is boundless and by whom he has always been treated as the daughter she never had. It debuted in Cannes Directors’ Fortnight this year where it was a prize winner. Gallienne, who hails from the venerable Comédie Française, adapted the film (see trailer here) from his own stage show. The movie is nominated in 10 categories including Film, Director, Debut Feature, Actor and Adapted Screenplay. Cannes Palme d’Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Color follows with eight nominations including Best Film, Director, Actress (Léa Seydoux) and Female Newcomer (Adèle Exarchopoulos). Also scoring eight nods, including Best Film, is another Cannes entry, Stranger By The Lake, a movie that was met with controversy when it was released in France in June and saw its ad campaign pulled in two Parisian suburbs. The film is a gay-themed, sexually explicit thriller … Read More »

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OSCARS: Sundance Selects Ramps Up ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Star’s Best Actress Bid (Video)

Pete Hammond

At just 19 years old, new French acting sensation Adele Exarchopoulos became the youngest winner ever of the Cannesblue-is-the-warmest-color-movie Film Festival’s Palme d’Or when the jury — led by Steven Spielberg — made an unprecedented move this past spring. It awarded not only Blue Is The Warmest Color‘s director Abdellatif Kechiche the festival’s top prize as is the norm, but in a surprise move also its two extraordinary stars (Lea Seydoux rounded out the trio onstage at the Palais).  But then Blue Is The Warmest Color is no ordinary movie, and distributor Sundance Selects is hoping Oscar voters get the message too: Though not eligible to compete this year for Best Foreign Language Film due to its late release in France, it is eligible in other categories, and the distrib just crafted a new trailer focusing on Exarchopoulos that is aimed squarely at the Academy. Check it out:

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A three-hour study of the intense romance between a teenage girl and an older lesbian , the NC-17 film has caused waves wherever it’s played. But as Spielberg explained, the Cannes jury saw it only as simply a great love story. For Exarchopoulos, who recently turned 20, it was, and continues to be, a pretty heady experience as she explained when I recently interviewed her for the Screen Actors Guild Foundation. “It was my first Cannes Film Festival”, she told me. “We thought our reaction would be more divided, like some people hate and some people love it — but almost everyone liked it. After the ceremony it was like a dream. I mean you never realize what it’s like to win such a prize at 19. Yeah , it was cool.”

Related: Sundance Selects To Release ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ With NC-17 Rating

FRANCE-FILM-FESTIVAL-CANNESExarchopoulos also has a refreshing, unfiltered attitude toward acting — and in this case, those talked-about nude scenes. In fact she said although she knew her co-star by reputation (Seydoux is a huge star in France) she didn’t meet her until she was on the set for the first nude scene. “The first thing we did together is the sex scene, the dream scene, so when you meet someone naked it’s so different,” Exarchopoulos said. “We said hello and two minutes after we’re naked and we’re like, ‘OK, let’s do this’.  There is no hypocrisy and she doesn’t try to force things and try to be friends because of the shoot. Everything came naturally. She’s more experienced than me so I was feeling from her because she’s really good, and I was lucky to play with her. It really helps to introduce you naked. I mean you’re vulnerable, there is no chickening out. You’re just yourself and you have to make body language.” Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Prix Louis Delluc To ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’; Sergio Leone Heirs Launch Leone Film Group IPO; More

‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Nabs France’s Prix Louis Delluc
Blue Is the Warmest ColorFrance’s prestigious Prix Louis Delluc has gone to Blue Is The Warmest Color. The Cannes Palme d’Or winner directed by Abdellatif Kechiche is famously not France’s Oscar entry this year due to the timing of its release, but just nabbed a Golden Globe nomination and has an Indie Spirit nom as well as a handful of critics’ prizes. Cannes President Gilles Jacob oversees the jury for the Delluc award, which was established in 1937. Last year’s winner was Benoit Jacquot’s Farewell, My Queen. The best first film Delluc went this year to Vandal by Hélier Cisterne.

Sergio Leone Estate Launching IPO Of Leone Film Group
alamogoodbadugly_8The heirs of spaghetti Western maestro Sergio Leone are planning an IPO of the Leone Film Group to kick off Wednesday. The company is eyeing a listing on Milan’s small-cap market and, according to The Wall Street Journal, is hoping to raise about €17M with a sale of a 20% stake. The move is designed to help expand the company’s 400-title film library, its own production output and to sign more distribution agreements with U.S. filmmakers. The group has a deal with DreamWorks and also has picked up such recent titles as Ron Howard’s Rush and Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf Of Wall Street. Leone’s heirs, Andrea and Raffaella, are also looking to pitch their father’s brand to a younger audience. The pair has bought back rights to most of Leone’s movies and is now looking to make deals for spaghetti western-style areas in U.S. theme parks, the Journal report says. Read More »

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OSCARS: An Early Look At The Best Picture Race – Frontrunners In A Crowded Field

Pete Hammond

A recent, and unsolicited, email from a producer friend of mine demonstrates what a lot of people are saying about this year’s best picture race: “Now this is a year for film! Tremendous. Going to be a fun one, my friend.” It is going to be a fun one. Nearly every Academy member to whom I have spoken seems excited about the level of quality in this year’s race, which is a strong indication that this could be the first year 10 films are nominated since the rules changed to allow a variable number. Just consider what’s already out there in theaters or on Blu-Ray: 12 Years A Slave, Gravity, Captain Phillips, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Dallas Buyers Club, Blue Jasmine, All Is Lost, Fruitvale Station, Prisoners, Rush, Blue Is The Warmest Color, Before Midnight, Mud and The Place Beyond The Pines.

The fact is, this is a year in which there could be room for 20 films. Consider those yet to open or just opening: Philomena, Saving Mr. Banks, Nebraska, Inside Llewyn Davis, August: Osage County, The Book Thief, Her, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Lone Survivor, Labor Day and The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty. All of those films have played the fest circuit, and most pundits—including this one—already have seen them and can say definitively that it’s a formidable list. Of those yet to be seen by just about anyone outside of rarefied circles are The Wolf Of Wall Street and American Hustle, both December releases expected to be major players in several races.

Related: OSCARS: Fest Circuit A Must For Majors Chasing Award Season Gold

With this kind of lineup, it is no wonder some movies once thought to have awards aspiration—such as Foxcatcher, Grace Of Monaco, The Immigrant and George Clooney’s The Monuments Men—have all opted out. And why not? Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: ’12 Years A Slave,’ ‘Dallas Buyers Club,’ ‘All Is Lost’ Hold Strong; ‘Armstrong Lie’ Tops Newcomers

Indie FilmsHigh profile awards contenders had big expansions over the weekend, easily dwarfing the roll outs of lower profile new comers this weekend. Fox Searchlight’s big Oscar hopeful 12 Years A Slave, Roadside/Lionsgate’s All Is Lost and Focus Features’ Dallas Buyers Club headed into more theaters and markets with mostly strong results. Searchlight moved 12 Years A Slave into 1,144 theaters, an increase of 734 from the previous week. It grossed $6.6 million in its 4th week of release, averaging $5,769 and placing 7th in the overall box office.

Roadside/Lionsgate’s All Is Lost, which had its U.S. debut earlier this month at the New York Film Festival, headed into 401 runs grossing over $1.2 million and averaging $3K. Last week, it grossed nearly $600K in 131 locations. Focus added 26 theaters for Dallas Buyers Club‘s second frame. The film starring Matthew McConaughey held nicely, grossing $629K, averaging almost $18K. Focus noted the film had a 61% increase from Friday to Saturday, which the company touted Sunday morning. “This bump far exceeds the 45% to 50% bump which is the norm for a roll-out,” said a Focus spokesperson. “This big bump on Saturday shows momentum with Saturday’s habitual adult – Boomer, Gen X and sophisticated younger patrons. For the second week in a row, the film over performed on Saturday. Clearly it is connecting with the core adult audience.” Focus added that increases also took place in last week’s theaters as well.

Among newcomers, Sony Classics’ The Armstrong Lie took the weekend’s highest PSA, though from a slight threshold. The Venice and Toronto documentary grossed $30,904, averaging $6,181. This is the second film to head to theaters this year from veteran filmmaker Alex Gibney, whose late May release We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks averaged $6,922 when it bowed in 4 theaters. That film went on to gross over $166K in the U.S. SPC will expand The Armstrong Lie into several additional markets next weekend, while also adding runs in Los Angeles. Read More »

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‘The Broken Circle Breakdown’ Leads European Film Awards Nominations

The European Film Academy has unveiled the nominees for the 26th European Film Awards. Felix van Groeningen’s Berlin and Tribeca prize-winner, The Broken Circle Breakdown, leads the pack with five nods in each of the top categories. The film is also Belgium’s entry for the Foreign Language Oscar. Paolo Sorrentino’s Cannes competitor, and Italy’s Oscar entry, The Great Beauty, has four nominations. Another film from Italy, Giuseppe Tornatore’s English-language The Best Offer starring Geoffrey Rush, also fared well with the Academy, taking three nominations. Three other films garnered three nods: François Ozon’s In The House; Jan Ole Gerster’s Oh Boy!, which won six Lolas in Germany earlier this year; and Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina. The latter film bagged acting nods for Jude Law and Keira Knightley. Blue Is The Warmest Color was mentioned twice, for Best European Film and Best European Director; although there were no citations for the film’s lead actresses. Naomi Watts also is a nominee for The Impossible. The winners will be announced in Berlin on December 7th. Following is a full list of the nominees: Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ Reigns In “Smart-House” Debut; Controversial ‘Blue’ Loses Steam

Indie FilmsDallas Buyers Club cinched the top spot in the Specialty Box Office, grossing over $264K, averaging a strong $29K-plus in 9 theaters this weekend. The Toronto debut starring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner is based on the true story of Ron Woodroof who took on the medical establishment illegally importing promising drugs from abroad after learning he was HIV-positive.

“The word-of-mouth is stimulating the box office momentum which we see in the big increase from Friday to Saturday,” noted Focus Sunday. “Dallas experienced a strong increase in box office on Saturday with a 71% overall bump from Friday to Saturday. Yesterday’s increase is a strong indication that the film’s popular and box office momentum is working well. Grosses in the U.S. houses are strong with Dallas the #1 ranked film in 4 of the 6 opening houses.” Focus added that “smart-house films” historically increase in the upper 40% range from Friday to Saturday.

The distributor had more flush results from The Place Beyond The Pines earlier this year, grossing over $279 in 4 theaters in April, averaging nearly $70K. Had Dallas only opened in its 6 U.S. theaters, the average would have been $35K. The film also bowed in 3 Canadian locations this weekend. The result is an auspicious send off to the “Specialty” incarnation of Focus lead by James Schamus. Read More »

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PTC Slams Gotham’s IFC Center For “Industrial Fraud” In Letting Teens See NC-17 ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’

By | Wednesday October 30, 2013 @ 1:46pm PDT

EXCLUSIVEBlue Is The Warmest Color has gotten the Parents Television Council steamed in all the wrong ways, so much so that the watchdog group has veered from small-screen scrutiny to take on the racy feature film. The advocacy group ripped into NYC’s IFC Center for last week’s decision to flout the MPAA’s adults-only NC-17 rating for the 2013 Palme d’Or winner and invite teenagers to view the sexual-awakening tale that charmed Cannes. “The IFC Center’s decision to usurp parental and family authority by allowing unfettered access to children of adult-rated, explicit sexual content is a direct assault on parents and families across the country,” PTC President Tim Winter thundered in a letter sent to IFC Center General Manager and SVP John Vanco. “Your selective unenforcement (sic) of the MPAA guidelines in this instances approaches industrial fraud, in that the system is intended specifically for the purpose of parental reliance, and that reliance has been obviated. We ask that you immediately reconsider this self-serving and undermining business decision, and instead do what is in the right and best interests of parents, families and children. The Parents Television Council will bring its full weight and credit to bear to make a national issue of your decision, via every available means, until it is reversed,” the letter concludes. It isn’t clear how PTC’s full weight will impact a Gotham art house theater; MPAA issues its ratings, but those classifications are voluntary, and theaters are not under any obligation to follow them.

NC-17 Import ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Scores Solid Open
‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Is Year’s Top Local Opener In France
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Specialty Box Office: NC-17 Import ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Scores Solid Open

By | Sunday October 27, 2013 @ 10:00am PDT

After the Palme d’Or, public spats and talk about “that scene,” Cannes Palme d’Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Color opened with solid numbers this weekend in New York and L.A. The feature grossed just over $101K in 4 theaters, for a $25,279 average – easily the highest of the weekend and one of the year’s highest for a foreign-language film.

Sundance Selects said it was “thrilled” by Blue‘s performance and that the drama about two young women who fall in love appealed across genders this weekend. “From the moment it screened in Cannes to its opening engagements here in the United States the film has received enormous publicity and critical acclaim for the film and for the lead actresses’ performances,” said IFC Films/Sundance Selects’ Mark Boxer Sunday. “Now filmgoers in New York and Los Angeles have had the opportunity to see what generated so much excitement and controversy and the turnout was quite impressive in a very crowded marketplace.”

Related: Palme d’Or Winner Ineligible For Foreign Language Category
Why Wild Bunch Wouldn’t Budge On ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Release For Oscar Eligibility

Blue opened stateside with an NC-17, though NYC’s IFC Center very publicly said it would admit high schoolers to the film. The title also trumped last year’s Best Foreign Language Oscar winner and fellow Palme d’Or winner Amour, which had a $22,755 in 3 locations last December. That film went on to gross over $6.7 million in the U.S. Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’, ‘Spinning Plates’, ‘Capital’, ‘Not Yet Begun To Fight’

By | Thursday October 24, 2013 @ 4:45pm PDT

Blue Is The Warmest Color has had more press, public spats, anticipation, praise and momentum than any foreign-language film in memory. The latest flap involves New York’s IFC Center deciding not to honor the NC-17 MPAA voluntary rating, allowing young people under 18 to see the film. Now the Palme d’Or winner is heading out to theaters in the U.S. courtesy of Sundance Selects. The film has already grossed nearly a cool $4.5 million in France since opening October 9. The weekend’s roster of newcomers are far fewer than previous bows this fall. Among the new Specialties hitting theaters along with Blue Friday are The Film Arcade’s Spinning Plates by Food Network host Joseph Levy as well as fellow doc Not Yet Begun To Fight by Shasta Grenier and Sabrina Lee’s, which they will self-distribute, and Cohen Media Group’s Capital. And listed in last week’s Specialty Preview is Jehane Noujaim’s Toronto and NYFF debut, The Square, which will open at Film Forum in New York.

Blue Is The Warmest Color
Director-writer: Abdellatif Kechiche
Writers: Julie Maroh (story), Galia Lacroix (adaptation)
Cast: Adèle Exarchopoulos, Léa Seydoux, Salim Kechiouche, Aurélien Recoing, Catherine Salée, Benjamin Siksou
Distributor: Sundance Selects

Much has been talked about the 2013 Cannes Palme d’Or winner, Blue Is The Warmest Color. The festival, lead by festival juror Steven Spielberg even gave recognition to the film’s two leads, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux with special Palme d’Ors of their own. The film centers on Adèle, a young woman who meets Emma, with whom she falls in love with as the pair embark on a passionate relationship.

Related:Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Is France’s Top Local Opener Of The Year
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‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Is France’s Top Local Opener Of The Year

By | Thursday October 10, 2013 @ 5:30am PDT

Looks like an unwavering release strategy for Blue Is The Warmest Color has paid off for French distributor Wild Bunch. The Cannes Palme d’Or-winning love story went out yesterday in France and landed atop the Paris box office in its first 2 PM showings, outperforming both Disney’s Planes and the Hugh Jackman/Jake Gyllenhaal-starrer Prisoners. Planes was No. 1 in the whole of the country for the day, early rankings show, followed by Blue and Prisoners. In Paris, however, the Blue curious were out in droves for the first showings, bringing the film 3,286 admissions on 26 screens versus 2,581 on 20 screens for Planes and 1,629 for Prisoners on 19 screens. The result gives Blue bragging rights as the top French debut of the year and puts it in the top 10 openers overall for 2013. (Full results for the day are still being tallied in France.) Wild Bunch notoriously stuck to its guns on maintaining an October 9th release date, even though that put the movie out of possible consideration as France’s entry for the Foreign Language Oscar race. Sundance Selects has set an October 25th limited release in the U.S. for the film, which will be rated NC-17 stateside.

Related: OSCARS: Cannes Winner Ineligible For Foreign Language Category

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OSCARS: Controversial Foreign Language Race Begins But “Radical” Changes Could Be In Academy’s Future – Mark Johnson Interview

By | Monday October 7, 2013 @ 11:42am PDT
Pete Hammond

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has just released the list of a record-setting 76 contenders for the 2013 Best Foreign Language Film category  and members start viewing them in a two-month process that begins Friday night. But in a year that has produced any number of eye opening choices and omissions, there may be changes in store for next time that could significantly alter the process as it has been played for decades. One change could involve eligibility dates. Rules now state a country can’t enter a film unless it has opened in that country by September 30th of the qualifying year. That rule eliminated the high profile Cannes Festival Palme d’Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Color which doesn’t open in France until Wednesday, nine days after the cutoff date. It’s a rule that doesn’t really reflect the realities of international distribution these days as some American distributors have recently complained. The Academy has maintained it is necessary just so all the films can be screened in time before nominations have to be announced in January.

Related: OSCARS: 76 Countries Competing In Foreign Language Film Category

Also, continuing controversies due to the increasing politicization of the selection process of Foreign Language film entries in their individual countries could lead to what returning Foreign Language Committee Chairman Mark Johnson termed “radical” changes in the process and rules leading to the choice of the final five nominees.

Related: Another Film Ruled Out Of Foreign Language Race

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Deadline’s Global Showbiz Watch With Nancy Tartaglione, Episode 7

Listen to (and share) Episode 7 of Deadline’s audio podcast Global Showbiz Watch, With Nancy Tartaglione. Deadline’s international editor talks with host David Bloom about why the distributors of Blue Is The Warmest Color are seeing red over Oscar foreign-language film rules; the first Saudi Arabian film ever submitted for the Oscars; J.K. Rowling spinning off a screenplay in Harry Potter land and a Potter producer taking on Paddington bear; and why Vivendi is considering a spinoff of its own.

Deadline Global Showbiz Watch, Episode 7 (MP3 format)
Deadline Global Showbiz Watch, Episode 7 (MP4a format) Read More »

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Why Wild Bunch Wouldn’t Budge On ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Release For Oscar Eligibility

By | Tuesday September 17, 2013 @ 7:31am PDT

Yesterday’s announcement that Gilles Bourdos’ period drama Renoir would be France’s entry for the Foreign-Language Oscar race was a bit of a head-scratcher. Once it became clear a few months ago that Cannes Palme d’Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Color (aka Adèle: Chapters 1&2) would not be eligible, other possible titles were floated including previous Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi’s The Past. But Renoir was not really on the radar — not the least because it had debuted in a Cannes sidebar in 2012. Academy Foreign Language rules stipulate that a film must be released domestically between October 1st and September 30th and Renoir was a fit because it went out in January this year in France. Blue, however, is not releasing until October 9th, meaning it misses the cut-off. Many have wondered why Wild Bunch, which is distributing Blue in France, would not change the October 9th date to qualify. Company co-founder Vincent Maraval tells me today, “There was never any question for us to modify in any way our release strategy to legitimize the stupidity of the Oscar rules. Should we risk our strategy for France for a Foreign Language Film Oscar which doesn’t add anything to a Palme d’Or?” He contends that the Foreign Language Oscar “no longer means anything for a film that was crowned in Cannes” and says the rules are “unique, specific and make no sense. At the same time, no one cares about this category. We’re aiming for (Blue) in all categories, the only ones that count.”

Related: OSCARS: Cannes Palme d’Or Winner Ineligible For Foreign Language Category

Of Renoir, which Wild Bunch sold internationally, Maraval says it’s “a perfect film for the Academy: classic, esthetic and cultural in the same vein as (1994 Foreign Language Oscar winner) Belle Epoque or (1991 winner) Mediterraneo. It got rave reviews from U.S. critics and it’s the highest-grossing French film in the U.S. this year with $2.2M. Objectively, it’s the most legitimate candidate.” Read More »

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France Selects ‘Renoir’ As Foreign Language Oscar Entry

With Abdellatif Kechiche’s Palme d’Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Color ineligible for submission as France’s entry for the Foreign Language Film Oscar race, the local committee has turned to a decidedly different type of film. Gilles Bourdos’ Renoir debuted in Cannes in 2012 in the Un Certain Regard sidebar. Samuel Goldwyn Films acquired it at the time and released it in the U.S. in March to about $2.2M in box office. Although the film has been around for a while, it fits within the necessary criteria of a release between October 1st, 2012 and September 30th, 2013. Its French theatrical release was on January 2nd this year. Conversely, Blue‘s is not until October 9th, meaning it will miss the September 30th cutoff. Renoir is set on the Côte d’Azur in 1915 and centers on Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jean Renoir and the woman who becomes the painter’s model and the filmmaker’s lover. Veteran French actor Michel Bouquet stars with Vincent Rottiers and Christa Theret. Fidélité Films produced the movie that was sold internationally by Wild Bunch — incidentally also the sales company on Blue. French film body the CNC rounds up a committee each year to select the Oscar entry. It’s made up of two permanent judges — Cannes chief Thierry Frémaux and the CNC’s Paul Otchakovsky-Laurens — and … Read More »

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Oscars: Another Cannes-Winning Sundance Selects Film Ruled Out Of Foreign Language Race

Pete Hammond

When it comes to this year’s Foreign Language Film Oscar race, it seems Sundance Selects just can’t catch a break. Coming out of Cannes, the company headed by Jonathan Sehring — who also runs IFC — looked like it easily could have two of the five nominees in the category, especially after its acquisitions took two of the top three prizes at Cannes. The French sensation Blue Is The Warmest Color won the coveted Palme d’Or (usually a key factor in considering a film for Oscar submission), while the Jury Prize (essentially third place) went to Japan’s moving and extremely well-received Like Father, Like Son, which so infatuated Cannes Jury President Steven Spielberg that his DreamWorks is negotiating for an English-language remake.

Related: Hammond On Cannes: ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’

It seemed at the time that both would be a cinch as their respective countries’ entry in the race, and Sundance Selects was riding high. But as Deadline reported in July, a quirky Academy rule that requires a foreign entry to have opened by September 30 in its country of origin KO’d Warmest Color’s chances, despite Sehring’s best efforts to turn it around. Unfortunately Wild Bunch, the film’s French distributor, was dead set on releasing it October 9, and a qualifying run was ruled out. Now, in what for me is an even more stunning setback, the seven-member Japan Movie Producers Association ignored its country’s high-profile Cannes winner and instead chose a more obscure film, The Great Passage (Fune O Amu) from 30-year-old director Yuya Ishii, the youngest ever to represent Japan in the Oscar contest. That film was released in April — doing nice, if unremarkable, business at the box office. Like Father, Like Son is scheduled for a September 28 release in Japan, a date presumably chosen to make it eligible for the Oscar race.  But it’s not to be. Read More »

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Toronto: CAA Signs Palme d’Or ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Helmer Abdellatif Kechiche

By | Wednesday September 11, 2013 @ 9:26am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: CAA has signed Abdellatif Kechiche, who is here in Toronto with Blue Is The Warmest Color. That film won the Palme d’Or and FIPRESCI prize at the Cannes Film Festival, taking the top honor in a unanimous vote by the jury headed by Steven Spielberg. The film is the story of the birth of a relationship between a lesbian couple. Kechiche’s previous directing credits include Blame It On Voltaire, Games Of Love And Chance and Black Venus.

Related: ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Gets NC-17 Rating In U.S.

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Sundance Selects To Release Palme d’Or Winner ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ With NC-17 Rating In The US

Blue Is The Warmest Color hasn’t had an easy road since it won the top prize at Cannes in May. First Abdellatif Kechiche’s film was ruled ineligible for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar race because of its October 9 opening in France, which is nine days after the deadline for a submitting country. Now the controversial lesbian drama’s US distributor says it will release the film domestically with an adults-only NC-17 rating. Sundance Selects, which isn’t an MPAA member, says it opted not to trim scenes of “explicit sexual content” or release the pic unrated. Warmest Color, starring Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos, will open October 25, shortly after its screening at the New York Film Festival. “This is a landmark film with two of the best female performances we have ever seen on screen,” Sundance Selects/IFC Films President Jonathan Sehring said in a statement. “The film is first and foremost a film about love, coming of age and passion. We refuse to compromise Kechiche’s vision by trimming the film for an R rating. … An NC-17 rating no longer holds the stigma it once did.”

Related: CAA Signs ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Star Adele Exarchopoulos

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