Check Out Our New Look

OSCARS Q&A: Michael Haneke

By | Saturday February 9, 2013 @ 8:00pm PST

David Mermelstein is an AwardsLine contributor

Though his films might lead you to believe otherwise, Michael Haneke is surprisingly good-humored in conversation. His latest film, Amour, is nominated for five Oscars: best picture, foreign-language film, director, original screenplay, and actress. It soberly and precisely charts the decline of an aged French couple, played to a fare-thee-well by Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva. The film might be the writer-director’s most personal to date, for though it retains the intense focus and absence of sentimentality present in his other work, its plainly expressed—and inevitably touching—humanity was inspired by a chapter from Haneke’s own life. Until Amour, Haneke was best known in America for the Oscar-nominated The White Ribbon (2009), which chillingly depicts village life in pre-World War I Germany and hints at the foundations of Nazism, and Cache (2005), which plumbs issues of memory, guilt, and identity. Speaking from Madrid, during rehearsals for a production of Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte, the filmmaker discussed with AwardsLine various issues connected with his recent film work.

AwardsLine: What compelled you to make Amour?
Michael Haneke: Nothing forced me [to make the film], but what motivated me was a case in my family. I was forced to look on as someone very close to me suffered—but not specifically as depicted in the film—someone for whom I cared for very much. And that led me to make … Read More »

Comments (4)

OSCARS: Does ‘Amour’ Have A Shot To Make Academy History?

Pete Hammond

Only once has the winner of the top prize in Cannes ever matched the winner of the Oscar for Best Picture. 1955′s Marty won both, but no film has been able to duplicate that feat in the more than a half-century since.  But now Michael Haneke‘s Amour, nominated for five Oscars including Best Picture and also winner of the 2012 Cannes Festival’s Palme d’Or, has the chance to do it.  However it’s a clear long shot, this year’s Oscar wild card.

Related: OSCARS: Parsing The Foreign Language Nominees

No foreign-language film has ever won Oscar’s top prize, although several have been nominated such as Cries And Whispers, Il Postino  and others. A handful, only four before Amour, have been nominated in both the Best Foreign Language Film and Best Picture categories. Z (1969),  Life Is Beautiful (1998), and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)  all won in Foreign Language Film but lost Best Picture. The Swedish film, The Emigrants had the distinction of nominations in both categories over the course of two years when Academy rules for foreign language films eligibility in other categories was different. It lost both Foreign Language Film in 1971 and Best Picture in 1972.

Related: César Award Nominations: ‘Amour’ Scores 10

The problem seems to be Academy members generally think the Foreign Film prize is a kind of Best Picture award making the trick of … Read More »

Comments 25