Following on from our previous piece on this year’s incredibly exciting Foreign language Oscar race (now called Best International feature Film) and more namely the race between some countries films to bag their nations nomination, today France revealed which of their three big hitters would be being put forward for consideration for January’s Oscar nominations.
Beating out the favorite, Celine Sciamma’s critically lorded ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’, is documentarian turned feature filmmaker Ladj Ly’s ‘Les Misérables’. And while this has come as a shock to many, especially considering ‘Portrait’s far superior critical performance (93 on Metascore compared to the 71 of ‘Les Misérables’, it is clear, as stated by Gregory Ellwood from The Playlist, that the film has operated as ‘a rallying cry amid notable members of the French film-making community’ which may very well have pushed it over the edge in its bid to land the French submission.
The film itself not only represents France from a political standpoint, as it explores tensions between districts and the police in Paris’ poorest neighborhoods, but it also represents the first time France has entered a film from a black film-maker, a huge stride for a country whose last nomination was in 2016 (‘Mustang’).
Although many Sciamma fans will be disappointed with the news, especially considering the film would be a lock for submission and probably an Oscar nomination if it was being submitted by any other nation on the planet, the film is still expected to do somewhat decent business when it hits American screens in December.