France to Submit ‘The Taste of Things’ for Oscars’ International Feature Category

France to Submit ‘The Taste of Things’ for Oscars’ International Feature Category

France has submitted the romantic drama, The Taste of Things, as its candidate for the Best International Feature Film category at the upcoming 96th Academy Awards, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The decision is considered to be major upset after co-writer-director Justine Triet’s courtroom thriller, Anatomy of a Fall, which received the Cannes Palme d’Or this year, was considered to be the Oscar frontrunner.

The Taste of Things, a food-driven romantic feature, was penned and helmed by French-Vietnamese filmmaker, Tran Anh Hùng. The movie stars Academy Award-winner Juliette Binoche and Benoit Magimel.

The drama had its World Premiere in Cannes under the title The Pot-au-Feu, where it was a critical and audience favorite. At the festival, the movie won the best director prize. After its premiere, IFC Films and Sapan Studios acquired the feature’s American distribution rights.

Set in 1885, The Taste of Things follows the culinary and romantic relationships between top chef Dodin Bouffant (Magimel) and his personal cook and lover, Eugénie (Binoche). They have been together for decades and he wishes to marry her but she has continuously refused, as she’s afraid accepting his proposal will deprive her of her independence.

The decision by France’s Oscar selection committee surprised many, who had expected Anatomy of a Fall to be nominated. The courtroom thriller stars German actor Sandra Hüller as a writer who may have killed her husband.

Anatomy of a Fall was acquired by Neon, the distributor behind the Palme d’Or and Academy Award-winning Parasite, at Cannes. The movie has been thriving at the French box office is still expected to receive a full awards-season push by Neon. The distributor will release the film in the U.S. on October 13.

The Taste of Things may be seen as a more mainstream pick by France’s Oscar selection committee, which is eager to secure an Academy Award win. Over the last decade, only two French movies — Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s Mustang in 2015 and Ladj Ly’s Les Misérables in 2019 — have received Oscar nominations, but neither won. France has not won the Best International Film trophy since co-scribe-director Régis Wargnier’s period drama Indochine in 1993.

Other movies that were pre-selected by the French committee included Clement Cogitore’s Sons of Ramses; Thomas Cailley’s supernatural coming-of-age drama The Animal Kingdom”; and Denis Imbert’s On The Wandering Paths.

This year’s Academy Award selection committee included producers Charles Gillibert (Annette), former Lionsgate executive Patrick Wachsberger and Oscar-winning composer Alexandre Desplat. Directors Olivier Assayas (Carlos) and Mounia Meddour (Papicha), and sales agents Sabine Chemaly and Tanja Meissner also served on the committe. France’s National Film Board president Dominique Boutonnat and Unifrance’s president Gilles Pelisson sat on the committee but didn’t actively take part in the vote.

Some French movie industry insiders have suggested that the Oscar selection committee is possibly punishing Triet for criticiing the French government during her fiery political speech at Cannes. As a result, some powerful industry figures have been reluctant to embrace the film’s critical laurels and commercial success.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the films on the 2024 Oscar shortlist on December 21. The official five nominees will be announced January 23. The 95th Academy Awards will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on March 10. The submission deadline for the Best International Feature Film category October 2.

Check out more of Karen Benardello’s articles.

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