• France's news in English

'The Artist' part of Gallic flavour at Oscars

AFP · 25 Jan 2012, 07:46

Published: 25 Jan 2012 07:46 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Silent film "The Artist" added 10 Oscar nominations to its Hollywood haul on Tuesday -- and is part of a distinctly Gallic flavour to the Academy Awards shortlists this year.


The French-directed film, which has won a string of US awards over the last two months, is joined by Martin Scorsese's Paris-based "Hugo" and Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris," both also nominated for best picture Oscar.

"A Cat in Paris" by French director Jean-Loup Felicioli is also up for best animated film Oscar, against Hollywood animated giants "Kung Fu Panda 2," "Puss in Boots," "Rango," as well as Spain's "Chico & Rita,"

Backed by awards campaign veteran Harvey Weinstein, "The Artist" is a tribute to Hollywood's silent era and was made at Warner and Paramount studios -- but it is 100 percent French financed.

To keep control over the film, producer Thomas Langmann and his company "La Petite Reine" (Little Queen) created a US subsidiary, Barbes Brothers, which managed the filming in the US, before returning to France for post production.

Filmed between September and November 2010 with an estimated budget of just over nine million euros ($11.7 million), "The Artist" is silent for the movie-goer, but wasn't on set of course -- and there was some hesitation about which language to speak.

"At the start we didn't know if the financing given by the (French) national center for cinematography would require the use of French, so just in case all the French actors spoke French," said Antoine de Cazotte, head of Barbes Brothers in Los Angeles.

"But it didn't make any sense, since the film is supposed to be set in Hollywood and some of the cast are English-speaking. So we switched to English and sometimes... in an invented language," he added.

For the Oscars, a film's language or its nationality don't determine whether it can be nominated, although in practice most movies shortlisted and given prizes are from English-speaking countries.

The rules stipulate that films from all countries are eligible in all categories, as long as they have run in theaters in Los Angeles for at least seven days before December 31 of the year preceding the Oscars ceremony, and that they were screened with English sub-titles if necessary.

"The Artist" is distributed in the US by The Weinstein Company, past masters of Oscars campaigns -- last year's best picture winner "The King's Speech" was one of theirs -- and they gave the French film their best treatment.

"Harvey Weinstein did incredible work. The way he has of... presenting the film in the best way, with the right timing, is very powerful," the film's director Michel Hazanavicius told AFP after it won best film at the Golden Globes earlier this month.

To highlight the movie, its cast and crew have attended endless publicity and other events in Hollywood, interviewed in the industry press and on television, in a campaign which has resulted in the film's Oscars favourite status.

"Once he has established a strategy, he really provides the resources to implement it. And the Oscars campaign is completely part of his plan, I think, for the film to be a success," added the director.

Hazanavicius can be especially proud: Weinstein, known for insisting on changes in films before he agrees to distribute them, did not touch "The Artist."

"He didn't take out a single frame. He didn't change a note of music, nor the poster nor the trailer. He told me: 'The only fault with this film is that there's nothing for me to change'.



Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France’s 'Jungle' children arrive in UK
Authorities will start to clear the ‘Jungle’ migrant camp on Monday. Photo: Denis Charlet / AFP file picture

The first group of children from the French "Jungle" migrant camp with no connection to Britain have arrived in the country, the Home Office said Sunday, ahead of the camp's planned demolition.

French FM calls for end to Aleppo 'massacre'
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault says the international community cannot ‘come to a negotiation under the bombs’. Photo: Dominick Reuter / AFP file picture

France's foreign minister urged the international community to "do everything" to end the "massacre" in the Syrian city of Aleppo on Sunday after fighting resumed following a 72-hour truce declared by Damascus ally Russia.

French cheer police, reviving Charlie spirit
French police officers on Saturday demonstrated for the fifth night in a row to protest mounting attacks on officers. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

Angry French police have taken to the streets for five nights in a row -- and Parisians have started to cheer them on, reviving scenes last seen following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in 2015.

Scarlett Johansson turns popcorn girl in Paris
US actress Scarlett Johansson greets customers at the Yummy Pop gourmet popcorn shop in the Marais district of Paris. Photo: Benjamin Cremel / AFP

Hollywood superstar Scarlett Johansson swapped the red carpet for a turn behind the counter at her new popcorn shop in Paris on Saturday.

US couple donates huge art collection to Paris
Marlene (centre) and Spencer (right) are donating their collection ‘for the benefit of art lovers’. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

A Texan couple who discovered their love for art during a trip to Paris in the 1970s are to donate the multi-million dollar collection they have amassed since to the French capital.

France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available