The Oscars will be presented on the night of March 10-11, Moscow time. The leader is “Oppenheimer” by British director Christopher Nolan, nominated in 12 nominations. On the eve of the main ceremony of the year, the film continues to collect related awards. Last weekend, the Directors Guild of America awarded its main prize to Christopher Nolan as the best director of a feature-length feature film.
The film is based on the documentary book “Oppenheimer. The Triumph and Tragedy of the American Prometheus" by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin and became not only a record holder in the American and world box office, but also the highest-grossing biopic in cinema history. He has been awarded five Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards and several American Film Critics Awards.
The French film Anatomy of a Fall by Justine Trieu was also included in the top ten Oscar nominees vying for the title of Best Picture. Perhaps this is Oppeheimer's most serious competitor. The film received the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2023. In the history of the oldest film festival, this is only the third time that the main award went to a female director. Before Trieu, it was received in 1993 by New Zealander Jane Campion for “The Piano” and in 2021 by Frenchwoman Julia for “Titan.” Last December, Anatomy of a Fall was generously awarded by the European Film Academy, presenting five awards - Best European Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay (Justine Trieu wrote it during quarantine with her husband Arthur Harari), Best Actress role" (German actress Sandra Hüller), "Best Editing" (Lauren Soneschal).
The Oscar's top five directors include both Justine Trieu and Christopher Nolan. “Anatomy of a Fall” and “Oppenheimer” are also nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category. Among the best actresses is Sandra Hüller (“Anatomy of a Fall”), and among the best actors is Irish actor Cillian Murphy, who played Oppenheimer and has already received a Golden Globe. Supporting actor nominations include Emily Blunt and Robert Downey Jr., also nominated for a Golden Globe, from Oppeheimer.
The most interesting thing is connected with the nomination “Best International Film”, where five European films are presented: “I Am Captain” - Italy, “Snow Brotherhood” - Spain, “Teacher’s Room” - Germany, “Zone of Interest” - Great Britain,
“Perfect Days” - although in Japan, but through the eyes of the German classic Wim Wenders. Recognized as “Best International Film” at the Golden Globe, “Anatomy of a Fall” is not in a similar Oscar category. It was not initially nominated by the French Oscar committee, which preferred “Recipe for Love” by the excellent French director of Vietnamese origin Tran Anh Hung, known for the films “Rickshaw”, “Norwegian Wood” by Murakami”, “The Scent of Ripe Papaya”. But his new film dropped out of the Oscar race and did not become a nominee.
At the same time, “Anatomy of a Fall” continues to live an independent life, regardless of the ideas of its French colleagues about the recipe for success at the Oscars. This story was reminiscent of the history of the selection of the Russian Oscar committee, which often made inexplicable decisions. Our filmmakers have often put forward those who are doomed to failure. Classics of the genre - preference for Konchalovsky's "House of Fools" to Rogozhkin's "Cuckoo".
Sandra Hüller played in Anatomy of Love the successful writer Sandra Voiter, who lives happily in the Alps with her husband, a writer, although not so popular. Her calm existence will suddenly be destroyed by the mysterious death of her husband. Sandra will remain with her 11-year-old son, who is visually impaired. She will begin to be suspected of murder. And here it is worth remembering Justine Trieu’s statement that her film is largely not about the tragedy that occurred, but about the couple. “I was interested in using a murder trial as a pretext to help open up relationships in a family where there is a common child, but there is no common language,” she said, introducing the film at Cannes.
“Recipe for Love” by Tran Anh Hung is also about an adult couple who have a very unique relationship and about the culinary art of late 19th century France. The beloved here is not a wife, but first of all a cook, albeit a virtuoso one. There is a dialogue on this topic in the film that says it all. The film is based on the novel “The Life and Passion of Doden Bouffant” by Swiss writer and gastronome Marcel Ruff, which inspired the director to create “a film on the theme of marriage in cinema.” Throughout the entire film, the characters played by Oscar winner Juliette Binoche and Benoit Magimel indulge in the culinary arts, frying, steaming, creating their masterpieces - Norwegian omelette, pear pouchée in white wine.
Daudin is called the Napoleon of cooking, but he is without a cook. This is the story of a “big grub” of the highest standard, haute couture, the greatest love that is possible for a Frenchman. Even choosing a dish for me is tantamount to a marriage proposal. What adds piquancy is that Binoche and Magimel were a couple in life after filming An Affair in Venice, and their daughter Hannah was born in 1999. 20 years have passed since the breakup, and the couple dared to meet again on the set.
So why did the French Oscar committee choose Recipe for Love over the win-win Anatomy of a Fall? The easiest way to say it is out of envy. Trieu's film has too many laurels. Probably the issue is something else. The fact is that in Chan Anh Hung's film the spirit of old France is alive and the smells of Provence are tangible. He best represents the country and French cinema, more French in spirit. And the main role was played not by a German actress, but by her own Juliette Binoche - the absolute personification of France. An added bonus is that Tran Anh Hung won the Best Director Award at the recent Cannes Film Festival. And the director is not a stranger, but almost one of his own; he has lived in France since he was 10 years old.
On February 18, the British BAFTA film awards will be presented for the 75th time, where “Oppenheimer” is nominated in 13 nominations, and “Anatomy of a Fall” by the Frenchwoman Justine Trieu, which has a rich list of awards, has only 6 nominations. The French Cesar Awards will be presented for the 49th time on February 23, and Nolan is guaranteed to receive an honorary award there for his contribution to cinema. “Anatomy of a Fall” is presented in 11 categories, losing primacy to “The Kingdom of Animals”, which has 12. “Recipe for Love” is not presented in any category.