Another Early Oscar Buzz for Marion article:
Forget the speculation about who’s going to win the Palme d’Or. This year, the bloggerati, especially the U.S. contingent, already are debating which films in the festival have a shot at an Oscar.
They’ve proclaimed Michael Haneke’s Amour, a rigorous look at how approaching death affects a longtime couple, the near-certain winner in the best foreign-language film category and ordered the Academy to reserve a spot in the best actress race for Marion Cotillard’s affecting work in Jacques Audiard’s Rust & Bone.
Of course, it’s a long way from the red-carpeted steps of the Palais to the equally crimson carpeting leading to the Academy Awards and the newly renamed Dolby Theatre, and most years, movies that cause a stir in Cannes in May — like, say, 2010’s Palme d’Or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives — are mere afterthoughts by the time the Oscars roll around in February.
But last year’s Cannes lineup was a notable exception, introducing eventual best picture Oscar winner The Artist as well as best picture nominees Midnight in Paris and The Tree of Life. And so awards antennae are up.
As soon as Rust & Bone screened May 17, its fans tossed its hat into the ring. Audiard’s film traces a love affair between two damaged people: Cotillard plays a trainer at a Marineland who loses her legs to a rogue orca, and Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts is a down-on-his-luck boxer. Displaying a sure command of English offscreen, Schoenaerts, who first made a mark in last year’s Bullhead, looks primed for a career as an international action star if he wants it. And Cotillard, already an Oscar winner for La vie en rose, turns the sort of unvarnished, honest performance — look, ma, no makeup! – that often results in Oscar attention.
“Marion Cotillard excels,” tweeted Toronto critic Peter Howell, “Oscar honors possible.” David Poland of moviecitynews.com tweeted, “Cotillard and screenplay will be Oscar nominated.”
The critics were even more effusive when Amour arrived May 20. “Only thing that can keep Amour from winning Foreign Language at next yr’s Oscars is the pain of an Academy of members who are all too close,” Poland proclaimed. And Oscar-ologist Sasha Stone blogged that the film “is probably headed straight for Oscar’s foreign-language race, where it will likely win.”
“I’m not going to jinx it by talking about any of that,” said Michael Barker, co-head of Sony Pictures Classics, which picked up both films for U.S. release prior to their Cannes debuts.
If either film is going to figure in the foreign-language race, it will first have to be nominated by a host country. While Rust would have to get the nod from France, Amour could be nominated by either France or Austria because, though it’s performed by French actors Jean-Louis Trintignant and the sublime Emmanuelle Riva, the principal filmmakers are Austrian. SPC, however, does plan to release both films stateside by the end of the year, so whether or not they are submitted for foreign-language consideration, they will be eligible in other categories….