For the second time in three years, France has changed the makeup of the Oscar selection committee.
The change will prevent the heads of the César Academy, Unifrance, and the Cannes Film Festival from being automatically appointed to the committee.
The modifications were made to the regulations controlling the National Cinema Center of France, which is in charge of overseeing the procedure each autumn, and were published in the French government’s daily bulletin.
One significant change is that “a qualified person in the cinema domain” has taken the place of the position that was formerly automatically reserved for the head of the Cannes Film Festival.
This implies that the choice of France’s 2023 Oscar entry will probably not include longtime Cannes delegate Thierry Frémaux, who has served on the committee for more than ten years.
Serge Toubiana, the current president of Unifrance, and Veronique Cayla, a student at the César Academy, will be permitted to attend the sessions but only as observers.
The modifications come after a significant reorganization of the committee in July 2019, when two directors, two producers, and two international sales agents were added as commission members.
The decision was made, according to CNC head Fréderique Bredin, to include experts “with a deep awareness of the American market” in the hiring procedure.
Les Misérables, which won the 2019 Cannes Jury Prize, had some success with the new strategy when it advanced to the final round of nominations for the international film category of the 2020 Academy Awards, the year Parasite swept the board.
However, the choice to submit Julia Ducournau’s Titane, the Golden Lion winner at the Cannes Film Festival, rather than Audrey Diwan’s Happening, raised controversy. Titan did not receive a nomination, despite Neon’s excellent run at the box office in the United States and winning the top Cannes prize.
Many believed that Diwan’s abortion drama would have resonated more with Oscar Academy members than Ducournau’s critically praised but contentious movie because of its contemporary subject matter.
The professional members will now be at the center of the process under the fresh revamp. The French cultural minister will choose them as “the seventh qualified person.”
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There are two stages to the selection process, which usually begins in early October.
Five to six eligible films are first chosen by the committee. The committee then conducts an audition of the director, producer, and sales agency teams for each of the chosen features in order to assess their potential for an Oscar campaign.
Parts of the French film industry have been upset by France’s lack of Oscar success in recent years.
Indochine by Régis Wargnier won the nation’s last Oscar in the international film category in 1993, but Michel Hazanavicius’ silent black-and-white film The Artist won five Oscars in other categories that year.