France has submitted The Taste of Things as its candidate for the Best International Feature Film at the 96th Academy Awards, in a major upset after Justine Triet’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner and hot favorite Anatomy of a Fall was shut out.
The period drama The Taste of Things revolves around a culinary love affair between a dutiful cook and her gourmet employee, played by Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magimel, respectively.
Vietnam-born French director Tran Anh Hung broke out internationally with debut film The Scent of Green Papaya. The drama was Vietnam’s entry to the then Foreign Language category at the 1994 Oscars and was nominated.
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The Taste of Things world premiered in Competition at Cannes, where it was titled The Pot-Au-Feu. Anh Hung won Best Director at the fest. Sapan Studios and IFC Films hold U.S. rights.
Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall had been widely tipped as the France contender thanks to its strong box office performance at home and support from Neon, which has North American rights.
Other titles on France’s previously announced shortlist of five titles also included Thomas Cailley’s The Animal Kingdom, Clement Cogitore’s Sons of Ramses, and Denis Imbert’s On the Wondering Paths.
The selection was made by a committee of film professionals overseen by France’s National Cinema Centre (CNC). The members comprised Lionsgate film co-chief Patrick Wachsberger; international sales veterans Sabine Chemaly and Tanja Meissner; producer Charles Gillibert; directors Mounia Meddour and Olivier Assayas; and composer Alexandre Desplat.
CNC head Dominique Boutonnat and newly appointed Unifrance president Gilles Pélisson sat in on the discussions as observers.
France last won the international film Oscar with Régis Wargnier’s Indochine in 1993.
Ladj Ly’s Les Misérables was the last French film to make it through to the final nomination stage in 2020, while Alice Diop’s Saint Omer made it onto the long-list of the 95th awards.
The submission deadline for the Best International Feature Film category October 2.
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