Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Frenching Oscar

If Mexico ruled Oscar nomination morning last year, France has the potential to do the same this year. With almost certain nominations for Marion Cotillard of La Vie en Rose, the screenplay and cinematography of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and Persepolis in both the Foreign Language Film and Animated Feature Film categories, French cinema is poised to take at least five nominations, more if Diving Bell gets its other potential nominations (Picture, Director, Editing). Even Ratatouille, likely winner of the Animated Feature Film category, is about French culture.

Given the potential of French domination in the 80th Academy Awards, here are several should's and should have's for the Oscar presentation in February:

-Producer Gil Cates should have hired Steve Martin as the ceremony host. Maybe he could regale the audience with his less-than-perfect yet still potentially amusing interpretation of bumbling French detective Inspector Clouseau of The Pink Panther.

-For the Oscar nominations announcement on the 22nd of January, Sid Ganis should be accompanied by Juliette Binoche, Julie Delpy, Catherine Deneuve, or any other Oscar-nominated French star. I don't expect any of them to squeal or break down like Salma Hayek did last year, but it would be a fun and fitting tribute to the showing of French cinema this year.

-Paris Je T'aime, the sadly overlooked Paris-themed romantic anthology, should be given more Oscar love. It is a fascinating film. Too bad the film's song, "La Meme Histoire," is not in the list of eligible original songs for the Oscar.

-They should have Marion Cotillard, who actually can sing and would have in La Vie en Rose had time allowed it, sing the Edith Piaf title song, perhaps as a segue to the Best Original Song category. In fact (a bit off-topic), it would be fantastic to have a musical number with Cotillard singing "La Vie en Rose," Sam Riley (who should be winning awards left and right for playing Ian Curtis in Control) singing "Love Will Tear Us Apart," and Bob Dylan himself coming in to represent his biopic I'm Not There (unless Blanchett and the other Dylans can carry a tune).

The internationalization of the Oscars is an exciting trend that hopefully expands as the years roll on. The producers should find a way to celebrate it every year, in lieu of giving viewers the same things over and over.

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