Unlike the Academy Awards, which allow for only one film to be submitted by any given country, at the Golden Globes it is possible for multiple films from the same nation to be recognized. Such was the case Thursday morning as the French films “Rust and Bone” and “The Intouchables” were both nominated. Also nominated was “Amour,” made by the Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke, but which is French-language, set in Paris starring French actors and made with French co-financing. Rounding out the nominations were the Norwegian adventure “Kon-Tiki” and the Danish period romance “A Royal Affair.”
“I’m so happy that the movie is nominated,” said “Rust and Bone” star Marion Cotillard from Paris, “but I’m also very happy for French cinema and French-language movies, like ‘Amour.’ I think it’s an amazing year for French movies.”
Haneke’s film is an emotionally clear-eyed look at the end of life as an aging couple face death, with intense performances from Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant, who are both in their 80s. That a film that seems to cover such a dour and forbidding topic has enjoyed such a warm reception seems all the more surprising.
“I think the film is first and foremost not a film about aging and dying, but rather about their love and I think that’s why the film is so successful,” said Haneke from his home outside Vienna.
“Amour” was recognized with the prestigious Palm d’Or when it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, and has gone on to pick up a remarkable string of awards, including top prizes from the European Film Awards and the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn.
Haneke’s previous film, “The White Ribbon,” won the Golden Globe for foreign language film and was nominated for two Oscars. Yet even with all the prizes “Amour” and his other films have won, Haneke is still appreciative of each one.
“As a director, you’re making a film so that people will see it and like it,” Haneke said. “For that reason, prizes are always welcome. Prizes make audiences curious, ‘What is this film?’ It’s also, of course, very good for your image as a director, your brand name.”
While “Rust and Bone” was nominated in the foreign language category, Cotillard was nominated for the film in the lead actress, drama category, a rare Globes nomination for a performance in a foreign language.
“I am particularly happy for Marion,” said “Rust and Bone” director and co-writer Jacques Audiard in a statement. “When you have shared a moment of pleasure with someone, it is always great to have the opportunity to extend it. This confirms the interest paid in recent years by the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. for French cinema. I am very happy to be part of this trend.”
The film “A Royal Affair” won two prizes when it debuted at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this year. Yet for Nikolaj Arcel, director and co-writer, the experience of being nominated for a major award is still something new.
“I was actually up all night,” said Arcel on Thursday morning from Los Angeles, where he is working on a writing project. “I don’t think I thought I would ever even be in the running let alone be nominated for a Golden Globe. It’s quite a big event for me. I was actually very moved this morning.”
“The Intouchables,” the official French submission for the foreign language category at the Academy Awards, has been a box-office sensation, making nearly $400 million worldwide, including some $13 million in the U.S. The light-hearted comedic drama about a quadriplegic aristocrat and his immigrant caretaker features a star-making turn by actor Omar Sy.
The added laurels of these nominations can have a direct impact on the commercial prospects for foreign language films. “The Intouchables” is being re-released to theaters, “Rust and Bone” is also currently playing and “Amour” is set for release by the end of the year.
As Michael Barker, co-president of Sony Pictures Classics, the distributor of “Amour” and “Rust and Bone,” and something of an awards powerhouse in the foreign language categories, said of the importance of awards, “It’s always good for the profile of the film.”
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PHOTOS: Memorable red carpet moments
LIST: Complete list of nominees