Post-Oscars Reception

Reception honoring the French nominees for the 87th Academy Awards on Monday, February 23rd 2015 at the Residence of France in Beverly Hills.

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Speech by the Consul General of France, Axel Cruau

Messieurs les consuls généraux,
Dear Academy Members,
Dear Friends,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to welcome you all today at the residence for this third post-Academy Awards reception which celebrates French awarded, French nominees and, more broadly, all the artists involved in French co-productions on the occasion of the 87th Academy Awards.

First and foremost, I would like to congratulate Alexandre Desplat for his Oscar for the incredible score of The Grand Budapest Hotel. After having been recently awarded a Grammy and a Bafta for the same movie, it is only justice that the Academy recognizes your talent. Since the early days of cinema, we know that movies without words are movies, but that they can’t exist without music. You demonstrated it so brilliantly in, and just to quote a few: The Imitation Game, Argo, The King’s Speech, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and The Queen. All those marvelous films would not be what they are without your work, so thank you and congratulations once again.

I would also like to recognize Mathilde Bonnefoy, Producer and Editor for the Documentary Feature “Citizen Four” directed by Laure Poitras who won the Oscar Last night.

More broadly, I would also like to congratulate all the French nominees.

First our congratulations go to director Abderrahmane Sissako, producer Sylvie Pialat and scenarist Kessen Tall for Timbuktu, awarded 7 times at the French Cesars last Friday.

Allow me to pause a moment here, to say that, if you have not seen this movie yet, you not only should, but you must see it. It is a movie that makes you realize that suffering knows no borders, whether you live in Timbuktu, in Copenhagen or in Paris. It makes you touch the banality of modern evil, and also its complexity.

It makes you see, with much force and such beauty that resistance against barbarity, through a decent life, through the arts, through music, to stay human, simply human, is not only possible but necessary. In a world with no compass, and sometimes losing its GPS, it reminds us where we stand, why we democracies and decent people have to fight. There is no happiness without freedom and no freedom without courage. Thank you, Abderrahmane Sissako for your voice and your powerful message.

I would like to thank another voice and another regard, that of directors Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado for The Salt of the Earth as well as the producers David Rosier and Christine Ponelle.

The film is an astonishing documentary that gives us a look into the life, art and philosophy of photographer Sebastião Salgado. Salgado’s photography is stunning; he captures grandiose landscapes, human hardships and suffering, which are an eye-opener on our era and on mankind’s condition. So thank you again for this.

I’d like to congratulate Marion Cotillard. She told me she regretted not being able to attend today and I would like to salute her incredible talent, her intense and so touching performance in the Dardennes Brothers latest film, Two Days, One Night.

She gives light, nuance and depth to her character and, in doing so, she gives the movie a universal dimension.

In the Live Action Short film Category, there are two remarkable Films: the Franco-Chinese production Butter Lamp, with writer-director Hu Wei and the producer Julien Féret, present here today; and Aya, a coproduction between Israel and France’s Divine Productions, whose co-directors Mihal Brezis and Oded Binnun, and its producer Pablo Mehler, who are all among us today.

In the field of animation, I would like to congratulate Tomm Moore director of the magical Song of the Sea and its numerous producers; among them Paul Young and Clément Calvet from the French company Superprod.

While we’re in the field of animation, I would like to take a moment to salute the students of ESMA (Ecole Supérieure des Métiers Artistiques), who are here with us today, and their animated short, Sweet Cocoon which was short listed for the animated short film.

They perpetuate the great tradition of French animation. To all the producers and studio executives, do meet them. They are the inventors of the next Belleville Rendez-vous, Ernest et Célestine or Despicable Me.

For visual effects, congratulations are in order for Nicolas Aithadi and Stephane Ceretti, who were nominated for their work on Guardians of the Galaxy, one of the most visually fantastic films released last year.

I would like to thank all the passionate and dedicated distributors such as Cohen Media Group, Sony Pictures Classics, GKids, IFC and Strand Releasing.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There is a special person here I would like to congratulate: the immensely gifted, young, Franco-American writer-director of Whiplash, Damien Chazelle.

Damien, you stunned Sundance, and the Academy yesterday as you received 3 Oscars for your movie. It is only a start and I am very excited about all that you are going to give us and give to cinema in the future. Thank you.

Mesdames et messieurs,

As you see, this year has been a great year for French cinema.

France is proud to have been part of 13 international co-productions at this year’s Academy Awards with Israel, China, Turkey, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg; Norway, Palestine and Sweden. This is a tribute to, and an encouragement for, France’s dedication to world cinema.

You all know that France means cinema, and you all also know that France means business when it comes to cinema, with fabulous artists, a dynamic industry, dedicated crews, and an enhanced Tax rebate for international productions. So come to France, come shoot in France, come produce in France!

Mesdames et messieurs,

I would not want to finish without a warm thank-you to our sponsors:

-  The French American Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles whose VPs, Romain Lefranc and Flore Kanmacher, and the Executive Director, Samuel Loy, are here with us;
-  ELMA, with Pascal Ladreyt;
-  TV5 Monde, with Patrice Courtaban;
-  Bank of the West, with Marco Villa.

Thank you all, and congratulations again to all the nominees. Vive le cinema! ./.

Axel Cruau, Consul General of France

Last modified on 24/02/2015

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