Philippe Rousselet, Oscar-winning producer of “Coda,” “Paris, 13th District” director Jacques Audiard, sales agent Hengameh Panahi and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” filmmaker Michel Gondry are part of France’s newly revamped Oscar submission committee.
The committee also includes sales agent Grégoire Melin, “11 Flowers” producer Didar Domehri and Gaumont executive Ariane Toscan du Plantier.
The new group will decide which French film to submit for an international feature film Oscar. They will meet Sept. 15 to pre-select three to five films. On Sept. 22, they will audition the producers and sales agents of the pre-selected films, before making the final choice. The presidents of the National Film Board (CNC) and Unifrance will be able to attend the commission meetings as observers.
The selected film must be sent to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences before Oct. 3. Meanwhile, the deadline for French films to be submitted for Oscar consideration is Sept. 1.
The decision to overhaul the committee was revealed earlier this week.
As part of the overhaul, permanent members such as Cannes Film Festival’s general delegate Thierry Fremaux, Cesar Académie president Veronique Cayla and Unifrance boss Serge Toubiana will no longer be part of the committee.
The decree was issued by the newly elected Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak and was published in the Journal Officiel on July 27.
The decision to reform France’s Oscar commission stems from criticism over the submission of films that had premiered at Cannes but didn’t necessarily have the best chances of going far in the Oscar race and ultimately earning a nomination.
Last year’s controversial selection of Julia Ducournau’s divisive Palme d’Or winning “Titane” over Audrey Diwan’s abortion drama “Happening” — which won the Golden Lion at Venice — crystallized frustrations within the local industry and raised concerns over potential conflicts of interest.
The last French Oscar submission that went on to win best international feature film was Régis Wargnier’s “Indochine” in 1993.