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Kick off Paris 2024 with our own Little Paris Olympics Opening Ceremony event at Coucou NYC on July 26!

Kick off Paris 2024 with our own Little Paris Olympics Opening Ceremony event at Coucou NYC on July 26!

Spotlight on French Oscar Nominees and Winners

February 29, 2024   TV, Films & Podcasts

Award season is in full swing! The 96th Academy Awards are just around the corner, and French film is having a moment (but isn’t it always?). To get you ready for the awards, we’re going over the biggest French film of the year, along with winners and nominees from years past.

By Alaina schwartz



Anatomy of a Fall was one of the biggest films of the year (French or otherwise), and has reached widespread critical acclaim for its harrowing story of one woman’s trial for her alleged involvement in her husband’s suspicious death. Following its release, the film was nominated for and won dozens of awards, including the Palme d’Or, the César for Best Picture and two Golden Globes. 

This year, Anatomy of a Fall has received Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director (Justine Triet), Best Original Screenplay (Arthur Harari & Justine Triet), and Best Leading Actress (Sandra Hüller), and Best Editing (Laurent Sénéchal). 


Milestones: Justine Triet is the first French woman to be nominated for Best Director. This year, she is the only female nominee in the category. 


Practice your French! Watch this interview with Justine Triet, where she discusses the genesis of Anatomy of a Fall and reacts to her Palme d’Or award!


The artist (2011)

Set in 1927, The Artist, a black-and-white, “part-talkie” follows the romance between a silent-film actor and a dancer during a time of major change in the film industry. Filmed over the course of just thirty-five days, this homage to the 1920s and silent film earned ten nominations at the 84th annual Academy Awards. 

The Artist won Best Picture, Best Director (Michel Hazanavicius), Best Leading Actor (Jean Dujardin), and Best Original Score (Ludovic Bource), and received nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Bérénice Bejo), Best Cinematography (Guillaume Schiffman), Best Editing (Anne-Sophie Bion & Michel Hazanavicius), and Best Original Screenplay (Michel Hazanavicius).


Milestones: Jean Dujardin was the first French actor to win Best Leading Actor, and The Artist was the first French-language film to win Best Picture! 


Practice your French! Watch this interview with Jean Dujardin as he discusses his experience creating a silent film and transporting audiences to 1920s Hollywood.



La Vie en Rose follows the life of French musical icon, Édith Piaf, from her difficult childhood and the challenging start of her career to becoming a global phenomenon and her final performance. After its world premiere at the 57th Berlin International Film Festival, the film received a fifteen-minute standing ovation. 

La Vie en Rose won Best Leading Actress (Marion Cotillard) and Best Makeup and Hairstyling (Didier Lavergne & Jan Archibald), and received a nomination for Best Costume Design (Marit Allen).


Milestones: Marion Cotillard, who played the role of Édith Piaf, was the first actress to win Best Leading Actress for a French-speaking role—watch her acceptance speech here!


Practice your French! Listen to this podcast, Français pour curieux, created especially for non-native French speakers. In this episode, the host talks about Marion Cotillard’s career trajectory and how she became an internationally known, Oscar-winning actress!



Adapted from the classic play from 1897, Cyrano de Bergerac follows French nobleman Hercule Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac–which, thankfully, can be abbreviated to just “Cyrano”–whose large nose prevents him from pursuing the love of his distant cousin, Roxanne. It’s just one of multiple film adaptations, and there’s even an English version starring Peter Dinklage as Cyrano. 

 Cryano de Bergerac won Best Costume Design (Franca Squarciapino) and received nominations for Best International Feature Film, Best Leading Actor (Gérard Depardieu), Best Production Design (Ezio Frigerio & Jacques Rouxel) and Best Makeup and Hairstyling (Michèle Burke & Jean-Pierre Eychenne).


 Milestones: Gérard Depardieu* was the first actor to be nominated for Best Leading Actor for a French-speaking role.


 Practice your French! Watch the famous balcony scene from Cyrano de Bergerac here. You can compare this one to Peter Dinkelage’s 2022 performance here!


*At the time of this article’s publication, Gérard Depardieu faces charges of sexual assault of over a dozen women. Reporting by Le Monde here.



If you don’t already know this film, you’re sure to know its dreamy opening theme by renowned French composer, Francis Lai. A Man and A Woman is a love story between a widow and widower, who meet by chance at their children’s boarding school. The film was loved by audiences all over, especially in the US, for its two leading actors and director Claude Lelouch’s stunning use of color, filming in sepia tones, black and white, and full color. 

A Man and A Woman won Best International Feature Film and Best Original Screenplay (Claude Lelouch & Pierre Uytterhoeven) and received nominations for Best Director (Claude Lelouch) and Best Leading Actress (Anouk Aimée).  


Practice your French! Director Claude Lelouch created two sequels to A Man and A Woman, A Man and a Woman: 20 Years Later and The Best Years of a Life. Watch the trailers here and here


MON ONCLE (1958)

Mon Oncle (literally, “My Uncle”) is a comedy and satire featuring the lovable, carefree Monsieur Houlot and his nephew, Gérard Arpel, as they navigate a rapidly changing, modernized and consumerist society of postwar France. The dialogue is second to director Jacques Tati’s visuals–bright colors and exaggerated modern architecture–along with the film’s quirky score by Franck Barcellini and Alain Romains. 

Mon Oncle was the first French film to win Best International Feature Film. 


Practice your French! Read this article published by Le Monde in May of 1958–right after Mon Oncle premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. 


Honorable mentions

  • La La Land (2016), a French-produced film awarded the youngest-ever winner of Best Director, Damien Chazelle
  • The Hurt Locker (2008), the first French-produced film to win Best Picture
  • Camille Claudel (1988), received a nomination for Best Leading Actress, Isabelle Adjani
  • It Happened One Night (1934), the first French actress to be nominated and win Best Actress, Claudette Colbert


Category: TV, Films & Podcasts,Culture
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