Xavier Dolan excited by Oscar attention, disappointed by film’s theatrical hopes
Xavier Dolan is thrilled his movie "It's Only the End of the World" is one of nine films in the running for a best foreign-language Oscar nomination.
He just wishes more people could see it.
On Thursday night, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced it had narrowed the pack of foreign-language film contenders from the 85 that were being considered for a nomination. It's the first time the Quebec director has made it this far in the selection process and he said he's "very happy and quite moved" by the recognition.
"This is a dream and it's a thing that's connected directly to your childhood and all those years watching these people, seated in that mythic space, in that mythic ceremony," Dolan told Canadian reporters during a conference call on Friday.
While the film did screen in Canada and France in the fall, Dolan conceded he's disappointed by the scope of the movie's release overall and hopes an Oscar nomination would give it another push. The academy will announce the best foreign-language film nominees on Jan. 24, 2017.
"I'm not thinking of this in terms of what this could bring to my career, I'm thinking of this in terms of what could it bring to this film in terms of exposure," Dolan said.
"This film was not bought — probably won't be, I think — and that's been a disappointment, because when you make a film you don't make it for a club, you make it for everyone.
"So if this is a way for people to know this film exists — outside of the usual ways we can have with a distributor or let's say a more traditional way of releasing this film — if this can help that and give us some visibility that's amazing because the goal is to get people to see the film and get their reaction."
Based on a play by Jean-Luc Lagarce, the French-language "It's Only the End of the World" stars Gaspard Ulliel as a terminally ill writer who returns home to share the news of his fate with his family. Co-stars include Marion Cotillard, Vincent Cassel, Nathalie Baye and Lea Seydoux.
The 27-year-old director was stung by some poor reviews when the movie opened at the Cannes Film Festival in May, but was redeemed when it won the Grand Prix prize, the second most prestigious award at the festival behind the Palme d'Or.
Dolan's next film will be his first English-language feature. "The Death and Life of John F. Donovan" has a star-studded cast including Jessica Chastain, Natalie Portman, Kit Harington, Susan Sarandon and Kathy Bates.
While Dolan said he hasn't really considered what an Oscar nomination would do for his career, he already feels fortunate that "it's never been hard so far to get an artist or an actor I'd admired to work on one of the films that I've made."
"To me, the greatest acknowledgment is not something you can hold in your hand — although it means that people recognize your work and appreciate you and that's everything — but to me the greatest reward is to work with actors or people I'm dreaming of working with and it's so far already been a possibility, I'm already grateful for that," he said.
"Actors, no matter what their careers are and no matter what the trajectory they've been following — whether they are famous, or whether they're working in TV or film or both, or if they're in England — I've been impressed and very flattered by the fact that they would have seen my films and my work.... I think also, they wouldn't have done it if they didn't like the character in the script.
"I don't think actors work with people for the awards they've won or the films they've made, they work with people for the film they're going to be making together."
Michael Oliveira, The Canadian Press
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