Entertainment Movies The French movie remake tipped to win Best Picture at the Oscars
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The French movie remake tipped to win Best Picture at the Oscars

best picture
The CODA cast won Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on February 27.
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With only one week to go until the 94th Academy Awards, one film – a remake of the French film La Famille Bélier – is fast becoming the dark horse to win the Oscar for Best Picture.

Up against nine other films, CODA, an acronym for child of deaf adults, is a coming-of-age, emotionally uplifting story of a teenage girl who is the only hearing member of her family.

Many critics are tipping it to beat psychological Western The Power of the Dog to the top prize.

And if it did, it would become only the second remake of a foreign film to win an Oscar.

The first?

Martin Scorsese’s gangster film The Departed (US, 2006), a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong flick Infernal Affairs.

So why is the film attracting so much buzz?

Tomris Laffly, writing on the US movie review website Rogerebert.com, goes some way to explaining why.

Laffly writes: “By twisting the formula and placing this recognisable story inside a new, perhaps even groundbreaking setting with such loving, acutely observed specificity, [writer and director Sian Heder] pulls off nothing short of a heartwarming miracle with her film”.

There’s also the “rare, inherent kind of authenticity” that flows from casting real-life deaf performers, including Oscar winner Marlee Matlin (Children of a Lesser God), the scene-stealing and multiple-award- winning Troy Kotsur, and Daniel Durant.

And the touching audition by lead character Ruby (Emilia Jones), in which she sings the 1966 Joni Mitchell hit Both Sides, Now, and signs in front of her deaf family, only strengthens the film’s case for Best Picture.

CODA would break 87-year Oscars curse if it wins Best Picture

According to Hollywood’s awards predictor website Gold Derby, the Apple original film CODA would break an 87-year Oscars curse if it wins.

“Every Best Picture winner since the creation of the film editing category in 1934 has been nominated in either directing or editing (often both),” Gold Derby explains.

But CODA has nominations in neither category.

“That means CODA would break an 87-year Oscars curse if it ends up prevailing on March 27.”

In the 94-year history of the Academy Awards, GD noted that only the 1932 film Grand Hotel plus four others – Wing (1927-28), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Argo (2012) and Green Book (2018) – “managed to take home the best picture statue without a corresponding best director nomination”.

Instead, CODA has additional nominations for Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Kotsur).

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis in True Lies (1994). Photo: AAP

Here’s some classic remakes of foreign films

True Lies (La Totale!, France)

Who knew? Starring the Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold, Bill Paxton and Art Malik, and written and directed by James Cameron (Titanic), True Lies was inspired by La Totale!, a French comedy about a husband hiding his identity as a secret agent and a wife who is caught in the crossfire when he suspects she’s cheating on him.

The Departed (Infernal Affairs, Hong Kong)

With a Hollywood royalty cast and Scorsese at the helm, The Departed made history with the help of Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga, Anthony Anderson and Alec Baldwin.

Scorsese won Best Picture and Best Director for his remake of acclaimed Hong Kong thriller Infernal Affairs, which also won Best Film at the Hong Kong Film Awards in 2002.

Marilyn Monroe in 1959 in Some Like It Hot. Photo: AAP

Some Like it Hot (Fanfare d’amour, France)

Billy Wilder wrote and directed the 1959 classic comedy and was in no doubt as to who should get top billing.

Some say Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon gave the performances of their careers in this comedy about musicians who turn to drag to hide after witnessing a crime.

It was inspired by the 1935 film Fanfare d’amour.

Entertainment news website Collider wrote: “Wilder takes this crackling premise and runs with it, resulting in a downright sprinting set of crackerjack narrative journeys that feel both contemporarily American in their “edgy for 1959” criminal exploits and salty gags.”

Sleepless (Nuit Blanche, France)

Sleepless, starring Jamie Foxx, Michelle Monaghan and Dermot Mulroney, was adapted from the 2011 French film Nuit Blanche.

Collider reckons the original was more “gritty” and its fight scenes more realistic, while the 2017 remake was far more “stylised”.

The Birdcage (La Cage aux Folles, France/Italy)

With all due respect to the 1970s French/Italian version, the 1996 remake starring the late Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman and Dianne Wiest was a standout.

As Collider notes: “An utter delight, a delicious champagne cocktail with powerhouse comedy performances from its leading roles”.

Insomnia starred Robin Williams and Al Pacino in 2002. Photo: AAP

Insomnia (Insomnia, Norway)

Based on the Norwegian thriller of the same name, the 2002 remake directed by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight, Interstellar) had two of the best stars in the business, Robin Williams and Al Pacino.

Let Me In (Let the Right One In, Sweden)

Matt Reeves is the director du jour at the moment (The Batman). In 2010, he cleverly reworked this scary Swedish vampire film just two years after it was released.

He cast Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog, Chloë Grace Moretz (Kickass) and Elias Koteas (Shutter IslandZodiac).