CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 16: Jury members, Ruben Östlund and Brie Larson attend the jury press conference at the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 16, 2023 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
ManOfTheCenturyMovie News Ruben Östlund would rather win another Palme d’Or than an Oscar

Ruben Östlund would rather win another Palme d’Or than an Oscar

CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 16: Jury members, Ruben Östlund and Brie Larson attend the jury press conference at the 76th annual Cannes film festival at Palais des Festivals on May 16, 2023 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Ruben Östlund is one of only nine directors to have won the Palme d’Or twice, and both films earned Academy Award nominations. The Swedish director’s 2017 art-world satire ‘The Square’ earned a nomination for Best International Feature Film, while last year’s anarchic cruise ship play ‘Triangle of Sadness’ earned nominations for both Best film and for the best original screenplay.

However, when IndieWire asked him about the relationship between the Palme d’Or and the Oscar race during a press conference for the Cannes jury he chairs this year, he was adamant about which award meant the most to him. “For me, it’s an easy choice if I have to choose between an Oscar and a Palme d’Or,” he said. “I’d rather have one more than have an Oscar.”

For now, Östlund can experience the other side of the equation, serving as president of the competition’s official jury over the next 10 days alongside an international judging panel that includes Paul Dano, Brie Larson and fellow Palme d’Or winner Julia Ducournau.

The lineup is a medley of global cinema and includes acclaimed auteurs such as Ken Loach (“The Old Oak”) and Hirokazu Kore-eda (“Monster”). Östlund said Cannes’ fixation on filmmakers led him to develop an obsession with La Palma from the start. “I started film school in 1995,” he said. “It was interesting because the teachers at that school were always talking about the history of filmmakers in Cannes. I see myself as a European director, I am part of a European tradition when it comes to the director’s role. I think the role of cinema that we have in European culture is something I’m willing to fight for. In my opinion, of course, the Palme d’Or is the most important film award in the world”.

Yet Cannes has been a major stepping stone to the global side of Oscar season in recent years, with “Parasite” going from a Palme to a Best Picture win in 2020 and 21 nominations for Cannes premieres at the ceremony. of the 2021 Oscars. The Academy has taken a greater interest in the category and overall international representation over the past year, hiring a full-time staff to oversee the international category and non-US membership. Earlier this month, it revised the rules for international Oscar nominations by requiring at least 50 percent of each country’s nomination committee to be made up of filmmakers or artisans. Academy members will engage with the Cannes community at the festival and host an event for members in attendance this week.

However, Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux has suggested over the years that the Oscars should be a platform for American films. When asked about that conclusion by IndieWire in an interview earlier this week, he reiterated that position. “For me, the Oscars are above all an American event, with an international film award,” he said. “In France, the César for best film can only be awarded to a French film, as in Spain to a Spanish film, etcetera”.

Östlund acknowledged that his experiences with awards season have made him appreciate the profile the Oscars can offer. “When it comes to the Oscars, there is a sense that there is an impact on a more average audience,” said Östlund. “They know, there’s an even stronger brand around that of cinema’s film brand.”

Ruben Ostlund directs “Triangle of Sadness”30West

The director was also asked during the press conference about gender disparities in education and the industry. While there are a record seven female-directed films in this year’s competition, that’s still less than half of the overall section. Notably, the Academy has included gender equality as a possible criterion that meets its new standards for inclusion. However, Östlund took a broader view when asked about the issue.

“It’s not just gender that’s the issue,” he said. “It’s class.”

He added that he works as a film professor at Gothenburg University and has seen the limits of state funding to film careers there. “We often get people from working class, middle class, but often they don’t go on to be filmmakers after school because they feel financially stressed,” he said. “The financial stress that is in the backbone of the working class makes them stop making films. … Even when we’re trying to achieve diversity, there’s something about financial security that makes them stop. You have those extra hours that you have to put in and of course they drop out.

He also noted that when he was growing up in the 1980s on Styrsö, a small island off the west coast of Sweden, his municipality provided him with film resources at a young age. “We could borrow a digital camera and an editing table,” he said. “They gave it to the young people of the village to have something to do in their free time. This was why I started making films. It was a joint action that made people start working. If you start having motion pictures as a subject in primary school, a lot more people will know how to use the tool and think about whether it is motion pictures and move on to making feature films.

These days, said Östlund, such educational initiatives have been even more valuable. “We have 45 million cameras in the world, but we don’t really discuss how images are affecting us and how we look at the world,” he said. “In these times when we communicate so much with moving images, this has to get into the subject of primary schools.”

On a lighter note, Östlund said he has few rules for his judging panel this year other than requiring that they keep their views on the competition confidential. “This will be the first jury in the history of the Cannes Film Festival where publicists will have no voices to tell each other,” he said. He hoped to hold deliberations with the jury after every three films they watch. “If someone comes up to us and asks us what we think about a movie, we don’t (say),” he said.

The jury press conference in Cannes is sometimes a quiet affair as the jurors have yet to see any of the films. This time, however, there was plenty to discuss, with Dano noting that his wife Zoe Kazan was currently on the pickets with their infant child, and Larson dodging an embarrassing question about Johnny Depp appearing in the evening’s film opening out of competition ” Jeanne du Barry.» “We’ll see if I see it, and I don’t know how I’ll feel if I see it,” she said.

Ducornau, meanwhile, was asked if her role on the judging panel would be influenced by the presence of a new film by Nanni Moretti (the film comedy “Towards a Bright Future”). When “Titane” won the Palme d’Or in 2021, Moretti was in competition with “Tre Piani”, which he lost. On Instagram, the director posted a sarcastic comment a few days later. “Age suddenly”, he wrote in Italian. “It happens. Especially when one of your films goes to a film festival. And it doesn’t win. But another film whose protagonist gets pregnant with a Cadillac wins. Suddenly you grow old.

Ducornau shrugged him off. “I’m going to watch his movie like any other movie, of course,” he said. “The great opportunity of being on the judging panel is that you can exercise your open-mindedness, without prejudice. Personally, I don’t want to know anything about the movies I’m going to see. I haven’t read anything, I haven’t heard any interviews. I want to go full virgin every time I get to one of these movies to honor the work the director has done in it.

For his part, Östlund said he hoped to put his squad at ease throughout the festival. “It’s always interesting to be on a judging panel because there are so many group dynamics going on,” he said. “You try to create a certain kind of atmosphere where you don’t have to try to be smart all the time. They shouldn’t be afraid to say what their gut is, what comes to mind. If you have a jury vibe where everyone is trying to be intellectually smarter than each other, then you are missing out. … We don’t have to be smart. We just have to follow our first instincts about how to say something, and then we’ll figure out how to phrase it.

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