Awards Profile 2019: Hirokazu Koreeda’s ‘The Truth’ from IFC Films

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Welcome to the 2019 Awards Profile series, where we talk about films coming to a theater near you in the coming year (at least at this time of writing). The series analyzes the films and their awards season potential, most notably for the Academy Awards, based on the talents attached, filmmakers involved, and story and source material.  Monday through Friday until mid-May, AwardsCircuit will bring you a new and exciting project and discuss its chances for success. If you have a suggestion for a movie we should cover, include it in the comments section below. If you miss a film covered, click on the tag or category for “Awards Profile.”

FILM: “The Truth”

DISTRIBUTOR: IFC Films
PRODUCERS: Nathalie Dennes, Miyuki Fukuma, Mathilde Incerti, Muriel Merlin
DIRECTOR:  Hirokazu Koreeda
WRITER: Hirokazu Koreeda
CAST: Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, Ethan Hawke
SYNOPSIS: About a stormy reunion between a daughter and her actress mother, Catherine, against the backdrop of Catherine’s latest role in a sci-fi picture as a mother who never grows old.

Scheduled Release: TBA

POTENTIAL HIGHLIGHTS

Hot off his Palme d’Or win and an Oscar nomination for last year’s “Shoplifters”, Hirokazu Koreeda’s follow-up “The Truth” could see him making a return to awards season in 2019. For the first time in his career, the celebrated director will venture outside of Japan to work with two icons of French cinema. Indeed, Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche will headline the film as an estranged mother-daughter duo whose relationship is further tested when the actress mother (played by Deneuve) releases her memoir. Ethan Hawke will also feature as the husband of Binoche’s character.

With Koreeda’s knack for deeply moving family drama, the prospect should be an enticing one for Academy voters. In particular, presumably meaty roles for both Deneuve and Binoche could figure into the awards race. French actresses are notably beloved by the Academy and both of these thespians have been nominated before, with Binoche winning an Oscar for her work in 1996’s “The English Patient”. And with the Academy’s increasingly international membership, the voters seem to be more willing to embrace world cinema. At the most recent Oscars, an impressive 24 nominations went to non-English language films.

Of course, the film’s awards trajectory will largely depend on support from critics. Thankfully, Koreeda’s filmography has been virtually flawless so far, which will make it one of the most anticipated films on the festival circuit.

POTENTIAL CHALLENGES:

But will Koreeda’s understated style translate successfully to another language and setting? Despite a similar pedigree, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s star-studded Spanish crossover “Everybody Knows” was effectively dismissed after its debut at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. Although the film has already been acquired by IFC Films, a negative response could see it being dumped in early 2020.

Ironically, despite the many nominations for non-English films at this year’s Oscars, the ceremony also delivered one of the most populist slates of winners in recent history. As the Academy makes desperate attempts to stay relevant, it is possible that we may see more mainstream films dominating the awards in the near future. As such, “The Truth” may feel too small to break through with the Academy, especially considering Koreeda’s subtle style of directing.

POTENTIAL OSCAR CATEGORIES IN PLAY:

  • Motion Picture – Nathalie Dennes, Miyuki Fukuma, Mathilde Incerti, Muriel Merlin
  • Director – Hirokazu Koreeda
  • Actress in a Leading Role – Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche
  • Actress in a Supporting Role – Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche
  • Adapted Screenplay – Hirokazu Koreeda

POTENTIAL KEY NOTICES FROM OTHER GROUPS

  • Best Actress/Supporting Actress for Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche (Critics Choice): In recent years, both Marion Cotillard and Isabelle Huppert converted successful runs through the critics’ awards circuits to Oscar nominations. If critics similarly champion these two French actresses, they could become hard to deny in either Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress.

What do you think of “The Truth” as an Oscar contender? SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS!

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