Like, he got the best actor trophy everywhere except in his own country. This is so … french. So us. I’m sure Omar Sy deserved it (I didn’t see Intouchables) and it’s great that a black actor won, seriously. But I’m still disappointed for Jean.
Well I’m sure Omar was…
And yet, The Artist wasn’t necessarily a commercial success in France, and Intouchables is a very popular film with an incredibly wide audience (and it made lots and lots of money). Usually movies like Intouchables are snubbed in France.
I think part of it is that weird attitude the french cinema “elite” can have when someone is very praised abroad, but mostly I think it’s kinda political/social ? I don’t think there was ever a black man winning the césar for best actor in France, so it’s really big that Omar won. I guess most voters thought “now is the time to do that, to encourage diversity in french cinema, help minorities access lead roles, and Dujardin already had so much nods abroad, etc” and Omar is a very deserving actor, so it’s a win-win ?
In a way it’s a very good thing. But considering The Artist got all the main trophies except for this one, I can’t help but think that it was actually the best movie, and the césar for Omar was a symbol.
I agree with the “political/social statement”, even if it’s quite horrible to say because Omar Sy is a good actor. But it’s the kind of decisions they make in those awards shows, it’s more symbolism than really giving it to the best actor of the year (like for the Oscars in 2001, there were far better roles that year, but Washington, Berry and Smith got them because the Academy thought it was time to stop snobbing black people. It was a good thing, but they’ve had better performances.).
Another thing is that Omar’s role was dispised by americans, while Jean is the new american sweetheart. So a big great “fuck you” to the US. And they know/think Jean will get the Oscar, so they don’t care.
It’s sad though … I mean, if Jean ends up getting the Oscar, it will mean that he literally gets love EVERYWHERE but in France. It’s so silly.
I didn’t know that Omar’s performance was disliked abroad. How come ? Like … I’m completely out of the loop when it comes to that movie. I didn’t even know what it was about until months after its release, and I have zero interest in it. Its big success here is such a mystery for me.
My mother is raving about Intouchable, she said it was the best movie she had seen in a while. It was funny and full of “bons sentiments”, which is something she is always looking for in movies. But she hasn’t watched The Artist, so she can’t compare them. And now I wish I had seen Intouchable so I could have a less biased opinion.
As for Omar, the US critics thought the film was completely racist, because it seems his character is kind of clownish, but in a colonialist way. He is dancing (which is a very african thing to do, so it seems) and is spending a lot of time trying to entertain François Cluzet (the rich white guy), so it’s bad and racist. In France we see it has a black guy becoming friend with a white disabled one and trying to cheer him up, in the US it’s a white guy taking advantage of a black one and reminding him that once black people were slaves. Which is completely ridiculous, because I don’t think Omar Sy would have played a role he thought was sheer racism. We just have a very different way of depicting racism and our politically-correct in this matter is not the same, and it shocked them. So the film is not markettable over there. They sold it to some big studio and they are going to rewrite it, with a different kind of “bons sentiments”, and racism-free (and we, in France, will probably think it’s the dumbest thing we’ve ever seen and it has no heart at all. As always.)
I see. I understand american’s critiques point of view, the story in itself seems at least condescending towards Omar’s character. But I guess it depends on how it’s done ? I mean does the movie depict mainly a story about friendship and solidarity ? Or do the characters have a more distant relationship, as in cheerful social worker helping out the grumpy disabled rich man ? Is their relationsip sincere or forced ? Do race and social differences play a major role in the narrative ? etc.
I guess I really need to check it out now, but I sincerely refuse to consider Omar Sy would accept a negative role model in a movie, he’s just so not that guy. Or even that François Cluzet would participate in a patronizing, pseudo-colonial film (I have like 300% of respect for Cluzet, I really like him).
So it’s probably exaggerated by US reviews, or at least misunderstood because we have after all a different culture ? I mean, the kind of humour that Omar is channeling in “Intouchables” is basically in the same spirit that the stuff he does for the SAV series, right ? I can’t really picture americans getting it, while it’s a very popular program in France, and Omar built his career on this.
Again, I didn’t see it, but I can’t seriously accept that the movie could be racist. Or maybe it wasn’t the intent of the movie, but comes off that way because it wasn’t properly done ? Like too cheesy, too much “bon sentiments” and not enough subtlety ?
PS : I find it funny that your mother is praising the movie, because mine is doing that too. And her friends. That was the reason I didn’t want to see the movie, I just assumed I wouldn’t like it, that I wasn’t in the audience “Intouchables” was aiming at.
I insere myself in this discussion…
I didn’t want to watch Intouchables, because there was the same “buzz” there was for Les Ch’tis and I really didn’t like that movie at all. But, I knew I loved the directors and Omar Sy. He made one (two?) movies with them, and they are really good comedies (Nos jours heureux and Tellement proches). So I decided to go watch it with my parents. And I liked it. I think some moments might be too long, but overall, it was funny and heartwarming.
They played a bit with “le black de la cité” and “le riche parisien” but you know, that was one of the themes of the movie/the book it’s (quite loosely?) based on. Omar’s character stayed with François Cluzet’s (that’s weird :D) character because he needed to have a job and to have money. But also because he found him and his world interesting and entertaining. He was the wheerful helper and some kind of friend at the same time. I thought they had a really complex relationship, but a simple one in the end (does it make sense? ^^’) He was the one making fun of François Cluzet’s world, but in a good way. Like, we are from different worlds, clearly, but we can still interact and be good to/for each other. I never saw the movie as racist. Maybe I was a bit blind, but I thought that it was not like, let’s say The Help, where the whites seem to be needed to save the blacks. To me they were helping each other, coming from different worlds and having different skin colors. It was important that Omar Sy was a black character because of whom the character was, and that François Cluzet was a white character because of whom the character was. But it was not the essence of the characters, it was not what was depicted in the movie for me.
Maybe I missed something, and I’d be happy if someone explained to me with good arguments why this movie could be seen as racist. (I’ll be sad to have missed this though :()
I liked The Artist too, and the performances of the actors. I liked the metaphor about the cinema and its evolution. But I felt happier after having seen Intouchables. I felt more authenticity. Mostly because I didn’t think that the story in itself, meaning what happened to the characters in The Artist, was that interesting. I was not deeply involved in he love story for example, I liked the two characters, but the things happening to them, when it was not about the evolution of the cinema, did not really matter to me. I was more amazed by the acting and the poetry about the movie than the story.
I think The Artist deserves the recognition it gets for its “audacity”, but I enjoyed watching Intouchables much more because of its whole.