Critical Analysis: French Selection Committee for the Best International Film Oscar

The composition of the French selection committee for the Best International Film Oscar has been revamped in a bid to enhance France’s chances in the prestigious category. Former Lionsgate film co-chief, Patrick Wachsberger, and a team of experienced industry professionals have been appointed to select the French entry for this year’s awards. This article critically analyzes the committee’s composition, their track records, and the selection process.

The selection committee comprises Patrick Wachsberger, Sabine Chemaly, Tanja Meissner, Charles Gillibert, Mounia Meddour, Olivier Assayas, and Alexandre Desplat. These members bring a wealth of awards season experience, having been involved in past successful films and nominations.

Patrick Wachsberger, who previously co-chaired Lionsgate’s film division, has already tasted Oscar success by winning the Coda Best Film Oscar in 2022. Charles Gillibert has also participated in the awards season with films like Mustang and Annette. Alexandre Desplat, a renowned composer, has been nominated 11 times in the Original Score category, winning twice. Sabine Chemaly, the former Newen Connect film sales head, handled the sales for France’s 2019 Oscars entry Memoir Of War. The committee members’ achievements and industry experience make them well-suited to the task at hand.

The selection process is overseen by the National Cinema Centre (CNC), under the guidance of President Dominique Boutonnat. The committee is nominated by the French Culture Minister based on the suggestions made by Boutonnat. This collaborative approach ensures transparency and involves key industry figures in the decision-making process.

The committee’s first meeting, scheduled for September 13, will pre-select three to five films from the submissions received. Producers and sales agents of these shortlisted films will then be invited for an audition on September 21. This multi-step process allows for a thorough evaluation of the films and ensures that the final selection represents the best of French cinema.

Recognizing the challenges posed by the ongoing global pandemic, the committee has made provisions for virtual participation. In cases where pre-selected films already have a U.S. distributor attached, they will join the discussion virtually via video link. This adaptation to the current circumstances showcases the committee’s commitment to inclusivity and flexibility.

The submission deadline for the French selection is October 2, providing adequate time for the committee to evaluate and make the final decision. The 96th Academy Awards, where the chosen film will compete, are set to take place on March 10, 2024. This timeline allows for a comprehensive selection process and ensures that the French entry has ample time to gain exposure and recognition.

The newly composed French selection committee for the Best International Film Oscar brings together a diverse group of industry professionals with impressive track records. Their inclusion aims to bolster France’s chances in the category, following recent overhauls to improve the selection process. With their collective expertise and a meticulous evaluation process, the committee is poised to select a film that exemplifies the best of French cinema and has the potential to make a strong impact on the international stage.


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