Breaking Baz: Cannes Chief Thierry Frémaux Proclaims 2024 Academy Awards ‘The Cannes Oscars’ As He Parties At the Charles Finch & Chanel Annual Soiree In Beverly Hills

The 96th Academy Awards ceremony should be known as the Cannes Oscars, argues Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Frémaux.

He’s got a point.

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Frémaux sipped a cocktail at the Charles Finch and Chanel Annual Pre-Oscar Dinner in the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and ticked off Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall and Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest as films that played and won the top prizes at last May’s festival.

Michael Barker, Sony Picture Classics co-chair, helped Frémaux out by adding in Martin Scorsese’s The Killers of the Flower Moon, which also premiered on the Croisette.

“Here we are in March, and the top winners at last year’s Cannes are still in the conversation, and are here at the Oscars,” says Frémaux, giving himself a pat on the back.

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He adds that the Best Picture line-up has “a Cannes feel about it,” even though seven of the movies never played at Cannes.

Frémaux noted that he would have “happily” welcomed American FictionThe HoldoversMaestro, Oppenheimer, Past Lives, Poor Things and Barbie. “I’m an admirer of Greta Gerwig,” he tells me, idly joking that the color pink “is popular” in the south of France.

“Cannes is the starting point, always,” he boasted. “And this year we prove that!”

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And then the Cannes topper scarpered away, laughing as he did so because he knew what was coming next.

“No, no, we cannot talk about this year’s Cannes!”

As he legged it, I spotted Sandra Hüller, the Best Actress nominee for Anatomy of a Fall and star of The Zone of Interest. She was wearing a Chanel ensemble in pink. The thespian was engaged in conversation with Riz Ahmed, and was keen to know about the adaptation by Michael Lesslie of Hamlet, in which Ahmed plays the Danish prince. Director Aneil Karia is cutting the movie now in London and Jim Wilson (The Zone of Interest), one of its producers, says it’ll be ready in the fall.

Ollie Madden and Sandra Hüller. Photo: Baz Bamigboye/<em>Deadline.</em>
Ollie Madden and Sandra Hüller. Photo: Baz Bamigboye/Deadline.

Hüller was interested because, as noted in a recent column, she’s been performing Hamlet on stage in Germany, on and off, since 2019, and resumes playing the confused dude in a few days.

Daniel Battsek, who’s soon to step down as Film4 chief, handing over to Ollie Madden, arrived, complaining of back pain.

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I commiserated, but wickedly suggested that perhaps his ailment was caused by the stress of his favorite soccer team, Chelsea, languishing at number 11 in the British Premier League, while my team — Arsenal, of course — was top. He shot daggers at me, saying that was not the reason.

He kinda got his revenge on me because by Sunday, Arsenal had slipped to the number two spot, overtaken by Manchester City.

And anyway, says Battsek, he was in town to help celebrate the success of The Zone of Interest and Poor Things, two films that were made with Film4s participation in partnership with A24, in the case of Glazer’s film, and Searchlight for Yorgos Lanthimos’s movie, not for me to gloat about sport.

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Breaking Baz cherishes any kind of put-down directed his way. My Nigerian aunts used to say that a fun discussion is good for our bones.

CAAs Josh Lieberman introduced me to actor Gabriel Leone, who you may have spotted portraying Alfonso de Portago in Michael Mann’s Ferrari. Leone tells me that he recently shot the forthcoming six-part Netflix drama Senna, where he portrays Formula One champion Ayrton Senna.

Gabriel Leone. Photo: Baz Bamigboye/<em>Deadline.</em>
Gabriel Leone. Photo: Baz Bamigboye/Deadline.

The 30-year-old Leone reminded me that Senna died “30 years ago this year. I was a baby when he died, and now I am playing him.”

Cannot wait to see Senna. My sense is that it’s gonna be a huge global hit in the way that Squid Game conquered all territories.

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The Brazilian motor-racing idol was also the subject of Asif Kapadia’s 2010 award-winning documentary, Senna.

At dinner, I was honored to be seated next to novelist Evgenia Citkowitz, whose books include The Shades and Ether.

I well remember her late husband, the actor Julian Sands, proudly introducing me to her when we ran into each other on the UK’s southeast coast around the time her literary work The Shades was being published.

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On Evgenia’s right was Nona Summers, the writer and British Vogue contributing editor. Oh, my goodness, I hadn’t seen Nona in years, and it took me a moment to recognize her. Back in the day, when I was a wee bami-baby, forever out on the town, we used to bump into each other all the time. Let’s just say that the conversation at our table, which included the British super-agent Tor Belfrage and the aforementioned Damian Elwes, was lively, and larks were had.

The Polo Lounge was star-studded. Guests included:

Margot Robbie, Kristen Stewart & Dylan Meyer, Lily-Rose Depp, Phoebe Tonkin, America Ferrera, Gracie Abrams, Robert De Niro, Usher, Alexandra Shipp, Ava Duvernay, Chloë Sevigny, Colman Domingo, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Danny Huston, Jack Huston, Daniel Kaluuya, David & Jessica Oyelowo, Dominic Sessa, Kerry Washington, Havana Rose Liu, Tessa Thompson, Riz Ahmed, Sandra Hüller, Leslie Mann & Judd Apatow, Olivia Munn, John Mulaney, Maya Rudolph, Iris Knobloch, Sophie Mas, Dave Free, Joan Collins, Patrick Dempsey, Willem Dafoe, James Marsden, Adrien Brody, Michael Keaton, Rebecca Hall, Minnie Driver, Alexander Payne, J.A Bayona, Jon Batiste, Cord Jefferson, David Heyman, Derek Blasberg & Nick Brown, Celine Song, Cleo Wade, Matteo Garrone, Jennifer Meyer, Lisa Love, Rachel Zoe, Simon Kinberg, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, David O. Russell, Jacqueline Stewart, Jacqueline Durran, Jennifer Salke, Jonathan Glazer, JR, Kelley Meyer, Kelly Sawyer, Nick Broomfield, P.J. van Sandwijk, Sanford Panitch, Scott Stuber & Molly Sims, Ted Sarandos & Nicole Avant, and many,many more.

Jim Wilson and Arielle Cooper-Lethem. Photo: Baz Bamigboye/<em>Deadline</em>.
Jim Wilson and Arielle Cooper-Lethem. Photo: Baz Bamigboye/Deadline.
Da’Vine Joy Randolph. Photo : Baz Bamigboye/<em>Deadline</em>.
Da’Vine Joy Randolph. Photo : Baz Bamigboye/Deadline.
Jack Huston and Cord Jefferson. Photo: Baz Bamigboye/<em>Deadline.</em>
Jack Huston and Cord Jefferson. Photo: Baz Bamigboye/Deadline.
Robert De Niro. Photo: Baz Bamigboye/<em>Deadline</em>.
Robert De Niro. Photo: Baz Bamigboye/Deadline.
David Oyelowo and Daniel Kaluuya. Photo: Baz Bamigboye/<em>Deadline.</em>
David Oyelowo and Daniel Kaluuya. Photo: Baz Bamigboye/Deadline.

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