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'Amour' Producer Thankful for Oscar Recognition

14 Jun, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey

On the eve of the 2013 Academy Awards, Amour producer Michael Katz seemed almost overwhelmed when asked about the five nominations for the French-language film. Where to begin?

“Extremely grateful” was how he described feeling about Amour’s nominations for both Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film (a rare combination that last occurred in 2000 with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). “Detailed and artful” was how he praised Michael Haneke (Funny Games, The Piano Teacher) for the direction and original screenplay of Amour, with Haneke nominated in both categories.

But Katz saved his most effuse Amour praise for Emmanuelle Riva, the now-86-year-old actress who ranks as the oldest Best Actress nominee ever. And while she would lose the Oscar to Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook), Riva’s heartbreaking work as a stroke-stricken invalid was “deserving of every recognition.” 

“There’s so little that hasn’t already been said,” Katz said of Riva’s performance in Amour. “Her acting is extraordinary. She knew how to portray the suffering the role needed.”

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment streets Amour Aug. 20 on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Bonus features include “The Making of Amour” and a Q&A with director Michael Haneke.

Katz has been producing films with Haneke for more than 20 years, and he stressed that Riva’s nomination wouldn’t have been possible without Haneke’s direction and writing.

“He knows exactly what he likes and doesn’t like, and the way he prepares is extremely detailed,” Katz said.

“Everything is played out from paper to film, and the crew knows in advance the way it’s supposed to be done. Nothing is changed on the fly.”

Katz also praised the Academy for accepting more nominees, opening the door for more foreign language films such as Amour to make the cut more often. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expanded the number of Best Picture nominees beyond five in 2009.

“It [allows for] different types of movies to be nominated, and it was [right] the Academy was more broad for Best Picture nominees,” he said. “We were honored to have made it in both categories.”

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