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Anatomy of a Fall Wins Academy Awards® for Best Original Screenplay

On Sunday, March 10, at the 96th Academy Awards® ceremony at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre, director and screenwriter Justine Triet and co-writer Arthur Harari were awarded the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Anatomy of a Fall, which was nominated in four other categories.

The feature film thus made Justine Triet the first French female screenwriter to win an Oscar, and only the second French female filmmaker to be honored after Alice Doyard for the documentary short Colette in 2021, making her part of the Feminist New “New Wave” of French Cinema.

The Success of an Original Script

Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall had an outstanding year. On May 27, 2023, Jane Fonda presented Justine Triet with her first Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for the courtroom drama. Following this accolade, the film went on to win 90 awards, including the Golden Globe for Best Original Screenplay and Best Non-English Language Film, the BAFTA for Best Original Screenplay, and five Césars (Best Film; Best Actress – Sandra Hüller; Best Supporting Actor – Swann Arlaud; Best Original Screenplay; and Best Editing).

While these awards recognize directors, screenwriters, and actors, they also highlight the importance of the “auteur” approach that French cinema seeks to adopt, transposing innovative, creative, and daring stories to the screen, with a strong identity.

With its success, Anatomy of a Fall joins the many French productions and co-productions that have met international critical acclaim in recent years: Nicolas Philibert’s Sur L’Adamant and Mati Diop’s Dahomey (Golden Bear at Berlin in 2023 and 2024); Saint-Omer by 2022 Villa Albertine resident Alice Diop (Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival 2022); Titane by 2023 Villa Albertine resident Julia Ducourneau (Palme d’Or 2021); and Florian Zeller’s The Father (Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2021).

The Important Background Work

Behind this artistic success lies the vital work of a promotional campaign initiated by Neon, the film’s American distributor. At the 76th Cannes Film Festival, even before receiving the Palme d’Or, the film’s team set their sights on this independent distributor. Having already spearheaded the Oscar-winning campaign for Parasite in 2020, and in charge of distribution for Wim Wenders’ Perfect Days and Pablo Berger’s Robot Dreams for the 2024 edition, the latter demonstrates the know-how and financial muscle needed to run an international campaign.

Messi, the dog who plays Snoop in Anatomy of a Fall, mimics a clap with fake paws at the 96th Academy Awards. Caroline Brehman / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

Despite having fewer financial resources than larger American studios (“only” $3 million invested in the campaign, including $600, 000 in film release costs), Neon found ways to make the film stand out, multiplying communication efforts and media appearances by the director and actors, and even featuring the dog Messi, a true Hollywood darling.

After opening in three theaters in mid-October 2023, Anatomy of a Fall peaked at 583 theaters in the US in mid-November 2023, and has already grossed over $4.8 million at the US box office.

Now screened in over 75 territories, with nearly $32 million in worldwide receipts, the film continues its campaign in Asia, where the team is preparing to distribute it in China and Korea.

For Justine Triet, the post-Anatomy of A Fall period is already underway : the director has set up JT Films, her own production and distribution company, to co-produce her next films.

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