PARIS — Charles Gassot, producer of France’s Oscar-nominated “The Taste of Others,” is snubbing the Academy Awards in protest over the film’s poor U.S. distribution.
Agnes Jaoui’s directorial debut was released in the U.S. on Feb. 12 by Off Line on just eight screens. It has since shrunk to five.
While stressing the poor distribution “wasn’t Off Line’s fault,” a furious Gassot told Daily Variety on Thursday: “I thought an Oscar nomination meant something, but we have had to beg for screens. It is economic censorship. We have been mistreated, and so I’m not going to the Oscars.”
Gassot added that he had not even received official notification of the film’s nomination in the foreign-language race.
“The fact is the Oscars are for the Americans, and the rest of us don’t exist. America doesn’t give a damn about European cinema.”
On home soil, “The Taste of Others” has sold more than 4 million tickets and picked up four Cesars, French Oscar equivalents — including best film. The wryly humorous pic tells of an unlikely romance between an uncultured businessman and a serious theater actress who lives for her art.
One of France’s most successful filmmakers, Gassot also produced Patrice Chereau’s Golden Bear-winning “Intimacy” and has a string of hit movies under his belt, including Etienne Chatilliez’ “Life Is a Long Slow River” and “Happiness Is in the Field.”
TF1, France’s No. 1 private network, took a 49% stake in Gassot’s Telema production company last year and the outfit has a number of ambitious projects in the pipeline, including an English-language remake of “Martians Go Home,” for which Gassot is seeking a U.S. director.