Titane is one of the most decorated movies of the year. Director Julia Ducournau was awarded with the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The film also won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival. Despite not being released in theaters yet, it has also attracted plenty of controversy. Even the Wikipedia entry cannot go more than one sentence without mentioning one of the most shocking aspects of Titane.
Winning the Palme d’Or does not mean a film is guaranteed Oscar gold. As a matter of fact, only two films have completed the feat. It does not even automatically mean a nomination, though that has happened more often. As lauded and fantastic as Titane is, it would not be surprising if it was one of those movies that does not even get recognized. The Oscars are not known for honoring horror and genre films. While Ducournau’s movie touches on themes the Academy tends to love like the exploration of gender roles, it may be too out there for the stodgy old guard.
The film is a love story and a piece about people trying to find their way in the world. On paper, it is the kind of story people would decry as Oscar bait. Titane is also loud, obnoxious, and in your face. There is nudity, violence, loud music, and a confrontational attitude that the Oscars have traditionally shied away from. It can be seen as a story about Titans and our relationship with Gaea. For all the good it has done, it may be too dangerous for the Academy Awards.
It is frustrating, but not shocking. For decades people have wondered how the safe Forrest Gump could beat out the generational Pulp Fiction. Years before that, Star Wars was snubbed. Even in recent times, movies like Green Book have won over Black Panther and BlacKkKlansman. Given the choice between standard Oscar fare and a genre film, it is obvious what direction voters will go.
Titane is a body horror movie charged with sexual energy. The idea of it receiving any widespread acclaim at next year’s Academy Awards is almost laughable. While it is too early to say it is the Best Picture of the year, it is not hard to make a case why it should be in the running. It may receive some token nominations, but it is doubtful it will be a serious contender.
Titane comes to theaters October 1
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