Justine Triet Says Directing Snubs for Women Are ‘Crazy’

Eight months after scoring the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Justine Triet is now an Oscar nominee. Her French courtroom mystery “Anatomy of a Fall” landed in five hot categories on Tuesday, including Best Picture, Best Director for Triet, Best Actress for Sandra Hüller, Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing.

The news was greeted with joy and elation by Triet and her team, who watched the Oscar nominations live on television in Paris.

“We were so, so stressed before the announcement,” she told TheWrap. “And then when we saw the nomination for the script, we were so happy, but then it kept continuing with the other nominations in other categories. I was crying.” 

The film, released by distributor Neon, has earned $4 million in North America since opening in October, but that number is destined to climb, especially in the wake of these nominations.

TheWrap caught up with Triet shortly after the announcement on Tuesday, as the filmmaker was still buzzing with excitement and gathering her thoughts about the incredible news. (Translator Assia Turquier-Zauberman assisted during the interview.)

You’re in Paris now. What has the reaction been like there?
In France it’s totally crazy. The French people are very high right now. Not high like on drugs [laughs], but high in their mood. We were so lucky. I mean, we don’t represent France [in the Best International Film category] but we’ve had a lot of audiences who have enjoyed the movie in France. A lot of people were so happy for us. 

And ultimately, the film that France submitted, Tran Ahn Hung’s “The Taste of Things,” did not get nominated for Best International Film.
Yes, I know, but this is not a sport. I don’t think this is about one movie being better than another movie. No. Of course, it’s not good news [for France], but we’ve gotten past this question, because we are nominated in a lot of categories. 

How did it feel when you saw that Sandra Hüller was nominated for Best Actress?
Oh, my. I was so happy. Sandra is so linked to this movie, unlike anyone ever has been for one of my films. She was in my mind before we even started writing it. So of course she’s totally merged into the whole creative process. She deserves it.

There are three movies directed by women nominated for Best Picture: “Anatomy of a Fall,” “Barbie,” “Past Lives.” That’s a record. 
It means a lot for me. And for women. It’s a little victory, in a way. I think we’re in the beginning of a huge revolution for women. I’m 45 years old, I’m not 20, so I’ve seen a different world before now. A lot of things are changing, and I can’t wait to observe the young generation of women because I think they will lead a different life. And hopefully it will be a different world. 

But in the Best Director category, your fellow nominees are all men.
Yeah, I know, this is completely crazy.

In 96 years, you are the eighth.
What?! Wow. This is crazy. Somebody else told me that it’s very rare for women. I didn’t know this. I’m trying to enjoy every minute of this and it really means a lot, but that’s crazy. I am a huge fan of Greta Gerwig, a huge fan for what she’s doing as a director and as an actress. And I was very impressed by Celine Song [the director of “Past Lives”]. I’m very proud to be with this gang in that [Best Picture] category.

But that said, your other nominees include Martin Scorsese and —
Yeah! It’s not just anyone on this list. It’s Martin Scorsese. I’m a huge fan of Martin Scorsese, of course. I’m a big fan of Yorgos Lanthimos and I love “Poor Things.” And Christopher Nolan, of course. And Jonathan Glazer. It’s a fairy tale to be nominated with these genius directors. 

How does it feel to share the screenplay nomination with your partner in life, Arthur Harari?
In a way, it’s very beautiful to be nominated together. And wonderful to be able to share it with somebody so close to me. This movie was written by two directors. Arthur is not a screenwriter as much as a director. And so when you’re in the writing process with another director, you are not speaking just about the dialogue or the story, but imagining a whole world. And so it is a marriage of two different styles and two different brains. And sometimes we didn’t agree on a lot of things. But that was okay. The pandemic time was an interesting time to write this, because we were stuck and forced, in a way, to finish the script together.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Sandra Huller in Anatomy of a Fall

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