"Amour" director's take on death could have a Hollywood ending

Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:11am EST
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By Eric Kelsey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Austrian director Michael Haneke will arrive at the Academy Awards ceremony with his stark drama "Amour" vying for a surprising five Oscars including Best Picture, despite its distinctly non-Hollywood ending.

The French-language film that tackles death and aging is up against Best Picture favorites "Lincoln" and "Argo" on February 24, as well as competing for Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Original Screenplay and Best Actress.

No foreign language film has won the top prize in the 85-year history of the Academy Awards.

But "Amour" and its journey to the Oscars could have a happy ending as it is pegged as favorite for Best Foreign Language Picture, an award for which Haneke's "The White Ribbon" was nominated in 2010.

"Amour" is Austria's official entry for Best Foreign Language Film.

Haneke, 70, who is one of Europe's top directors and a master of the unhappy ending, admits "Amour" is not easy viewing, focusing on the physical and psychological suffering at the end of life.

The film details the everyday struggles and indignities of elderly Parisian couple Anne and Georges as they confront Anne's slide toward death.

"It's no walk in the park, but it's difficult and serious, and that makes it contemplative," Haneke told Reuters by phone from Madrid, where he is directing the Mozart opera "Cosi Fan Tutte."   Continued...

Actors Isabelle Huppert (L) and Jean-Louis Trintignant are shown in a scene from the Austrian film "Amour" in this publicity photo released to Reuters January 10, 2013. The film has been nominated for best foreign language film, as well as best picture for the 85th Academy Awards Thursday. The Oscars will be presented in Hollywood, California February 24, 2013. REUTERS/Darius Khondji/ Films du Losange/Sony Pictures Classics/Handout