LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Austere Austrian drama “Amour” that tackles death and aging won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film on Sunday.
The French-language film became the second Austrian movie to capture the Academy Award. World War Two drama “The Counterfeiters” won the Oscar for top foreign film in 2007.
The honor caps a year-long run of awards for the film by Austrian director Michael Haneke, whose period drama “The White Ribbon” was up for the same Oscar in 2010.
Haneke gave credit for the honor to the film’s stars, veteran French actors Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva.
“Thank you ... to my main actors, Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant, because without them I (would not be standing) here,” the director said as he accepted the award.
“Amour” won the Palme d‘Or at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, the fest’s top prize, and Best Foreign Film at Hollywood’s Golden Globe Awards in January. It was also named Best Film by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics.
The unflinching take on devotion, old age and illness details the everyday struggles and indignities of elderly Parisian couple Anne and Georges as they confront Anne’s slide toward death.
Georges, played by Trintignant, cares for bed-ridden Anne, played by Riva, who has difficulty moving and speaking following a stroke.
Haneke, who is considered one of Europe’s top directors and a known master of the unhappy ending, has said “Amour” was inspired by caring for an aged aunt facing death.
“I wanted to make a film about how we deal with the suffering of the people that we love,” the 70-year-old director told Reuters ahead of the Oscars.
Critics have lauded the performances by Trintignant and Riva. Both in their 80s, the actors are best known as stars of the French cinema in the 1950s and 1960s.
Reporting by Eric Kelsey; Editing by Sandra Maler and Mary Milliken