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The superb ‘BPM – Beats Per Minute’ from France has been snubbed by Oscars in Foreign Film category

BPM (Beats Per Minute) will not be winning the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film – it will not be even be nominated.

The Academy today announced the shortlist of nine films that are still contention and BPM is not among them. I’m utterly shocked and deeply disappointed. I saw the film last month and staggered out of the theater feeling so deeply impacted. While watching I shed tears, at times I felt like I could not breath, and at one point near the end, I honestly thought I might faint.

This is a film I really want to be widely and being snubbed by the Academy limits its opportunities.

Set in the early 1990s, the film depicts a group of HIV/AIDS activists associated with the Paris chapter of ACT UP. These characters are literally fighting for their lives and you have a fly-on-the-wall vantage point of their epic meetings, their many demonstrations, and the relationship of one couple in particular.

BPM feels like a first-rate documentary and that authenticity is due to director Ron Campillo and co-screenwriter Philippe Mangeot drawing on their personal experiences with ACT UP in developing the story. The movie had its world premiere at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival where it won four awards, including the Grand Prix.

The large cast includes Nahuel Pérez Biscayart and Arnaud Valois as the main couple plus Adèle Haenel, Antoine Reinartz, Felix Maritaud, Médhi Touré, Aloïse Sauvage, Simon Bourgade and Catherine Vinatier. Saadia Ben Taieb absolutely broke my heart as the brave mother of a man dying of AIDS.

Because of the storytelling and wonderful acting, I seem to have felt even more visceral emotions during this film than I did during the superb documentaries How to Survive a Plague and We Were Here. One of the main characters in the film got infected the very first time he had sex. That could have been any of us. And it was many of us.

It breaks my heart to know the forces they were up against: in particular drug companies putting profit ahead of human lives – beautiful, young human lives.

Below is the trailer:



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One Remark

  1. It probably didn’t get nominated because the two leads are both openly gay. Okay, one is openly gay (Valois) and one is openly queer (Biscayart). Hollywood only likes gay themed movies if they give straight actors a chance to shine. Otherwise, gay themed movies with actual gay leads in them get ignored.

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