'Amour' joins 13 others to have transitioned from the Croisette to Oscar's spotlight
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"The Mission" (Roland Joffé, 1986, United Kingdom)
Rarely has there been a less popular Palme d'Or winner than Joffe's exquisitely crafted but somewhat porridgey tale of a Jesuit missionary's South American odyssey -- though that's less to do with the film itself than the one it beat. "The Sacrifice," the final film from Russian master Andrei Tarkovsky -- who had recently been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer -- was widely seen as a shoo-in, and not just because of the overdue director's ill health. When Sydney Pollack's jury opted for the more middlebrow film, handing Tarkovsky the runner-up Grand Prix, critics were none too pleased, though "The Mission" went on to find a devoted audience of its own. Seven Oscar nominations followed, with a win for Chris Menges's cinematography -- though not, somewhat controversially, for Ennio Morricone's endlessly reappropriated score.