'Amour' joins 13 others to have transitioned from the Croisette to Oscar's spotlight
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"Secrets & Lies" (Mike Leigh, 1996, United Kingdom)
Without playing by any of the Academy's rules, British social portraitist Mike Leigh has become something of an Oscar regular, with seven career nominations -- and it all started with this intimate, bittersweet comedy of manners, which benefited from a 'year of the indies' Oscar narrative to secure five nominations, including Best Picture. (It won nothing, as "The English Patient" reigned supreme on the night.) That success likely wouldn't have happened without a dream start at Cannes, where a jury headed by Francis Ford Coppola (proving the maxim that jury heads often favor the films least like the ones they make themselves) made a popular choice in handing it the Palme d'Or, as well as Best Actress for Brenda Blethyn's career-altering performance. Among the Competition films Leigh beat were "Breaking the Waves" and fellow future Best Picture nominee "Fargo" -- meaning Cannes announted for 60% of the Best Actress Oscar lineup that year.