“Close, Belgium.” Actors Allison Williams and Riz Ahmed spoke redeeming words on Tuesday afternoon, at the announcement of the nominees for the Oscars that will be awarded on March 12. Lukas Dhont’s film then has a chance to win the statuette for ‘best international film’. In that category, Close competes against German film All Quiet on the Western Frontthe Argentine film Argentina, 1985, EO from Poland and Irish cinema The quiet girl.
“Today is an incredible day,” says the director. “For us, but also for the Belgian cinema that has come out with such diverse and beautiful work in the past year. At this very moment, the Sundance Festival is underway, with Belgian films being embraced again. In recent months I have felt how people abroad come to me and ask: what’s happening in Belgium? What’s in the water there? We are a country in which we challenge and embrace each other. We have different generations that are all doing amazing things with their own voice. Besides the fact that we are all proud of our work and the film, I am proud of what we are doing in our own country.”
The director also thanked his brother Michiel, who co-produced the film. “This is the first film we make together, but hopefully not the last. And hopefully not the last Oscar nomination. It’s someone I’ve been making movies with since we were eight or nine years old. I couldn’t have done this without his support, professionally and otherwise. So I’m happy to be able to do this with someone who’s been with me since the beginning.”
“This is the country’s eighth Oscar nomination. It goes without saying that I am incredibly grateful to everyone who has paved the way for us a little bit,” says Dhont. “And I will do everything I can to get as far as possible. I strongly believe in this movie. I hope you too and you can’t help it when I say I’m going to give everything for it (laughs). But I’m going to need you all. It will only succeed if we all believe in it equally, if we only look ahead. If we put all our energy towards Close send. I hope we can celebrate together soon.”
“The most beautiful film of the year”, our reviewer said Close by Lukas Dhont. The film is about two 13-year-old boys who have a close friendship, until it is suddenly no longer. In May 2022, Close had its world premiere at the Cannes Festival, where the film immediately won the Grand Prix du Jury.
Since then, Dhont’s second feature film has been doing very well internationally, with dozens of international festival selections and various film awards. In the US became Close including the Best International Film Award from the National Board of Review and two awards at the Chicago International Film Festival.
REVIEW. ‘Close’ by Lukas Dhont: This is the most beautiful film of the year *****
Producer: “Mister Jambon, dive into your greenhouse”
Producer Dirk Impens has met Close his third Oscar nomination, but he especially admires the passion of director Lukas Dhont. He said this when the news was announced at a press conference. “More than ever, this is Lukas’s Oscar nomination. I really want to emphasize that. Since the beginning, it has been Lukas’ film, his story, his incredible achievement in making the film what it has become,” Impens clarifies. “It is to Lukas his credit to say from Cannes that they should go for an Oscar. He meant it in a way that is quite exceptional. You just have to do it to go so hard eight months ago and keep believing.”
The producer believes in the power of the film, but campaigning is necessary. And that costs money. That is why Impens had an important call for Flemish Prime Minister Jan Jambon (N-VA), who is responsible for culture. “We must add, an appeal to the Flemish community: now is the time. Mr. Jambon, now is the time. Dive into your greenhouse, give us a check for 100,000 euros and we will put it to good use,” assures Impens. After which Lukas Dhont finely took over via Zoom: “Or a million!”
Dirk Impens previously received Oscar nominations with the films Daens by director Stijn Coninx and The Broken Circle Breakdown by director Felix Van Groeningen.
It is only the fifth time that a Flemish production has been nominated for the Oscars. Were earlier The Broken Circle Breakdown (2013), Beef’s head (2011), Everyone famous! (2000) and Daens (1992) nominated. It is already his third Oscar nomination for producer Dirk Impens.
In the other categories, especially many nominations are reserved for Everything everywhere all at once, The Fablemans, The Banshees of Inisherin and Elvis. View all nominees here.
Jambon: “Icing on the cake”
“After an exceptionally successful year for Flemish film, this is really the icing on the cake,” said Flemish Prime Minister and Minister of Culture Jan Jambon on Tuesday. “We are all rooting for it Close on March 12,” says Jambon.