Maren Ade’s acid comedy Toni Erdmann was, without doubt, one of the big favorites at the last Cannes Film Festival. For audiences and critics alike, the film was the real winner and it even set a record at the Screen Jury Grid. The Film Agency managed the film social media awareness campaign for The Match Factory and here’s what happened: we couldn’t believe it, but this project demonstrated that engagement is more important than awards:
First, we warmed things up by sharing backstage content and some key Kukeri red carpet videos. Then: WHAM! The film started getting its first reviews, which were all amazing.
The Internet was on fire with praise and the most flattering comments.
While not *officially* on the Cannes Jury, I’ve cast my vote for Ade’s Toni Erdmann and I’ve cast it HARD.
— Miranda July (@Miranda_July) May 20, 2016
I think there was never so much laughter, tears and applause at a competition film. #ToniErdmann is absolutely brilliant #Cannes2016
— Julia Pühringer (@JuliaPuehringer) May 13, 2016
Toni Erdmann (Ade) Was hoping this would be wonderful, but it exceeded expectations x1000. Simply, a great, great, great movie. #Cannes16
— David Jenkins (@daveyjenkins) May 13, 2016
TONI ERDMANN (Ade): Just everything: funny, touching, poignant. Impeccable narrative storytelling. The first masterpiece of #Cannes2016. [A]
— Jordan Cronk (@JordanCronk) May 13, 2016
Wow! This TONI ERDMANN gala screening was one of the most genuinely rapturous I’ve ever seen in 25 years of Cannes experience! #Cannes2016
— Cédric Succivalli (@OnTheCroisette) May 14, 2016
#Cannes2016: ‘Toni Erdmann’ sets Screen Jury Grid record https://t.co/io6RJemjwR pic.twitter.com/WxOvDpE8Fe
— Screen International (@Screendaily) May 15, 2016
The Morning of the Awards Ceremony
When the day came, and Maren Ade was absent from the Awards Ceremony, that had everyone talking, from the beginning of the red carpet. It wasn’t long before the Kukeri jokes started coming:
Very surprising news: Apparently firm Cannes favourite Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann” is leaving empty-handed tonight, a source told @AFP
— Fran Blandy (@franblandy) May 22, 2016
I’m not liking these rumors that TONI ERDMANN and ELLE were entirely shut out of #Cannes awards. Seriously, George Miller? #furyroadblock
— Aaron Hillis (@cobblehillis) May 22, 2016
At this stage, best hope is that Maren Ade is dressed as a potplant or something and materializes onstage for Palme suddenly, kukeri-style.
— Jessica Kiang (@jessicakiang) May 22, 2016
That’s it if #ToniErdmann wins no award I’m not watching another #georgeMiller film again
— Kaleem Aftab (@aftabamon) May 22, 2016
Re: rumoured shut out for Toni Erdmann. Let me say again: no comedy has won Palme in 25 years. #cannes2016
— Donald Clarke (@DonaldClarke63) May 22, 2016
The Moment of The Awards
Eagerness and expectation soon turned into disappointment and frustration, and audience comments just grew, and grew, and grew
So, Toni Erdmann registers the highest aggregate score *ever* on the @Screendaily grid, and wins not a single sausage. Mad #Cannes
— Jamie Graham (@jamie_graham9) May 22, 2016
That was the beauty and complexity of Toni Erdmann. A comedy that transcended language. The jury missed out on a great opportunity.
— Melissa Silverstein (@melsil) May 22, 2016
Can someone please explain how on earth @ToniErdmannFilm did not win the #PalmedOr at #Cannes2016 #ToniErdmann
— James Smith (@jsmithwriter) May 23, 2016
This is why I will never watch another #GeorgeMiller film again #Cannes2016 #ToniErdmann https://t.co/b3gyfqRXav
— Kaleem Aftab (@aftabamon) May 23, 2016
after the Awards
There’s no denying that people love to complain on the Internet (the film not getting any award became as much of a trending topic as Ken Loach and George Miller). At Cannes everyone was clearly very disappointed. Not even journalists could hide their disbelief during the press conference after the ceremony:
Someone is asking the Toni Erdmann Question. #Cannes2016
— Robbie Collin (@robbiereviews) May 22, 2016
Someone asks abt Toni Erdmann. Miller: “I can say that this Jury was incredibly rigorous & vigorous. Debated longer than most other juries.”
— Bilge Ebiri (@BilgeEbiri) May 22, 2016
Ah, the TONI ERDMANN question…
— FilmLand Empire (@FilmLandEmpire) May 22, 2016
Afterwards, with all the expectation generated, the incredible reviews, the amazing and enthusiastic comments, NOT winning a Palme d’Or (‘not a single sausage’, as someone said) was probably the best thing that could happen (in terms of social media, of course!). It brought the type of hilarious and extraordinary comments that might not have been provoked had the awards been kinder to the film.
Folks raving + tweeting about “Toni Erdmann” at #Cannes2016. But no jury love. Makes me want to see it even more. pic.twitter.com/EA1W3uZB8u
— Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) May 22, 2016
Forget the awards: 2016 will be remembered as the year Cannes gave us TONI ERDMANN @ManohlaDargis https://t.co/t7CFFpjHD3
— Deborah Cole (@doberah) May 23, 2016
It didn’t win an award, but critics agree #ToniErdmann was the best film of #Cannes2016 https://t.co/sWrb4H5bcR pic.twitter.com/ItLoGo5tvD
— IndieWire (@IndieWire) May 25, 2016
@ToniErdmannFilm You really deserve that Palm, you know. You are the moral winner in this Cannes. Be sure of it. 😉
— Gonzalo H. Espinosa (@GonGonHE) May 22, 2016
Everybody’s talking about Toni Erdmann … cannot wait to see!
— Soraya N. McDonald (@SorayaMcDonald) May 25, 2016
Don’t worry! At least the Kukeri enjoyed his vacation at #Cannes!! pic.twitter.com/ouGPyiiHrF
— Toni Erdmann (@ToniErdmannFilm) May 22, 2016
Countries like France are positioning the film as “our Golden Palm” claiming the audience’s actual price. The box-office results of the film have echoed the awareness that social media generated in the first place.
#ToniErdmann séduit très largement la presse, et vous ?
Actuellement en salles ! pic.twitter.com/1AnsdzPEDq
— Haut et Court (@hautetcourt) August 19, 2016
Since the film was purchased by Sony Classics International for the US, a powerful Oscar campaign is being crafted. Could we expect a revenge at the Oscars?
The foreign language Oscar race just got more interesting: Germany nominates Cannes hit “Toni Erdmann.” https://t.co/CJcG8X3FC5
— Kenneth Turan (@KennethTuran) August 25, 2016
As countries begin announcing Foreign Language Oscar picks, #ToniErdmann stands out https://t.co/XZI7LueCJ1 pic.twitter.com/bRw6t34wVp
— IndieWire (@IndieWire) August 28, 2016
All we know is that this film tackled several communities from the start: the defense of women’s directors, the defense of women’s rights as such, the drama lovers, the comedy lovers, the cinephiles, and above anything else, the people who just loved the film. Social media reflected that the film had conquered the audience instead of the jury and we do believe this will be much more valuable in the mid and long-terms.
Let’s work day and night from now to get #MarenAde a fuckin’ Oscar @TheMatchFactory @sonyclassics
— The Film Agency (@TheFilmAgency) May 22, 2016