George Clooney and Jean Dujardin brought a much-appreciated comedic diversion into the three-hour-plus César Awards ceremony this evening in Paris — even while delivering a sometimes serious message. Dujardin presented pal Clooney with an Honorary César at France’s equivalent of the Oscars, then helped “translate” his acceptance speech, injecting digs at U.S. President Donald Trump.
For example, Clooney said: “Over the course of my career, I’ve had the great fortune of working with some incredible filmmakers who have protected me and inspired me and taught me what an honor it is to work in film.” Dujardin’s translation was: “Donald Trump is a danger for the world, and I will do everything to oppose the fear and hate that has settled in.” (Check out the full video above and see below for more translation of Dujardin’s comments.)
Clooney was being honored by France’s Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma for his “dazzling talent as an actor, director, scriptwriter and producer — and above all, his artistic and spiritual generosity.” Tonight he had already made a splash on the red carpet, accompanied by his pregnant wife Amal, and once onstage in the Salle Pleyel, had the audience rolling — and rapt.
Dujardin selectively translated for Clooney throughout his acceptance, adding in his own notes such as when Clooney said he was honored to be there this evening with his friend whom he called “a great talent.” The Artist star threw in “and who is very handsome” to boot.
But politics was omnipresent.
Clooney: “We stand here today as the world is going through some pretty momentous changes, but not all for the best. As citizens in the world we’re going to have to work very very hard not to let hate win.”
Dujardin’s translation is the same, but adds, “and so that the 2024 Olympics are in Paris and not Los Angeles.”
Clooney: “Love trumps hate.”
Dujardin: “Trump loves hate.”
Clooney: “Courage loves fear.”
Dujardin: “Trump is afraid.”
Clooney: “Right always trumps wrong.”
Dujardin: “Trump is always wrong.”
The French actor also heavily paraphrased Clooney when he said, “It will be a bit difficult for the next four years, but I promise that things will change when Kanye West will be President.”
Dujardin then stopped translating as Clooney turned serious. The Good Night and Good Luck filmmaker pointed to a quote from that film’s subject when he said: “I was thinking about Edward R Murrow as we find ourselves nostalgic for when America was great and when the news wasn’t fake. Maybe his words some 60 years ago can help put things in perspective.
“We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must not walk in fear of one another. We must not be driven by fear into an age of unreason. If we dig deep in our history and remember that we are not descendants from fearful people, we proclaim ourselves indeed as we are the defenders of freedom wherever it continues to exist in the world. But we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.
“The actions of this president have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad and given considerable comfort to our enemies, and whose fault is that? Not really his. He didn’t create this situation of fear, he merely exploited it — and rather successfully.
“Cassius was right: The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars but in ourselves,” Clooney concluded.