French gender equality and diversity group Le Collectif 50/50 has hit out at the lack of female representation at the upcoming César awards, France’s equivalent to the Oscars.
The protest comes after not a single woman made it into the Best Director category in nominations announced Wednesday. The awards ceremony is February 24 in Paris.
Just one feature by a female director — Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi’s controversy-hit Forever Young — was nominated for Best Film.
This outcome raised surprise in some quarters as there was a raft of strong features by female directors on release in France this year including Alice Winocour’s Paris Memories, Rebecca Zlotowski’s Other People’s Children, Léa Mysius’ The Five Devils and 2023 French Oscar submission Saint Omer by Alice Diop.
“Le Collectif 50/50 deplores the total absence of women in the Best Director category and their lack of representation in the Best Film category,” the body wrote in a statement released on Thursday evening.
“We would have dreamed of distinguishing ourselves from the Oscars, an institution which also shows an incomprehensible forgetfulness when it comes to the directors who marked the past year with their works,” the body added.
It was alluding to the similarly poor showing for women in the Oscar nominations on Tuesday, where again not a single woman made it into the Best Director category.
“The observation is hard: while the media and public space now allows feminist voices to express themselves, society is still stagnating!”
RELATED: Female Directors Shut Out Of This Year’s Oscar Nominations
Le Collectif 50/50 was created in 2018 in the wake of the #MeToo scandals and has been a driving force in fighting for more gender equality behind and in front of the camera in the French film industry and further afield. It instigated, for example, the film festival gender equality charter.
It currently has 1,078 male and female members from across the film industry.
The body was rocked by a sexual assault allegation within its ranks last year which led the entire board to resign.
It has recently renewed its management and mission with the appointment of new co-presidents, cinema consulant Séraphine Angoula, producer Clémentine Charlemaine and producer Margaux Lorier, who was recently at Sundance with World Cinema Dramatic Competition title Animalia.
The collective said the César development was “a step backwards” and a reminder of why it was set up in the first place.
“Le Collectif 50/50, alongside all the converging forces, must still pursue its missions in order to encourage more parity and diversity within the film and TV industry, recently.
The body noted that this year’s nominations were voted on by 4,705 members of the César Academy, 44% of whom identified as female.
The academy underwent a major reform in 2020 to ensure gender equality within its ranks after the body went into meltdown, with its entire board resigning, amid accusations of sexism and lack of transparency.
Under that operation, gender equal representation was introduced into all the different professional chapters within the organisation. The presidency is also now shared by a female and male, who are currently former Arte boss Veronique Cayla and hit director Eric Toledano.
Le Collectif 50/50 also signaled its concern over the lack of diversity in the films and talents nominated on Wednesday.
“We are concerned about the very low representation of the diversity and wealth of our current society in this same selection, and the lack of media commotion that this seems to cause,” it said.
“The Oscar Academy has been criticized for being too white. This year, too masculine. The 2023 Césars combine this double invisibilization.”
The body signed off its statement with two hashtags, #CesarSoMale and #CesarSoWhite, and pledged to continue its campaign to eradicate inequalities from the film industry.
Must Read Stories
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.