UPDATED, writethru: Ladj Ly’s Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize laureate Les Misérables was the big winner at Friday night’s 45th annual César Awards, France’s equivalent to the Oscars, including taking the top honor of Best Film. The night unfolded, however, under tumultuous conditions owing to controversy surrounding Roman Polanski, whose An Officer and a Spy was the leading nominee going in with 12 mentions.
The filmmaker was not in attendance, but his film won three prizes including Best Director — an occurrence that caused walkouts from the Salle Pleyel, which earlier in the evening had been the site of protests by feminist organizations.
Scroll down for full list of César winners.
Polanski on Thursday said he would not attend the local industry’s biggest night. “Activists are threatening me with a public lynching. Some have called for demonstrations, others are planning to make it a platform,” he said. “This promises to look more like a symposium than a celebration of cinema designed to reward its greatest talents,” the Oscar winner told AFP.
Earlier today, Officer and a Spy producer Alain Goldman told AFP he and the film’s team had decided not to attend amid “an escalation of inappropriate and violent language and behavior.” Star Jean Dujardin on Instagram posted a photo from the film (whose French title is J’Accuse, a term adopted by protesters against Polanski) and wrote, “I’d just like to remind that J’Accuse is the title of a very famous article by Emile Zola, I hope that doesn’t bother anyone? Have a good night!”
The Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma is itself in upheaval with the board of its management, the Association for the Promotion of Cinema, having recently announced its intention to resign en masse. That follows upset within the voting membership which has complained of an “elitist and closed” system in which they have “no voice.” A revamp of the Académie is due to begin soon with Amour producer Margaret Menegoz recently named its interim president.
The rest of the evenings nominees included such titles as Ly’s Oscar-nominated Les Misérables, Nicolas Bedos’ La Belle Epoque and Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire. The latter included a Best Actress mention for Adèle Haenel, who has made headlines for accusing French director Christophe Ruggia of sexually harassing her from the age of 12, and has been outspoken with regard to the nominations for Polanski.
Here is tonight’s full list of winners:
Les Misérables, dir: Ladj Ly
Roman Polanski – An Officer And A Spy
Anais Demoustier – Alice Et Le Maire
Roschdy Zem – Roubaix, Une Lumière
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Swann Arlaud – Grace A Dieu
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Fanny Ardant – La Belle Epoque
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Dan Levy – I Lost My Body
BEST FOREIGN FILM
Parasite, dir: Bong Joon Ho
Claire Mathon – Portrait De La Jeune Fille En Feu
Flora Volpelière – Les Misérables
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Nicolas Bedos – La Belle Epoque
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Roman Polanski, Robert Harris – An Officer And A Spy
Nicolas Cantin, Thomas Desjonquières, Raphael Moutarde, Olivier Goinard, Randy Thom – Le Chant De Loup
Les Misérables, dir: Ladj Ly
BEST SHORT FILM
Pile Poil, dir: Lauriane Escaffre, Yvonnick Muller
M, dir: Yolande Zauberman
BEST FIRST FILM
Papicha, dir: Mounia Meddour
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
I Lost My Body, dir: Jérémy Clapin
BEST ANIMATED SHORT
La Nuit Des Sacs Plastiques, dir: Gabriel Harel
BEST FEMALE NEWCOMER
Lyna Khoudri – Papicha
Pascaline Chavanne – An Officer And A Spy
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Stéphane Rozenbaum – La Belle Epoque
BEST MALE NEWCOMER
Alexis Manenti – Les Misérables