THE ARTIST Wins Big at Césars in Paris, Jean Dujardin Does Not

     February 24, 2012


Jean Dujardin must have been just as surprised as everyone else when he didn’t hear his name being called out as they announced the Best Actor award at tonight’s César ceremony in Paris. The Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma opted instead for Omar Sy, who stars in Untouchables, the biggest box-office smash of 2011 in France. A choice that many question.

“Jean Dujardin will win an Oscar for best actor but not a César. How embarrassing…” tweeted (in French) @Les_Cesar_fake, a sentiment that was shared by many others.

Shortly after winning Best Actor, Omar Sy’s Wikipedia page was updated and said that he had won the best actor award “even though he didn’t deserve it.” The comment was removed five minutes later… Another running joke is “Omar m’a tuer” (Omar killed me), in reference to the film of the same name. Maybe the Académie did not want to overcompensate Dujardin… or maybe this was their way of telling the Oscars, “We can do out own thing just to annoy you and everyone else.”

The Artist nevertheless won six of the ten awards it was nominated for, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress.  Hit the jump for a recap of the evening and a full list of winners.

Bérénice Bejo was brutally honest in her speech: “I love all the other nominated actresses, but I really wanted this award!” I bet Jean Dujardin did too.

les-cesar-awardPresented for the eighth time by Antoine de Caunes, the 37th annual ceremony of the Césars was uneventful, its writers visibly uninspired and a general sense of boredom permeated inside the Théâtre du Châtelet. De Caunes’ indifference was as palpable as the winners were predictable.

Pierre Schoeller’s L’Exercice de l’Etat won three of its 11 nominations and Maïwenn’s emotions were high as her Cannes Jury Prize winner Polisse took two awards. Sylvain Estibal’s excellent When Pigs Have Wings won Best First Feature Film and Joann Sfar’s Le Chat du rabbin was crowned Best Animated Movie. Spanish actress Carmen Maura, a favorite of Pedro Almodovar, was declared Best Supporting Actress for her role in Les Femmes du 6e étage and American set designer Laurence Bennett won for his work on The Artist.

While the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science didn’t consider Drive for an Oscar, the César Académie had nominated Nicolas Winding Refn’s picture for Best Foreign Film, alongside some “older” films like Black Swan and The King’s Speech. The trophy finally went to Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi’s award-winning A Separation, also nominated for an Oscar. His French distributor accepted the award on his behalf.

Antoine de Caunes, very vocal against piracy tonight, took a final dig before the In Memoriam segment:

“We lost a giant of cinema this year: Megaupload.”

Haha. The biggest tribute was for legendary French actress, Annie Girardot, who died almost a year ago.

The other homage of the evening was for Kate Winslet. The British actress was the recipient of this year’s honorary César, presented to her by Michel Gondry. The French filmmaker, who directed her in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, gave a rather unusual bilingual speech. “Ma chère Kate, Kitty, Kitty Cat, it’s never too late to win a César…” The French part of his speech recognized her as a talent, while the English part amply praised her cleavage and derrière! “Michel was my introduction to French cinema,” Winslet said afterwards. But she seemed even more proud to have worked with Roman Polanski (in Carnage) and wanted to remind everyone twice. “I’m going to say it again, I worked for Roman Polanski!” and ended her speech in the local tongue: “Merci de votre gentillesse et cette charmante soirée!” (Thank you for your kindness and this charming evening.)

cesars-carnage-kate-winsletYasmina Reza and Roman Polanski being absent, Winslet was once again invited to take the stage to accept the Best Adaptation award for Carnage. She was also a source of fascination. “Hi Kate,” said French actor and comedian Laurent Laffitte, before presenting the Best Foreign Film award. “You might have seen me in The Little Kleenex,” in reference to Guillaume Canet’s Les Petits Mouchoirs, in which he starred in 2010. And that was one of the funnier jokes of the evening…

And the winner is…

Best Picture

The Artist, directed by Michel Hazanavicius

Best Director

Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist

Best Foreign Film

A Separation, directed by Asghar Farhadi

Best Actress

Bérénice Bejo, The Artist

Best Actor

Omar Sy, Intouchables (Untouchables)

the-artist-movie-posterMost Hopeful Actress

A tie: Clotilde Hesme for Angèle et Tony and Naidra Ayadi for Polisse

Most Hopeful Actor

Grégory Gadebois, Angèle et Tony

Best Supporting Actress

Carmen Maura, Les Femmes du 6e étage

Best Supporting Actor

Michel Blanc, L’Exercice de l’Etat

Best Original Screenplay

L’Exercice de l’Etat, written and directed by Pierre Schoeller

Best Adaptation

Yasmina Reza and Roman Polanski, Carnage

Best Animated Movie

Joann Sfar and Antoine Delesvaux, Le Chat du rabbin

Best First Feature Film

Le Cochon de Gaza (When Pigs Have Wings) directed by Sylvain Estibal

Best Documentary

Tous au Larzac, directed by Christian Rouaud

Best Short Film

L’Accordeur, directed by Olivier Treiner

Best Original Soundtrack

Ludovic Bource, The Artist

Best Photography

Guillaume Schiffman, The Artist

Best Editing

Laure Gardette, Polisse

Best Sound

Jean-Pierre Laforce, Olivier Hespel and Julie Brenta, L’Exercice de l’Etat

Best Costume Design

Anaïs Romand, L’Apollonide – souvenirs de la maison close

Best Set Design

Laurence Bennett, The Artist


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